May 28, 2013

Summer Time

Where did my summer of yesteryear go?  When I first began working in private education industry 25 years ago, summer signaled a time of analysis, reflection, and planning retreats.  Sure, there was some operational work to be done – clean up from the year, data management, and tying up loose ends.  But, by the time mid-June hit and until about mid-August, summer was full of more strategic and, dare I say, generative thinking.  It was in the middle of analysis and planning that great, new ideas were birthed and considered, and less effective programs were put on the chopping block.  Perhaps that was the day when the education cycle was roughly nine to ten months long and the summer was truly a change of pace.

Fast forward to today.  Something seemed to change about ten years ago in the summertime routine.  It seems that we have moved far way from the days of old, where analysis and planning was the summer.  Summer on most campuses means a simply a change of season, but not a change of work plans.  There appears is more operational activity occurring in the summer, from longer academic programs, more robust summer offerings, latent entering new student classes, and a full slate of registration and orientation programs for students and their parents.  The challenge is, though, the real strategic thinking that used to occur in the summer still needs to be accomplished.  It is critical to pause to analyze, reflect, and plan.

Private education is going through the same change of course in the area of research and planning that the corporate world did 15 to 20 years ago.  We have gravitated to a 12 month, more efficient model of operating where real-time, on-the-go analysis and planning have rapidly become both the need and the norm.  And, if this is so, that places a premium on the effective use of marketing research and data management.

How is your school or college handling the important need for analysis and planning?  How do you go about getting this important work done?  Drop a comment below or on one of our social media feeds.  We would love to know and others would really benefit from hearing.

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