Q. Can you tell us how you turned around Manhattanville College, using a consumer approach?

A. Students are consumers. Administrators must understand higher education economics. They have to ask enrollees what they seek in the college experience. At Manhattanville College, we improved sports programs because they raise visibility and make students proud of their school. One way we did this was by leasing Rye Playland Rink for school ice hockey teams, allowing them to compete at higher levels. College applications tripled from 1995 to 2004, and enrollment doubled during that same period.

Q. What other changes did you institute?

A. Prospective students demand state-of-the-art facilities. Manhattanville upgraded its technology through computer donations and network upgrades. We replaced defunct boilers through workable credit arrangements. We renovated the campus to make it more attractive, including the gym facilities. We marketed our services abroad to attract more foreign students. Eventually, increased enrollment brought in more revenues. As both increased, we raised faculty salaries, hired more teachers, and reduced the instructor-to-student ratio. This led to a “Best Schools” ranking in U.S. News and World Report and the Princeton Review.

After a successful 14-year tenure as President of Manhattanville College, Richard Berman founded LICAS, a consulting firm providing solutions in health care and education.

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