UT enters $20 million partnership with consulting firm to cut University expenses

Kaushiki Roy, News Reporter

UT will pay about $20 million to a financial consulting firm to help the University cut some expenses and provide assistance with the new faculty-led strategic plan to make UT a leading research institution. 

The UT Board of Regents approved the contract with Bain & Company through July 2022 on Nov. 18. The University will pay the company about $14 million to manage its business processes, which includes cutting costs and hiring more staff to implement the strategic plan while the remaining $6 million will be used to directly facilitate the strategic plan, UT spokesperson J.B. Bird said.

The University intends to save more money through Bain’s cost-cutting initiatives and ideas than they will spend on the consulting contract itself, Bird said. He said the partnership does not aim to reduce staff or faculty count from the University but only to make costs more efficient.

“We’re looking to reduce the money spent buying goods and services from outside vendors,” Bird said. “They’re working on generating savings from better practices across our third-party spending and to identify some revenue growth opportunities.”

Robert Chesney, one of the head personnel for the faculty strategic plan, said the plan is in its early stages, but administrators are looking at data and survey responses from the UT community on what improvements can be made to campus in the future. Bird said they expect the strategic plan to roll out early next year.

“We’ve had nearly a thousand ideas submitted that came from the UT community,” said Chesney, UT Law associate dean for academic affairs. “And they’re all sorts of ideas from really big strategic things that will take years to small, low hanging fruit.”

While both faculty and students typically gravitate toward research elements, for example, Chesney said improvements pertaining to campus operations might have the most impact.

“Some of the systems that have issues on the operational side of how the institution works are really widely recognized problems and there are big impact solutions to improving those things,” Chesney said.

Chesney said although the partnership between UT and Bain & Company is long term, the company will not make decisions within the strategic plan and will only help accommodate faculty and staff after the plan is made. 

“No one should think Bain is showing up and telling us what our strategic plan should be,” Chesney said. “(Bain) can contribute on the business operation side but when it comes to curriculum innovation or areas of research emphasis, or how to help attract the highest potential students, that’s a UT-led process.”

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story stated that Robert Chesney said one of the main improvement ideas from the strategic plan dealt with the University investing into sustainability and climate change groups to address solutions to current environmental issues at UT. This information was falsely attributed to Chesney and has since been removed from the story. The Texan regrets this error.