It has been nearly 3 years since Dr. Senthil Nathan and I met at Tim Horton’s at the Al Wahda Mall in Abu Dhabi to have a coffee and to catch up and discuss our future plans. Senthil after nearly 25 years was considering leaving Higher Colleges of Technology where he served as Deputy Vice Chancellor. I had just notified The UAE Advanced National Research & Education Network managed by Khalifa University I was not renewing my contract when it expired in October 2014. We both knew it was time to do something new. We had told many of our friends and colleagues we wanted to do something that would use all the skills and knowledge gained over the decades and in particular our work in education in the UAE.
After three hours of coffees, and more than a few doughnuts, we agreed a niche higher education consulting company for the GCC & MENA regions could be successful and would be welcomed. During the following months we refined the idea, made our plans and in October 2014, formally established Edu Alliance at Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.
We have been gratified with the response to the company. Organizations such as Emirates College of Technology, Abu Dhabi University, Rabdan Academy, the University of Wollongong in Dubai, Murdoch University, KPMG, Dubai Investments, and two US universities engaged us over the past 2 years for a variety of projects including:
- Program evaluation
- Business intelligence
- Strategic planning and training
- Management audit
- Executive search
- Strategic Partnerships
It has been interesting and challenging work and in a number of cases we were brought back to assist on additional projects. We are excited about 2017 and expect the company will continue to see new clients and projects from the region.
With our initial success we believe its time for Edu Alliance to take its next step. Beginning in January 2017 Edu Alliance will establish a North American office located in Bloomington, Indiana, near Indiana University. We believe there is a growing need to provide consulting services to assist North American higher education institutions in developing an effective international strategy in these changing times. The US currently has 1 million international students enrolled in colleges and universities, but with the changing times we have been told by a number of highly placed sources, GCC-MENA governments, scholarship funders, parents, and students are seriously reevaluating their options. We believe a decline will begin this fall and speed up in 2018. The decline will come from a variety of regions including the GCC, MENA, and India.
A number of factors are coming into play, and if colleges and universities (big and small) do not adjust their strategy in the upcoming 12-18 months they could lose international students and possibly the ability to partner in emerging markets.
We believe Edu Alliance with its experience can assist colleges and universities in this critical area. Besides assisting in the development effective international strategy, our US office will introduce new services focusing on medium and small colleges and universities. We are assembling a team of experienced higher education senior professionals who have direct experience in university management. They will be added to our current Board of Advisors who has been a part of Edu Alliance since we formed the company. We are in advanced discussions with a number of talented experienced individuals who have the following backgrounds:
- A former President of three US universities,
- A former university and national non-profit Board member with expertise in governance,
- A recently retired university Vice President development officer with planning and operational knowledge,
- A experienced university consultant in the field of Accreditation & Institutional Effectiveness,
- A former Dean and Provost who specializes in university and non-profit leadership training,
- A Learning Design and Technology Specialist who has experience in the US and international higher education and K-12 community.
We have developed over the past two years an exceptional network in the UAE, GCC and MENA and look forward to continuing our work in the region through the leadership of my partner, Dr. Senthil Nathan as the MENA Managing Director. I will serve as the North America Managing Director and with our team of experienced educators look forward to providing quality-consulting support for the US colleges and universities.
I will be coming to the United States in early January to set up the US office and meet with colleges and universities leadership. From January – March 2017 I will be in the Southeast United States and by late March back in the Midwest. I will be contacting a number of university colleagues I have met in person and virtually over the years to arrange a visit and introduce our firm. I look forward to you extending an invitation to visit your campus.
I have identified some quality people to be a part of our consulting team but I am still looking for additional experts who could serve in a US consulting role. If you are interested email me at email@example.com. I will get back with you to discuss acting as a consultant further.
Also, if your higher education institution in the GCC-MENA region would like to know more how Edu-Alliance could assist you please contact my partner Dr. Senthil Nathan firstname.lastname@example.org
We will continue to keep you up to date as plans progress. On behalf of Edu Alliance in the UAE and soon the US thank you for your interest and support.