(1)Apply the concepts and techniques learned this week to develop value curves for Widener’s SBA and for each of its competitors.This value curve was developed based on information provided for each university by US News & World Report (2017) rankings. The value curve shows five of the value dimensions which universities use to compete with each other: price (for tuition, fees, and room and board), acceptance rates, four-year graduation rates, student satisfaction as measured by average freshman retention rate, and overall ranking by US News.
I analyzed six value innovation approaches to identify new market spaces and opportunities that could provide greater or unique value to customers. The first value curve dimension I considered was substitutes. Possible substitutes for a degree from Widener’s School of Business Administration (SBA) could be certificate programs that require less time for completion than a four-year program and offer work experience and college credit. My analysis looked at why and how customers choose between substitutes. Customers make choices between these substitutes based on factors like cost, availability, and convenience.
Another value curve dimension is strategic grouping between business schools that use similar strategies. Customers trade up or down between groups based on factors like availability of financial aid, which lowers the cost of schooling, and entry requirements. Customers also consider academic workload, academic facilities, teaching quality, career prospects after graduation, social facilities, and atmosphere.
I also analyzed the value curve dimension for those who influence the buying decision so I could understand their different conceptions of value. Students may have different priorities from parents. Students with jobs may also have different priorities from employers if employers are reimbursing employees for tuition.
Another value curve dimension was complementary offerings. This dimension includes what happens before, during, and after the education process. Complementary products could include internships, computers, and textbooks.
I also looked at the value curve dimension of emotional or functional orientation. A sense of community that comes with being involved in sororities, fraternities, alumni groups, and sports programs adds emotional appeal to a functional product such as business school education. Community involvement and service programs also add an emotional dimension.
The final value curve dimension I looked at was time. A significant and irreversible trend that changes value for customers includes distance learning. Many students find that the convenience of taking classes online outweighs almost every other factor except maybe cost.
(2)Apply the six value innovation approaches learned this week to identify new market spaces and value-adding opportunities that Widener’s SBA could pursue. Based on the results of this exercise, what additional dimensions would you add to Widener’s value curve that you developed in Question #1?
Based on the six value innovation approaches, I identified new market spaces that will allow Widener to create a superior value curve. For substitutes, Widener can offer a number of certificate programs. These programs can create new features by letting students show competence in a particular specialty in less time than the traditional four-year degree requires for a given major. The additional value of this feature comes from requiring less of a time commitment for students. This feature also lets someone who already has a career, or someone who has not decided on a career, expand into different areas, giving them more flexibility in their careers.
For strategic groups, Widener can enter a new market space that lets people trade up to different groups. Widener could expand its financial aid programs which would allow more students to afford higher education. Widener could also modify its entry requirements to allow more students access to postsecondary education.
For buyer groups, Widener could enter new market spaces by developing classes or programs for specific employers. Widener could partner with companies to offer classes for on-the-job training, webinars, refresher classes, or on specific topics. These classes could use technology to facilitate their delivery. This value innovation would occur along the delivery platform.
A new value dimension for complementary offerings could consist of value-adding services such as free tutoring and job placement services. Both of these services reduce risk for students. The services would make them more comfortable with having to invest large amounts of money in getting a college degree.
To add emotional appeal to a functional education product, Widener can have a program of community service that includes both local and remote campuses. With this feature, even distance learners can feel connected to Widener, to each other, and to their local communities. Widener could also sponsor contests for students offering suggestions on how the school can do a better job of meeting their needs.
As for trends on which Widener can capitalize, the school can offer distance learning on an international basis. The school can make classes available as massive open online courses (MOOCs) by using apps making it easier to communicate with other students in different time zones and different languages. Widener could customize this functionality according to major or by interest groups that students create. Widener could also find social media apps to give students access to facilities nationally and internationally. An app such as Google Maps could let students tour distant cities with their classmates. All these new offerings could help Widener capitalize on the growing trend toward globalization.
These value innovations will work with the six dimensions of value innovation techniques. They will create new market spaces. They will also move Widener’s value curve so as to create a new value curve and eliminate the need to compete head-to-head by appealing to and creating value for new customers.
- US News & World Report. (2017). Best colleges. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges