Falcon from jefferypine
“Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself.” — Oscar de la Renta
H.R.H XX is an enlightened and well educated man. Since coming to the Royal throne he has taken great strides to advance his Nation and its people, especially in terms of educational opportunities.
He has literally spared no expense from his Nation’s oil wealth to invest in the best consultants that money could buy to help him build world class universities for his people.
H.R.H wanted the institutions to be regional flagships to show the progress of his Nation and to guarantee the future intellectual independence of his people.
Noble goals for advancement. We applaud them.
Consultants from leading educational consulting firms and the best Universities in the West came, listened to the vision for advancement proposed by the wise and enlightened leader. They wrote reports in which they promised H.R.H he would have institutions that would be among the best in the World, if he followed their advice, and paid their invoices.
They advised H.R.H to build enormous state of the art campuses and buildings.
They were amazing facilities and buildings. The designers were all selected by the consultants and everyone was paid well by H.R.H. The end result was something that would exceed anything in the Western Universities who were advising H.R.H.
The consultants advised H.R.H. to hire the best academics that money could buy.
They were the most expensive academics and administrators on earth using the most modern facilities that money could buy.
The new University started and was filled with the cream of the Nation’s youth.
Five years later imagine the disappointment of H.R.H when these institutions failed to become recognized internationally for academic excellence. H.R.H even became aware that leading Universities (and many of his consultants) laughed about what he had tried to achieve.
H.R.H called back the consultants and they made excuses saying the local students and local staff were the problem. The new solution proposed by the consultants was to repeat the entire exercise with new campuses and even more expensive expatriate staff.
Other consultants said the problem was the lack of X (where x was some technology or software being marketed by the consultant).
H.R.H is a patient and enlightened man, he tried again.
Again after enormous expense and another 5 years he was faced with lots of new universities that were still not internationally recognized for excellence but had cost his nation millions of oil dollars.
In desperation H.R.H contacted what he believed was the best University in the world.
Yes they said they could help by running one of their degrees in his country or setting up a distance campus.. But it would cost a small fortune.
H.R.H was now risking a loss of face with his own people, who looked to him as their guiding light towards advancement. H.R.H agreed.
The University of X set up a branch campus or offered one of their high demand degrees (this case study could work with either option). It made the University of X money. The very best professors flew over for a few hours and flew back home again. Some of the local students even managed to talk to these jet lagged professors before they flew back home. But most of the time the jet lagged professors spent their time in their expensive hotel resort.
The local students who graduated from the branch campus in the desert kingdom felt they had been cheated of studying at the main institution. The professors at the branch campus felt like second class professors and longed only to get to the main campus.
In short, no one was happy. Not even the finance department at University X as they objected to every cent spent by the branch campus.
And as for our H.R.H. the branch campus did nothing to enhance the educational reputation of the desert kingdom and H.R.H. was left paying for what was in effect a profit making franchise for a foreign university.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Analysis of the Case Study.
What went wrong?
It would be easy to blame the consultants.
But in truth consultants advise about what they know. And educational consultants know about their own National methods. By definition, no one knows what they do not know.
So if you ask for advice about how to set up a higher education institution or system the consultant will think about the higher education system they come from.
It is natural.
Ask any of the World’s top 10 ranked universities to help you advance and they will try and make you look and behave like them.
It is natural.
The sad truth is that institutions become great because of where they are, who attends them and the conditions and history that surrounds them. You can think of these forces like the geological pressures that make diamonds.
You cannot become Harvard, or MIT by copying them. No matter how much money you spend.
What is ironic about this case study is that almost every part of the old traditional aspects of the iconic western university is a copy of the original Arab universities. The concept of a Chair of learning (professors), the scholar’s academic gown, the scholar’s cap, and even the campus are all copies from the original Arabic seats of learning. Where, centuries before Oxford or the Sourbonne were established, the classic works of the ancient world were taught and discussed. The truth is that while the western world was stumbling in the Dark Ages these Arabic institutions held the seeds that would become the Renaissance.
Back to our case study: Why spend millions trying to copy Western Universities when the truth is you already have the oldest institutions in the world? Investing in renovating and invigorating the classic assets you already have is surely a path to greatness?
Style is who you are not who you copy.
A simple question: Where should be the best place to study the Arabic languages and culture? Harvard? Oxford?
Why invest in your weaknesses when you can invest in your strengths and become a Lion?
Good consultants share what they know so you can follow (copy) the success of others.
Great consultants help you recognize and empower the greatness within yourself so you move from the ordinary to extraordinary.