Saturday, June 25, 2022

Spellings picks Boston Consulting to give UNC a close look

One of Margaret Spellings’ first decisions as UNC President — she starts officially in March — was to recommend the hiring of Boston Consulting Group to review the UNC System’s operations, the News and Observer reported. Sounds like a smart move, particularly because some unidentified Mr. X or Mrs. X is picking up the $1.1 million tab. (Free lunch at Price’s Chicken Coop if you identify the donor first,  before the rest of the press herd.)

BCG is a hotshot consulting firm that attracts scores of resumes from high-achieving college grads, who then spend a few years honing their strategic skills working 70-hour weeks on projects such as the UNC review, before many head off into corporate America. It has annual revenues of $4.5 billion and ranked second in Fortune’s ranking of “Best Companies to Work For” in 2015. One of the most notable BCG alumni in North Carolina is Red Hat Inc. CEO Jim Whitehurst, who also worked as a top executive at Delta Air Lines before making the move to Raleigh.

Look for a lot of attention to be paid to this line in the N&O story: State audits show that spending on salaries and benefits in the General Administration increased by 21% from 2010 to 2014.

One suspects the analysis of UNC will closely track this report filed by BCG last year on key trends in higher education:

The final paragraph in the 2014 BCG report notes, “Rising pressures are driving universities and colleges to transform themselves so they can remain in business. The array of pressing challenges requires education leaders to act with unprecedented strategic clarity and vision in order to seize the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Let’s hope we get more than that for $1.1 million.

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David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at

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