How the Blue Ocean Strategy is relevant to educational institutions

Blue Ocean Strategy is a very important concept in Strategic Management. It is basically a strategy of differentiating an organization from its competitors, by doing certain things that competitors do not do. This article is an attempt to describe the relevance of this to the educational institutions, with specific examples.


There are many global organizations that have already created blue oceans. Essentially, Blue Ocean Strategy simply means that the organization differentiates itself from its competitors, through a wise combination of several strategies, while competing in the same market. The market is full of dozens of competitors, and only those that offer superior benefits to customers will survive. The two outstanding examples of such global organizations are Google and Apple Computers.

Closer to each one of us, there is this brilliant example of Maruti Suzuki, that has consciously created such a big service network that is so unique for its customers. The widest range of products offered by Maruti Suzuki has enabled it to create a perfect Red Ocean.

The two experts, Prof.W.Chan Kim and Prof Renee Mauborgne, who propounded the concept of Blue Ocean Strategy, wrote about this concept in their famous book that bears the same name. According to them, those who compete in the same market for ;their limited market share, are those who compete in the red ocean, where there are too many sharks. This market is so fierce and is full of "me too" competitors. Those who want to form Blue Oceans will obviously move out of this and graduate to "me better" and finally "me only", as some experts have ;pointed out.

In this article, we will discuss a) Relevance of Blue Ocean Strategy and some success stores b) Sustaining Blue Oceans and c) Creating New Blue Oceans.

Relevance of Blue Ocean Strategy and some success stores

Take engineering colleges as examples. The engineering colleges are under the State Governments, and each State has a Technical University that controls all the engineering colleges. However, some engineering colleges had already done excellent work in their fields and qualified themselves as Deemed Universities.

These Deemed Universities are also contributing to the cause of engineering education in their own ways. However, only few stand out as outstanding examples of Blue Ocean Strategy, as they have done pioneering work in creating something totally different from their competitors.

The red ocean for higher engineering education is now in a state of flux. Except for the NITs and the IITs, there are hardly any engineering colleges that offer very good placement services. However, when a college is able to attract very good faculty even from the NITs and the IITs, have collaboration with foreign educational institutions for higher education, gives maximum support to world-class research facilities that result in people-oriented products, and also have very high visibility in the society, the students from everywhere in the country and from other countries, flock to these institutions to study. The students and their parents are assured of very good placements, and their children also go abroad to the USA and UK for higher education, without any difficulty. This process then becomes a routine, creating Blue Oceans for the particular colleges, year after year.

There are three outstanding examples of Blue Ocean Strategy among Deemed Universities. The first among these is the Vellore Institute of Technology

The main campus of the Vellore Institute of Technology is situated at Vellore, a town that is well known for housing the best hospital in the whole of Asia, called the Christian Medical College. However, today, VIT occupies such a pride of place among the top Deemed Universities and enjoys a place alongside the NITs, as one of the best engineering institutions.

VIT has consciously created world-class infrastructure and its library is simply fabulous. It has been able to attract even global faculty to its campus for guest lectures. The placement facilities are just too good and a massive number of graduates go abroad for higher studies. The infrastructure facilities include encouragement for faculty to present papers in a number of international conferences at the institution's expense and also very good facilities to choose their own electives. The students have an ideal environment to study and satisfaction of the parents is there for all to see.

The Blue Ocean Strategy adopted by VIT is replicated in the case of SRM University. The latter has the advantage of being based out of Chennai. It also has a good hospital and runs a three star hotel as well. The standards are just too good and the placement facilities are improving year after year.

The Blue Ocean Strategy created by Amity Universitythat is based is based in New Delhi, also has a number of international collaborations and big visibility, as it is based out of the capital city and is into the big league in terms of facilities. However, the other strategies adopted to create a "me only" atmosphere, are literally the same. It also boasts of a very good record of placement.

Sustaining Blue Oceans

The temptation to take it easy is always a big threat in any educational institution. When the institution enjoys a good name, some teachers tend to take it easy. There is also bound to be complacency among students. These are two big dangers that the Blue Ocean deemed Universities should really bother about.

Excellence needs to become a habit. There is also a big need to increase the pace of collaboration with Indian industry and in this connection, there is always scope for improvement, year after year. When these happen, the sustainability of Blue Oceans will never be or become a problem.

Creating New Blue Oceans

All the three Blue Ocean Deemed Universities can go the extra mile in setting new standards of excellence. They have the resources and they have the power. All that is required is the will. For example, all the three conduct the MBA program. However, how about bringing out a journal that is equal to the standards of Harvard Business Review, in terms of research? Unlike the major corporate companies that allow the world-class consultants to visit and research their practices, Indian companies do not even allow the interns to get more than the normal information.

This can indeed change when the managers and the companies realize that the educational institutions add real value and can be relied upon, to maximize their own output. Such a mindset change can indeed create new Blue Oceans.


Based on hardcore evidence of substantial success, three Indian examples of Deemed Universities and their strategies at creating Blue Ocean Strategies have been discussed in some detail. There are other examples, but these three stand out. Hopefully, in the years to come, we will have too many Blue Oceans from among out educational institutions.


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