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The top consulting firms and financial advisers for the education sector

A survey among buyers of consultancy services has identified the top management consulting and M&A advisory firms for the education sector. The list recognises large consultancies such as EY-Parthenon (the strategy consulting subsidiary of EY) KPMG, PwC, and boutiques with a focus on the education sector such as Cairneagle Associates and William Clarence Education.

Every year industry platform EducationInvestor organises the EducationInvestor Awards, a competition that is awarded to organisations and individuals that have made an outstanding contribution to the education sector in the past twelve months. Awards are also provided to firms and people that have done an outstanding job in promoting excellence and innovation within the industry.

Three categories look specifically at the performance of consulting firms in the sector. In the advisory and finance segment of proceedings, nominations have been handed out for the services of consultants to education institutions, and to private sector entities looking to invest in education. Meanwhile, nods were also handed out to five firms for the financial advisory category.

Top Consultancies

London headquartered Cairneagle Associates is an international strategy consultancy specialising in education, media and technology. The firm has previously been recognised with the 2015 and 2016 EducationInvestor Awards for Consultants to the Private Sector. Joining the consultancy is Carfax Projects. Founded in 2011, it provides technical and strategic support to investors, universities, governments, and inter-governmental organisations around the world.

The strategy subsidiary of Big Four firm EY also made the grade. EY-Parthenon is nominated alongside Big Four rival KPMG, and SAP consultancy Pivot. Pivot focuses primarily on digital transformation projects in the sector, while the final nominee for the category, William Clarence Education, recently announced a new partnership with educational guardianship organisation, AEGIS. The education consultancy will collaborate in order to offer new guidance for parents of international children studying in Britain.

Alongside second nominations for Cairneagle Associates, Carfax Projects and EY-Parthenon, CIL Management Consultants has also been nominated for the Consultants to the Private Sector Category. Last year, CIL was similarly noted for its achievements in the health sector, as the Health Investor Awards. The final consultancy to be nominated in the category is PwC. The firm recently announced its investment in the health technology business that has developed Perfect Ward, an online inspection tool aimed at improving quality in healthcare organisations and systems.

Financial Advisers

In the Financial Adviser category, Clearwater International, a financial advisory firm that provides services across multiple sectors, was marked out for its work. Founded in 2014, Clearwater hosts 200 employees in 15 international offices, and the business has completed over 1400 transactions, worth more than €66 billion. Alongside Clearwater, fellow nominee DC Advisory, a London-based corporate finance advisor with specific expertise in cross-border transactions, was also acknowledged.

Grant Thornton, the UK’s fifth largest auditor, received a nomination in the category as well, along with Houlihan Lokey/Quayle Munro. In January 2018, Houlihan Lokey, a global investment bank, successfully completed the acquisition of Quayle Munro, an independent advisory firm that provides corporate finance advisory services to companies underpinned by data & analytics, content, software, and services. Interestingly, QMPF, formerly known as Quayle Munro Project Finance is the final nominee in the category, having parted ways with Quayle Munro in 2014, thanks to a managerial buy-out.

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