February 22, 2013

The Northwood Idea: A Unique Value Proposition

As the American and global economies continue the fight to regain full health, the pressure to streamline costs and maximize return-on-investment (ROI) abounds at every level of work and life, including higher education. As reported throughout the media, a growing number of students and parents want more reasons to buy when it comes to a college or university education. In turn, many educational and legislative leaders are responding but all too often the focus emphasizes price and lacks more accurate and complete ROI data.

As outlined in our last System Update, we at Northwood University are very conscious and aware of the market’s demand for more and we are responding with a renewed emphasis on our unique value proposition. Developments like these, in fact, point all the more to the value of The Northwood Idea. In addition to an extraordinary philosophy that emphasizes values such as entrepreneurship, free enterprise, and private property, our emphasis on industry driven education truly sets us apart. So while others scramble to address price-demand, we are succeeding by meeting the demand for value.

A great example of how we are doing just this can be found in our new Franchising Management undergraduate degree program which will start this fall—the one and only such program in the United States, if not the world. Consistent with all our offerings, the Franchising Management program is a unique curriculum developed in partnership with industry experts including Northwood alumni, active franchisees and franchisors, and the International Franchise Association (IFA). The program includes courses in franchising, entrepreneurship, management, and marketing. Students who graduate with a Franchising Management degree will be equipped to:  

  • Manage a variety of domestic and international franchise models
  • Assess, analyze, and manage in the context of franchising trends and developments
  • Apply expertise in commercial law, real estate law, and technology pertaining to franchising, as well as navigate franchising compliance issues
  • Demonstrate competency in marketing, operations, and finance in relation to franchise management

In contrast to many business school offerings today (which have become commodities), Northwood University’s programs are both unique and proven. Whether it is one of our specialty degree programs, experiential learning, the teaching methodologies in our DeVos graduate program, the extra service we provide our students, or our global footprint, we cannot be easily duplicated. This is why, despite today’s economy and growing price pressure in higher education, people are coming to Northwood to complete their education. And this is a message people need to hear over and over again.

So while many will naturally focus on the declining elements of the market’s creative-destruction forces, you and I must work daily to ensure Northwood remains where it has been since our founding almost 54 years ago: active, forward-looking, and focused. By keeping our attention squarely on our value proposition, which showcases a philosophy that gave rise to the highest standard of living in recorded history, we will make certain that Northwood will continue to lead in the future.

Have a great weekend!


Keith A. Pretty, J.D.
President and CEO
Northwood University
4000 Whiting Drive
Midland, MI 48640