… was to create happy alums? The University of the Customer showed up in a recent post in the Chronicle of Higher Education. (I made a related attempt a few months ago.) Bill Sams proposed the following mission for his mythical university of the future:
Our goal is to optimize the personal capabilities of our customers on a lifelong basis and to match those capabilities with the needs of business and society in a mutually profitable relationship.
Having been in several presidential searches in recent years I continue to be intrigued by the uniform unhappiness of alums. I posed the question above to one roomful of trustees and got some quizzical looks. But if we are concerned with external results, and if the meaningful Outside is our operating environment, then why not explore the implications of this goal?
What makes a happy alum? …An education that works, a network for a lifetime, appropriate and profitable employment, a long-term relationship with the place where it all started, and perhaps a vehicle or means to contribute back. So what if the University started here with an effort to include this as part of its business and worked backward to put all the pieces in place to make this happen? Would this not be a useful direction for senior leaders to aim toward, plan and execute? The results are easily measurable and such a purpose-driven approach should please most stakeholders and constituencies.
With MBAs especially, the value of the degree seems essential. If the reputation of the awarded degree is slipping, so is the graduate’s livelihood. How many deans and program directors, (much less presidents), pour resources into all the steps that lead to a cadre of happy MBA alums?
What would a University/School/Program look like that targeted this mO?