David Roberts

Consulting Director

David Roberts is the Chairman and co-founder of The Knowledge Partnership. He is the most experienced university sector marketer and consultant-researcher in the UK.  

Having started his career in economic development and destination marketing, David became the first marketing manager in the HE sector in 1987 and began to define the role of marketing in higher education to include course development, the setting of entry requirements and pricing. This led to his appointment as the first CEO of Heist where he had free reign to lead the development of marketing practice and market intelligence across the sector.

David's unique contributions include designing and leading the first PG qualification in higher education marketing, launching a professional magazine for education marketers and building a benchmark framework for university excellence. In 1990 he created the Heist Awards for marketing achievement in higher education, which celebrated its silver jubilee in 2015.

Research has always informed his practice, something that helps to forge trust with academic and professional clients alike. Early work covered topics such as university marketing structures and models, the social class map and university subjects, pricing research for higher education, the alignment of part-time higher education with sector/occupational labour markets and young people's perceptions of higher education.

He led commissioned research designed to forecast (accurately) the impact of charging tuition fees. Further research has included studies to evaluate the role of parents of applicants/students in higher education (with Lisa Thompson), the influence of league tables on student choice and the concept of reputation in higher and further education, with other work focused on new course development and word of mouth marketing.

Away from work, David can be found looking for his ball in the rough or splashing out of a bunker. On Tuesdays and Thursdays he can be seen failing in his attempts to model his serve on Argentinian grand slam winner Juan Martín del Potro. Coming from Leicester, he remains a Tigers rugby fan and has in the past been known to referee the odd game. He also loves castles, ties and magic but hates heights.


  • Sustainable course development and portfolio management
  • Marketing strategy and planning
  • Pricing and fees
  • Reputation and brand image
  • Market analysis

Category: NEWS , Company

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