• Russell Cooke

Why International Schools need business consultants

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

I thought it would be appropriate to launch the Sage Consultancy website with an article championing just why international schools should hire business consultants. Notwithstanding the current economic environment, which has independent schools worried about enrolment, revisiting their budgets and little headspace for strategic thinking, there are plenty of reasons to engage a consultant to improve your school. Without mapping one-to-one our experienced team and our service offering to your school specific needs, I would suggest the motivation to engage a consultant can be summarized as follows:

Schools need a second opinion

When a school is dealing with an issue they turn to consultants for their opinions, schools often need this, especially when making tough decisions in complicated situations. Often times, schools have a perspective on how to solve the problem they are facing but want to make sure that what they’re thinking is correct (or that they aren’t so close to the challenge that they’re missing the obvious answer). So, they turn to consultants to come in and provide their opinion. This is however not just any opinion, as experienced consultants work with many different schools and may have worked through this problem in the past

somewhere else, they can really provide a perspective based on what they’ve seen work (or not) before. Given this experience, they can often bring new and innovative ideas or possible challenges to the table that schools probably would not have been able to see on their own.

Schools Need Extra Resources

Sometimes the problems schools need solving are important, but they do not necessarily have the manpower to focus on them. Schools still must focus on their day-to-day operations, after all, and new projects typically require reprioritizing employees’ core job responsibilities. However, hiring new employees to fill these gaps does not always make sense either, seeing as many of these projects are one-offs. Whether it’s a documentation project lasting three months or a review of the facilities and maintenance department that requires a few weeks work, schools might struggle to get the teams in place to do this critical work. In instances like this, consultants basically serve as temporary, highly skilled employees. Building up a long-term relationship with a school experienced consultancy also means that they understand and act as a real partner to the school.

Schools need Specialized Skills

Another, and perhaps the most common, reason that schools hire consultants is to gain access to a specialized skill set that might not exist in house. By engaging a consulting firm, you get access to a group of professionals that has skills ranging from process design to finance organization structures. These highly specialized people would not only be expensive to hire for, but the school might not have enough work to keep said employees busy year-round. With a consultant schools can bring in that skill set on demand when they need it.

Schools need a Buffer

Sometimes, when schools are working on a challenging problem or a controversial project, it can be hard for them to make decisions or take the necessary actions without getting wrapped up in emotions or politics. So, they bring in consultants to provide an unbiased eye and do some of the unpopular work for them. Schools might engage consultants for restructurings or controversial projects so that they can ensure they are handled by an external party that is both experienced in but removed from these types of activities.

At Sage Consultancy our objective is not just recommending solutions but also helping institutionalize more effective management processes. This is significant to school leaders who need not just expert advice but also practical help in improving their school’s future performance.

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