Case Study

Driving Growth in Higher Education: Harnessing Data for Success

Our client, a leading private market solutions provider in higher education, grappled with leveraging dispersed data to drive innovation. Seeking to empower its university's mission, the organization embarked on a transformative journey, pivotal to which was the search for a Chief Data Officer.

By Daniel C. Grassi

The Client

Our client, a leading provider of private market solutions, is dedicated to enabling its affiliated University to fulfill its charter. With $2 billion in assets under management, the organization offers industry-leading insights and technology-driven asset management services. Their suite of solutions is meticulously designed to meet the strategic objectives of the university. The client boasts an efficient business model, featuring a dedicated business team supported by shared services, enabling access to subject matter expertise while mitigating costs. Their diverse team, comprising fundraisers, designers, scholars, financial experts, filmmakers, inventors, entrepreneurs, and volunteers, collectively strives to advance the university's status as a top innovator.

The Challenge

The organization, comprising of seven divisions, is tasked with generating revenue, strategic partnerships, sponsorships, and investments to benefit the university's students, faculty, and society at large. However, they face the challenge of transitioning decades-old raw data, gathered through various means and stored across multiple locations, into organized, cloud-based solutions. This transformation is crucial for enabling the organization to interpret data effectively, develop sophisticated analytics, and make informed business decisions to further the university's global mission. The legacy systems in place lack interoperability, hindering data interpretation and value extraction. The organization requires sophisticated architectures to facilitate access, assessment, and leverage of this invaluable data. Recognizing the urgency of this transformation, the organization identified the pressing need for a Chief Data Officer to join the executive leadership team. Collaborating with the Digital Technologies and Analytics team, the Chief Data Officer will spearhead enterprise-wide strategies and tools to support long-term growth and data leverage.

The Solution

Boyden initiated a targeted search strategy focused on candidates with a proven track record in data strategy, architecture, management, and technical proficiency. The ideal executive needed to demonstrate expertise in crafting and executing comprehensive data overhauls and forward-looking strategies. Additionally, they were required to possess strong competencies in data governance, quality management, and privacy, alongside being recognized industry leaders capable of attracting top talent. As a stand-alone not-for-profit entity, the organization aimed to create value aligned with the university's vision. Boyden's challenge was to attract talent capable of assessing challenges, developing robust solutions, and articulating passion for the organization's mission within the university's ecosystem.

The Results

Boyden's search efforts spanned consulting, non-profit, and corporate sectors, targeting individuals with relevant experience and a passion for mission-driven cultures. The three finalist candidates hailed from diverse backgrounds, including Big 4 Consulting, public corporations, and renowned non-profit organizations. Their varied experiences equipped them with the necessary skills to navigate the organization's data challenges and contribute meaningfully to the university's mission-driven initiatives.

About the Author
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