Author(s): KIM, W. Chan, MAUBORGNE, Renée, OLAVE, Manuel, OLENICK, Michael
The Universidad Privada Boliviana (UPB), the Private University of Bolivia, was founded in 1993. Not long after, in the late 1990s, civil unrest erupted with coca growers battling police in the streets outside the campus. Students and faculty fled, the prior President retired, and the University was functionally insolvent. Manuel Olave was hired as Rector (President) in 1999 to salvage the struggling school. Charged with turning around the struggling university, Olave realized that head-on competition would not help UPB thrive. Instead of benchmarking against leading universities, Olave formed a team to explore growth opportunities, using blue ocean methodologies like the Buyer Utility Map, Strategy Canvas, and Eliminate-Reduce-Raise-Create (ERRC) Grid. Based on insights from the blue ocean shift process, UPB made a series of strategic moves to capture untapped demand for higher education that was more affordable and of higher value for students. Two decades later, UPB is ranked the best private university in Bolivia, enrollment is at capacity, and the school is planning a third campus.
The case comes with a first-hand video interview with Manuel Olave describing his blue ocean shift.
Available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.