The global education opportunity

19 November 2019

Shaped by innovation and unprecedented global demand, education and related services is a rapidly transforming industry

CEOs and other senior executives from across the industry, along with Macquarie Capital's industry-leading Services team, convened recently at the Octavian Macquarie Education Forum at Sotheby's in New York to discuss industry and broader global topics with thought leaders from politics, education, the arts and commerce in attendance.

The promise of education technology

“EdTech could fundamentally alter societies at speeds that few have witnessed in human history,” Sam Shah, who heads Macquarie Capital's Services team globally, said to kick off the forum. That promise of EdTech has provided educators the opportunity to reshape the learning paradigm into one that is virtually and economically accessible worldwide, ultimately delivering better outcomes for those supplying and receiving the learning.

“In a digitally connected world, access to education will grow exponentially, driving massive societal benefits.”

Michael Silverton, Global Co-Head, Macquarie Capital

“Emerging technologies like AI and advancements in online learning are empowering students and educators, enabling new levels of opportunity and flexibility,” says Michael Silverton, Global Co-Head of Macquarie Capital. “The dual economic and societal benefits generated by investment in education, along with its growth potential are key reasons why Macquarie Capital has made it a core focus,” adds Silverton. “We connect our expertise with the needs of our education clients to help them reach their strategic goals.”

Supporting that view is a recent global Pearson survey, which found that people are increasingly tapping into technology to reach their education objectives. From pursuing online degrees, to accessing artificial intelligence and the growing use of smart/mobile devices, people are expected to rely more on technology to improve their education experience over the next 10 years.

Beyond the growth of technology, the education industry itself operates within promising conditions. Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also attended the forum to deliver a keynote on what the political and economic rise of China means for the global order and its knock-on effects in specific sectors and verticals. Rudd offered a candid assessment of the global political and economic uncertainties between the US and China, adding that industries with rising domestic demand and where foreign providers have a strong reputation, such as education, should be better positioned for foreign participants.

Bringing schools to students

Representatives from two leading private US universities spoke at the Education Forum about how they have adopted new and creative approaches to expand their global footprint. Traditionally, success in education has focused on bringing students to a school. However, Raghu Velamati, a Senior Managing Director in Macquarie Capital's Services team, points out that the trend has been reversed and “now we are bringing schools to students.”

New York University and Yale University have taken their own approaches to the “school to student” concept, with both forging international partnerships far from their home campuses. For NYU President Emeritus John Sexton, that meant building comprehensive, degree-granting liberal arts campuses in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi and a network of other “study away” sites across six continents. According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), NYU sent more students to study abroad than any other US college or university. In November 2014, the IIE reported that NYU, for the first time, hosted more international students than any other US university.

Yale took a different approach, forming a partnership with the National University of Singapore (NUS) to create Yale-NUS, a residential college located in Singapore. Explaining Yale's interest in building a partnership outside of the US, Pericles Lewis, Vice President and Provost for Global Strategy at Yale University said, “There is a huge world out there that we can't necessarily bring to New Haven.”

For educators with growth ambitions, there is no single standard model that offers the greatest potential. NYU's Sexton encouraged attendees to think beyond traditional models, noting that education “is a symphony orchestra, it really is a big mistake to think of any one model as the model of the future.”

About the Macquarie Octavian Education Forum

The forum was a collaboration between the publishers of the quarterly Octavian Report and Macquarie Capital. The education forum was the first of two days of programming, with the second day featuring a broader focus on geopolitical and societal issues, as well as the arts. Macquarie Capital sponsored the event with the belief that a vibrant exchange of diverse ideas will further challenge and inspire its clients to greater prosperity and growth. Other featured speakers throughout the day included Dambisa Moyo, a global economist and author who analyzes the macroeconomy and international affairs; Irshad Manji, an author and professor whose book “Don't Label Me,” takes universities to task for fostering environments hostile to open and free speech on campuses; and former Pixar Chief Financial Officer, Lawrence Levy.