Red & Yellow: the business of education

Jeandri Robertson (Marketing Section, School of Management Studies, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, and Department of Marketing, Red & Yellow Creative School of Business, Cape Town, South Africa)
Caitlin Candice Ferreira (Marketing Section, School of Management Studies, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, and Department of Marketing, Red & Yellow Creative School of Business, Cape Town, South Africa)
Sherese Duncan (Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, South Africa)
Atanu Nath (Department of Business Administration and Social Sciences, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, South Africa)

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies

ISSN: 2045-0621

Publication date: 30 April 2020


Learning outcomes

Students learn to evaluate a firm’s growth strategies with the aim of establishing long-term business sustainability. Students will examine the impact of external macro-environmental factors that influence firm growth in an emerging market context. Using this case, students will learn how to apply a resource-based view to a firm’s offering by comparing and identifying the competitive advantage of the internal resources of the firm. Using this case, students can apply the principle of strategic fit by strategically analyzing the opportunities and threats in the external environment, while taking into account the firm’s internal strengths and weaknesses.

Case overview/synopsis

This case outlines the strategic, macro-environmental and marketing challenges that the Cape Town-based private higher education institution, Red & Yellow Creative School of Business, faced as it entered its 25th year of existence. In 2019, Red & Yellow had its roots in industry and had done well historically to cement that bond through the creation of successful alumni and the constant innovation of its higher education offering. Two weeks before having to present a detailed five-year growth strategy plan to the board of directors, Rob Stokes, the Director and Chairman of Red & Yellow, was faced with a multitude of decisions pertaining to the sustainable growth of the school. Recent growth patterns showed that programs with lower profit margins, such as classroom-based full-time programs, had experienced double-digit growth while student numbers for higher gross profit offerings, such as online and executive education programs had started to decline. Another challenge that the school faced was the need for its students to future-proof their careers in a world where artificial intelligence and machine learning threatened their careers and jobs. As such, Red & Yellow was confronted with one central strategic problem: How to grow strategically in the short term while developing a sustainable and scalable growth strategy for the school in the long term.

Complexity academic level

This case could work well as part of an executive education course, as well as a strategic management course for master’s degree or Master of Business Administration students.

Supplementary materials

Teaching Notes are available for educators only.

Subject code

CSS 11: Strategy.



This research article did not receive any specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.


Robertson, J., Ferreira, C.C., Duncan, S. and Nath, A. (2020), "Red & Yellow: the business of education", Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, Vol. 10 No. 2.

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