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Answers in Analytics: How Northwestern University uses financial models to offer the best student value

Senior Marketing Manager, IBM

Institutions of higher education are not immune to the costs associated with remaining competitive and respected while still offering value to its scholars. In this installment of Answers in Analytics, you’ll learn how a world-renowned university controls costs among its various schools, colleges and divisions.

Since its founding in 1851, Northwestern University has been committed to excellent teaching, innovative research and the personal and intellectual growth of its students in a diverse academic community. With three campuses located throughout Illinois encompassing 12 schools and colleges, 21,000 enrolled students, over 3,000 full-time faculty members and 19 intercollegiate athletic teams, remaining a premier research institution requires Northwestern to understand and effectively apply financial resources. By being able to model its financial position, the university discovered that it could better plan its expenses and income across its 12 schools and hundreds of departments.

Northwestern turned to IBM for an analytics-based IBM Cognos TM1 solution. With the help of sophisticated financial models, the university could evaluate how factors such as enrollment, grants, personnel and facilities contribute to the sustainability of its schools and departments. As a result, Northwestern University’s separate colleges can facilitate better decision-making because they now can plan their own operations within a university-wide structure. In addition, with real-time analysis, university staff replicates budgets faster and determines the most efficient financial solutions.

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