Education 2023: KARL McDONNELL
PRESIDENT AND CEO, STRATEGIC EDUCATION, HERNDON
McDonnell is CEO of Strategic Education, an education services holding company that owns for-profit Strayer and Capella universities, the Jack Welch Management Institute and nondegree schools DevMountain, Hackbright Academy and Sophia Learning.
Strategic Education was formed in 2018 by the $2 billion merger of Strayer Education and Capella Education. McDonnell was previously president and CEO of Strayer, which he joined in 2006.
Prior to joining Strayer, McDonnell was general manager of the Walt Disney World theme park in Orlando, Florida, from 1995 to 2000. He later served as vice president of Goldman Sachs and was chief operating officer for InteliStaf Healthcare. McDonnell has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia Wesleyan University and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Capella has more than 41,400 students enrolled, with 45% pursuing master’s degrees and 18% working on doctorates. Similarly, Strayer has nearly 36,700 students enrolled, with 78% pursuing bachelor’s degrees. A growth area for Strategic Education is Sophia, which lets students take up to two online general education college courses concurrently for a monthly $99 subscription fee. So far, 40 schools, including Liberty University, accept Sophia transfer credits without review.