26th Annual Colleagues in Jesuit Business Education Meeting

Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Francisco J. Valle, Ph.D., Anatoly Zhuplev, Ph.D., José J. Rincón, M.B.A., M.L.S., Max Plithides, Ph.D. Candidate

Building on Success - The need to change the strategic direction of Jesuit Business Schools to increase their school rankings and student enrollment

Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States are facing the challenge of increasing their national and/or regional rankings as well as their student enrollment. In order to achieve these goals, we propose a shift in the current strategic cost-reduction practices that are consistently applied due to budget reductions and lower student enrollments at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. We also believe that the recent focus by Jesuit colleges and universities on creating new degrees particularly in the areas of business analytics and not-PhD doctorate programs will not yield the required increase in student enrollment to produce a significant impact in the challenges they are facing. Securing high rankings by major agencies are crucial for Jesuit colleges and universities as prospective students, their counselors, and their families seek out highly ranked, recognized, and regarded universities to attend. Therefore, it is necessary to identify how Jesuit universities in this country can increase their rankings and brand recognitions to become more attractive. In this study, we present the results from applying the appropriate statistical techniques to data for 27 Jesuit colleges or universities in the United States, including university rankings and information from the Digest of Education Statistics and the authors’ own calculations. Although this study was limited by a relatively small sample size at the national or regional levels, we applied appropriate techniques to address this issue. We share the insights gained from the results of the observable relations, associations, and correlations of the variables in this study, including the factors associated with the rankings of Jesuit colleges and universities. We propose a new strategic direction for enhancing their success rate. Furthermore, we share thought-provoking insights gained from the analysis, and explain that Jesuit colleges and universities must understand the need to change their most commonly used cost-reduction practices if they want to improve their current level of success with prospective students. Bottom line, we conclude from our study that administrators of Jesuit colleges and universities are currently facing an unsustainable economic model that prioritizes finances over the quality of education. Our analysis indicates that administrators must change the current strategic cost-reduction practices they have been applying to address an economic environment where significant reductions in the number of students attending Jesuit colleges and universities and budget cuts are the norm. Instead, we can say that the associations of the variables studied indicate that administrators must promote a research-focused culture within their institutions to increase their prestige and brand recognition and must increase the quality of education offered by hiring more full-time faculty. Administrators would benefit by paying attention to the following advice by Peter Drucker: • People in any organization are always attached to the obsolete - the things that should have worked but did not, the things that once were productive and no longer are. • The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself. • The bеѕt wау tо predict уоur future іѕ tо create it.