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Elite cyborg universities will corner education in post pandemic world, says marketing pundit Scott Galloway

Big tech giants like Apple, Google and Microsoft likely to enter education and health care in a big way, not because they want to but because they have to
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   14-05-2020

Scott Galloway
Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at the Stern School of Business in New York University is often branded 'Nostradamus' for his accurate business predictions

Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing at the Stern School of Business in New York University is often branded 'Nostradamus' for predicting Amazon’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods in 2017. Predictably, the professor who forecasts business trends has founded several successful startups. In 1997, Galloway founded Red Envelope Inc, one of the earliest e-commerce sites. In 2005, Galloway founded the digital intelligence firm L2 Inc, which was acquired in March 2017 by Gartner for $155 million.

Now, Galloway, who teaches Brand Strategy and Digital Marketing to second-year MBA students, believes the coronavirus pandemic has greased the wheels for big tech’s entry into higher ed. The post-pandemic future, Galloway told the “Intelligencer — New York Magazine,” will drive partnerships between the largest tech companies in the world and elite US universities.  

In a nutshell, think MIT@Google. iStanford. HarvardxFacebook. According to Galloway, these partnerships will allow universities to “expand enrollment dramatically by offering hybrid online-offline degrees,” the affordability and value of which will “seismically alter the landscape of higher education.”

Thousands of brick-and-mortar colleges will collapse

Galloway, who also founded his own virtual classroom start-up, predicts hundreds, if not thousands, of brick-and-mortar universities will collapse. Those that remain will have student bodies composed primarily of the children of the one percent.

“It will be like department stores in 2018. Everyone will recognize they’re going out of business, but it will take longer than people think. There will be a lot of zombie universities,” Galloway told the Intelligencer.

“Alumni will step in to help. They’ll cut costs to figure out how to stay alive, but they’ll effectively be the walking dead. I don’t think you’re going to see massive shutdowns, but there’s going to be a strain on tier-two colleges,” he added.

According to the marketing guru, there will be a dip, “the mother of all V’s, among the Top-50 universities,” where the revenues are hit in the short run and then technology will “expand their enrollments and they will come back stronger.”

“In ten years, it’s feasible to think that MIT doesn’t welcome 1,000 freshmen to campus; it welcomes 10,000. What that means is the top-20 universities globally are going to become even stronger,” said Galloway.

“What it also means is that universities Nos. 20 to 50 are fine. But Nos. 50 to 1,000 go out of business or become a shadow of themselves. I don’t want to say that education is going to be reinvented, but it’s going to be dramatically different,” he added.

Democratizing education

Galloway believes that at the same time, “more people” than ever will have access to a “solid education,” albeit one that is delivered mostly over the internet. The partnerships Galloway envisions will make life easier for “hundreds of millions of people while sapping humanity of a face-to face system of learning” that has evolved over centuries.

“Of course, it will also make a handful of people very, very rich,” quips Galloway.

Students should take a gap year

“At universities, we’re having constant meetings, and we’ve all adopted this narrative of “This is unprecedented, and we’re in this together,” which is Latin for “We’re not lowering our prices, bitches.” Universities are still in a period of consensual hallucination with each saying, “We’re going to maintain these prices for what has become, overnight, a dramatically less compelling product offering,” Galloway told the Intelligencer.

Zoom students

“In fact, the coronavirus is forcing people to take a hard look at that $51,000 tuition they’re spending. Even wealthy people just can’t swallow the jagged pill of tuition if it doesn’t involve getting to send their kids away for four years,” he added.

Galloway adds that a combination of “helicopter parenting and social media” have “stunted and arrested” the development of young people. And, university administrators have unwittingly become mental-health counselors.

“I think a lot of young people, especially boys, could use another year of seasoning experience, work experience, or some sort of service. A lot of these kids just aren’t ready for the competition and the kind of intense environment that is college,” said Galloway.

The coming tech disruption

According to Galloway, ultimately universities are going to partner with technology giants to help them expand.

“I think that partnership will look something like MIT and Google partnering. Microsoft and Berkeley. Big tech companies are about to enter education and health care in a big way, not because they want to but because they have to,” said Galloway.

It appears that the tech giants may be ready to go big-game hunting inspired by the seismic changes always lurking, but now precipitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Those big-tech companies have to turn their eyes to new prey, the list of which gets pretty short pretty fast if you look at how big these industries need to be in that weight class. Things like automobiles. They’ll be in the brains of automobiles, but they don’t want to be in the business of manufacturing automobiles because it’s a shitty, low-margin business,” said Galloway.

“The rest of the list is government, defense, education, and health care. People ask if big tech wants to get into education and health care, and I say no, they have to get into education and health care. They have no choice.”

A Silicon Valley runaway, Galloway is the author of “The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.”



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