Campus Management CEO Jim Milton on transforming higher education and onboarding as an executive

Campus Management is the computer software company that creates technology for higher education institutions across the globe in hopes to transform academic delivery, student success, and operational efficiency. Ladders spoke with Campus Management CEO Jim Milton to hear about his five years in the position of CEO at this company, and how Campus Management’s technology is transforming higher education.

How are institutions using technology to be more efficient and help students?

“Now more than ever, institutions are using technology to reach students where they are today, which typically involves a mobile device and personalized communications. A big focus for many higher education institutions is ensuring prospects and students receive relevant information at the right time through the right channels (text, email, social media…etc.)

“By using intelligent tools like Constituent Relationship Management and Student Information Systems, institutions are using analytics, automation, artificial intelligence, and big data to make the student experience less complex and more focused on learning. Campus Management has over 1,100 clients in 30 countries using these systems to deliver quality, student-focused education in the age of Amazon and Netflix.”

campus management ceo jim milton

What’s the process of onboarding like for a CEO?

“It’s been five years since I entered the role of CEO of Campus Management. At the time, I knew I had a lot to learn about the company culture, higher education industry, clients, and employees, so my goal was to listen more and talk less. I focused on meeting with key clients, industry analysts and thought leaders to just ask questions and listen. I am an avid reader, so I also did a lot of reading. According to the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, it’s important that the right people are on the bus. If you are joining an organization that is in need of a transformation, it’s important to evaluate and have a high-level plan within the first 100 days.”

What’s the most surprising aspect of being CEO?

“There is this illusion that a CEO is at the top of the organization, as the top of a pyramid. What I have found, is that a great servant leader actually looks at the pyramid upside down. You are there to serve and be accountable to the Board of Directors, as well as your employees and clients. With a clear vision and mission, you have to shape and reinforce your corporate culture from a place of humility and intentionality. Words matter – be intentional and clear in your Board, employee and client communications.”

Today, this servant leader, CEO Jim Milton is celebrating his 5-year work anniversary at Campus Management. How did he…

Posted by Campus Management Corp. on Thursday, August 22, 2019

What would you say is the biggest industry trend to watch right now?

“One of the exciting trends to watch right now is how institutions harness data. Through technology, institutions and students now have access to big data, analytics, and machine learning. While exciting, they are swimming in data and need intuitive, easy to create dashboards that make intelligence actionable. One of the reasons we utilize Microsoft Power BI in our Student Information System, is that it makes analytics and big data accessible and it is an actionable tool to drive decisions. You can see how easy it is to use and the great data it harnesses in this CampusNexus Occupation Insight demo, which gives students a firsthand look at current jobs in the market and how the skills they are obtaining in their current degree programs align.”

How do you think Campus Management stands out against competitors?

“Campus Management stands out in higher education because of our products, partnerships, and people. We have a fully integrated platform built specifically for higher education institutions to support nontraditional and traditional students. We have partnerships with the best technology companies in the world, which includes Microsoft. When you combine our products and partnerships with the client-first and innovative culture of our organization, you will find that we don’t just look and sound different from our competitors, we ARE different from our competitors.”

How do you think the future of work will play into what Campus Management does?

“Many jobs of the future don’t exist today. There is also a lot of discussion about artificial intelligence and if it will replace a portion of today’s current jobs. In both of these scenarios, there is uncertainty about what job skills will be required in the future, which raises the topic of reskilling and continuing education. Our products support institutions as they develop curriculum for students to obtain the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow. From enabling online programs to shorter class terms, our solutions allow institutions to think innovatively about how to support the needs of students who may need to go back to school for upskilling and reskilling.”

What kind of skills do you look for in employees?

“We look for employees who exemplify our values – customer focus, innovation, performance, integrity, and teamwork. When our corporate values align with someone’s personal values we find that they are mission-driven and find meaning in their work. We want employees who bring a passion for higher education technology to their work every day.

We’re also an innovative technology company, so we value skills like coding and software development, as well as problem-solving. When we hear about client challenges and what’s keeping them up at night, we make that a priority. If our solutions can help – we will figure out how to do it.”

What’s your advice for interviewing at Campus Management?

“Be authentic and think about how you will help us transform higher education. Our values are central to our organization, so know our values and if they align with who you are prior to interviewing. We know your time is important, and sometimes the interview process can be rigorous, so don’t wait until the end of the interview to ask important values and culture questions. You should feel at home at Campus Management from day 1, but for that to happen, you have to be the right fit. Early in the interview process, don’t be afraid to ask our fantastic human resource team for more information and examples of our culture in practice.”

What’s special about the Campus Management work culture?

“Our clients observe this frequently – we like each other, we support one another and most importantly we have a higher calling to transform higher education.

We work hard, but we also play hard. We are constantly innovating and helping clients find solutions to their education technology challenges. Even though we are driven to make institutions more successful and operationally efficient, we also take time to celebrate holidays and recognize employees who live our values. In fact, my favorite part of our quarterly meeting is the Stars Awards. I truly enjoy hearing the stories of the employees who have been nominated as living our values and then announcing the winners to the entire organization.”