In the media

Letter: Universities could take lessons in efficiency

By Ian Matthias

Financial Times

19 May 2022

This letter was first published in The Financial Times

The idea of universities as self-governing communities of scholars who do not need effective management is anachronistic in today’s world.

The breadth and complexity of their business has expanded exponentially and they need modern management capabilities to deliver their services. (“Are universities suffering from management bloat?”,, May 18). However, the way operations are run in our universities has clearly failed to adapt effectively or efficiently to the requirements of a modern higher education system.

Highly manual processes, overly customised technologies and difficulties in changing ways of working have resulted in processes that feel more like those found in the wider public sector 10 or 15 years ago. Until universities fully embrace the opportunities of digitisation, modern ways of working and become more agile, we will continue to see a rise in spending on inefficient and outmoded management and administration.

Ian Matthias is the Head of Higher Education at PA Consulting

Explore more

Contact the team

We look forward to hearing from you.

Get actionable insight straight to your inbox via our monthly newsletter.