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What Universities and Private Companies Have in Common

Many students end up working in private companies of all sizes. How does university life prepare graduates for the private company life? There are more similarities that you think. Both universities and private companies see the need for consistent innovation, express concerns about cost, understand the importance of their reputations, and recognize the need to collaborative working environments. Let's take a closer look at four similarities between universities and private companies.

Sep 6, 2023
  • Education
  • Student Tips
What Universities and Private Companies Have in Common

Many students end up working in private companies of all sizes. How does university life prepare graduates for the private company life?

There are more similarities than you think. Both universities and private companies see the need for consistent innovation, express concerns about cost, understand the importance of their reputations, and recognize the need for collaborative working environments. Let’s take a closer look at four similarities between universities and private companies.

1. Innovation

Innovation allows employees—and students—to see problems from new perspectives. From the company perspective, it means finding new ways into old markets—and creating new ones. It means leveraging communication and production strategies. It means rethinking and rebuilding—all the time.

For universities, there’s a constant need to keep up with change and innovate also. New technologies, new perspectives, and new ways of attracting and supporting students consistently pervade the university atmosphere.

The bottom line? Universities and businesses need constantly to adapt to change. And adapting to change requires innovation and creativity.

2. Cost concerns

It’s a natural extension for the CEO of a company to be concerned about costs and profits. But for a university? Of course.

Businesses incur costs—raw materials, inventory, supplies, services—to generate revenue. No matter the size of the company, it matters how much things cost to maximize profit, or at least savings.

Universities operate on a similar platform, but with students’ needs at the forefront.

It’s no secret that tuition costs are high. Universities need to assess and reassess their costs and consider the impacts of increasing and reducing costs constantly.

One thing both entities think about all the time? Branding. How is their name getting out there? See #3.

3. Reputation

Reputation isn’t just one aspect of a business or university. It’s about the judgments that consumers and students (and their families) make when they interact with any aspect of the business or university.

It’s about customer service. It’s about growing a solid reputation in the field—whatever it is—that you’re trying to attract.

Businesses and universities need to stand apart from their competition and one way they do that is to create a solid reputation.

What does a solid reputation mean? It means having a business or university that makes engagement easy and accessible—online and in-person. It means having great word-of-mouth marketing. It means addressing bad reviews—and trying to correct the problems where they exist.

For universities and business—the products, or degrees or programs—need to reflect the values of the institutions and deliver on promises, seamlessly and elegantly.

What does this mean? A lot of people work hard to ensure that businesses and universities have stellar reputations.

In some circles, dropping the name of a prestigious company or university is enough to get your foot in the door.

Reputation counts.

4. The need for collaborations

Teamwork at a company doesn’t look so different from teamwork at a university.

In school, students work on group projects. In real-world companies, employees work together to solve problems.

Companies and universities bring stakeholders together to identify, research, and solve problems—and work towards a common goal.

The University of Birmingham’s department of metallurgy makes a great case for the benefits of group work at the university as they apply to industry. They argue that the “organizational structure” of the working world requires that employees work together, which is why they insist that their students work together on projects.

They also cite an engineering recruiter who stated that “team working is an absolutely vital requirement in the graduate recruitment criteria.”

Students at the Australian Institute of Business also know the value of teamwork. They cite the need for experience working in a team as a student as critical to their success in the workplace. They explain that working in a team lends itself to more creativity and efficiency.

Businesses and universities function similarly in their needs for innovation, cost maintenance, reputation, and collaboration. Apply those skills you’re learning now—and maximize your opportunities to learn more!