Strategy. Insight. Learning.

Firetail is a consulting firm that works around the world to help ambitious organisations
achieve positive social change. We help our clients develop strategies, create insights
and encourage learning so that they make better and smarter choices.
We measure our success by their results.

The “Class of 2030”

Which Universities will rise – and how will they do it?

Higher Education is both more globally competitive and more nationally important than ever before.

Emerging and middle income countries realise that a strong Higher Education sector is central to building a research-driven knowledge economy.

At the same time, Higher Education institutions in developed countries are trying to tap into the exploding global demand for Higher Education. There’s more competition and collaboration than ever before.

This is driving unprecedented change, creating new opportunities and challenging the establishment.

The “Class of 2030” is a new report exploring these issues.

Who are the Class of 2030?

Our research has identified a set of fast-improving, mid-ranking global universities that we call “the Class of 2030″.

Based on our conversations with university leaders across the world, we believe that a new generation of challenger universities has a unique opportunity to become globally-renowned institutions over the next 10 to 20 years.

How will the Class of 2030 succeed?

Our research suggests the difference between the winners and losers will be strategy. No-one will become world class by chance.

The rising “Class of 2030” will balance long-term vision with short-term execution, linked together by strong management and culture.

The universities that we spoke to had made a clear commitment to becoming regional or global leaders.
The overriding message is that sustained, rapid improvement does not happen by accident – it is the result of deliberate and determined long-term commitment.

These universities operate in very different local, national and regional contexts, with their own influences and constraints.

They are defining and pursuing success in a rich variety of ways.

Nonetheless, clear common factors came through. The model below – explained in more detail in the full report – captures how successful universities think about long-term direction and shorter-term priorities linked together by a robust and inclusive planning process.

Over the timeframes that matter, the world of Higher Education is highly innovative – and will be ever more so in the next ten to twenty years.

Universities are complex institutions and face many challenges and trade-offs.

Therefore, effective strategies require a tolerance of ambiguity, an ability to make and evaluate decisions under uncertainty, and a keen sense of the world around you.

History suggests that innovation will emerge from within the sector, but that does not mean the same top fifty global names that are familiar today.

About Firetail

Firetail is a strategy consulting firm that works with some of the most outstanding universities, research organisations and civil society groups in the world.

We have deep experience of running transformational strategy projects at the most senior levels. We understand how to develop strategic options based on solid analysis, how to secure support from senior stakeholders in complex environments and how to develop clear plans that deliver real change.

To contact us about this report, or about our work in the sector, please contact Ilse van der Hoeven on highereducation@firetail.co.uk.

Download the full report here

Selected Press Coverage

  • https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/which-universities-could-challenge-elite-2030
  • https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/globalbuzz/2016/08/12/new-generation-of-challenger-universities-rise-in-world-rankings-report-reveals/
  • http://cdu.edu.au/newsroom/class-of-2030
  • http://www.anglia.ac.uk/news/anglia-ruskin-named-as-global-rising-star
  • http://www.lut.fi/uutiset/-/asset_publisher/h33vOeufOQWn/content/lut-globaalisti-20-haastajayliopiston-joukossa