Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Training. Is it possible to make a profit?

As always I find it hard to believe the group Lotus view that they cannot make a profit from training. Group Lotus normally operates at a loss.

I read an interesting article in todays NST

After tax Masterskill Made Rm1 on each Rm3 of revenue

Masterskill, is a healthcare University. It operates from physical campuses.

I do not know the breakeven figure for this institution.I find the after tax profit of Masterskill very interesting

Obviously, the physical campus I envisage would be expensive. Cars and associated hardware is not cheap. Hence the virtual aspect of the plan is important.

As Motorsport University Malaysia is a sports based entity, I see parallels with Football clubs.
The hardware at Old Trafford and The Emirates is also expensive. Players alone can earn in excess of  Rm 2 million a month (100,000 pounds a week). Even with crowds of 60,000 paying upwards of 40 pounds a ticket, these clubs rely on sponsorship deals and TV money.

This is an instance where the physical campus drives the virtual (TV) audience. Hence the high financial returns..

Another problem I had with group Lotus apart from the fact that losing money selling cars and engineering services was acceptable, was in 2002 the virtual aspect of the plan was not understood.

In the intervening years broadband has grown to a point, where in many parts of the world it is as accessable as 'TV'

Broadband subscribers in 1999

Ten years later

Assuming group Lotus feel that they cannot match Masterskill from education delivery that is campus based.

Let us look at the Manchester United/Arsenal model.

Their games are beamed all over the world! Hence TV money and expensive sponsorship deal are possible.

Surely, an association to a successful much loved team sport is worth considering?

Anyone visibly associated with this project would get global exposure of the most beneficial kind.

I recently spoke to some Padi (diving) instructors. You can take their 'theory' online. You obviously have to do the practical with a qualified instructor.

What does it cost?

The PADI Open Water Diver Course online is $120 (US) nonrefundable. The fee covers your knowledge development training and gives you unlimited access to an electronic version of the PADI Open Water Diver Manual (course textbook). Your PADI Dive Center or Resort will charge an additional fee for the inwater portion of your certification.
Interestingly, the 'theory' questions are multi choice. The online papers are software marked. So Padi have to pay for IT people to ensure that their webpage is updated and functioning. Marking per se is free.

The main cost of such an online course is obviously the cost of setting up the cirriculum, and updating it.

When I first proposed this project in 2001/2, Cranfield were the only University of note doing Motorsport studies. Today that has changed.

I notice that Brookes University in the UK offer an online "Motorsport Knowledge Exchange Program' for Data Aquisition Systems.

Tuition Fees:

The tuition fees for this course are £1200.
The practical element of the course is an additional £600.
Although you will be expected to study autonomously, you will
be able to contact a tutor. Your progress will be monitored, for
your own feedback and for assessment, through a series of short
computer-marked assignments, one for each couple of hours or
so of study. These computer-marked assignments give automatic
feedback, depending on your answers, and questions can be
repeated if necessary. The computer-marked assignments provide
a pass/fail assessment only. There is also a final tutor-marked
assignment.  END

Even though this example shows some manpower hours for Tutor contact and marking, again the main cost appears to be the setting up and maintainence of an up to date curriculum.

In contrast to the 2002 Group Lotus response to education, here is a quote from Tony Fernandes LotusF1 boss:
Wednesday, April 14th 2010, 07:54 GMT - Autosport.com

Tony Fernandes, team principal: "I'm delighted we've arrived in China and can't wait to see the fans' reaction to us here. It's an honour to be in Shanghai as China is the home of the new world and has been a very important market for AirAsia, so it's somewhere I'm always excited about coming to. We are thrilled that we are bringing Lotus Racing, a uniquely Asian - British team, to the Shanghai Grand Prix, particularly as we have a number of people within the team with Chinese heritage who are very proud to see our team here for the first time. I know the whole team will work hard to put on a good show on and off track, and I hope that this demonstrates that we can provide a very good platform for universities, commercial partners and future drivers across China to work with a team whose heart beats close to our Asian home."

LotusF1 are proposing a centre of excellence based in SepangF1. UTM and Petronas University are their local partners.
Maxis produce LotusF1 Apps. They are also contracted to produce apps for Limkokwing University.
Limkokwing has publicly stated that it hopes to have 1,000,000 students (online and physical) within 10 years.


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