UK-based Pearson, the conglomerate that counts Penguin Books and The Financial Times among its many holdings, has opened a college that is offering its first class of 40 students courses leading to a degree in business and enterprise. Pearson College’s two “campuses” are the company’s London headquarters and its offices in Manchester. The curriculum is designed by Pearson in consultation with other businesses, such as Sony Pictures and Nationwide Insurance. In addition, all students receive six-week internships with one of the college’s corporate partners. They can choose to complete their program in two, three or four years.
What’s the Big Idea?
Other companies — most notably US-based Kaplan, which originally produced test preparation material — have built colleges, but the 150-year-old Pearson is the first company of its stature to do so. At a maximum cost of £19,500 (about $31,300) for the four-year option, the college is more affordable than most British universities as well. Managing director Roxanne Stockwell says, “We want to move higher education out of hammered-beam halls and into the world. We also want Pearson College to serve as a conduit for companies that want to participate in higher education.”