The Advisory Board‘s deal to sell its education division to Vista Equity Partners in August is finally done, and EAB, formerly known as Education Advisory Board, is now a standalone entity.

Now what?

David Felsenthal, EAB CEO

David Felsenthal, EAB’s CEO, said the company can expect more of the same.

“We’ve been operating as a standalone, separate company for a while now,” Felsenthal said. “So this allows us a period of focus. We’re 100 percent focused on education now. It’s the right way to serve our clients and serve our members.”

Here’s what happened: Back in August, D.C.-based consultant group The Advisory Board entered a two-part sale agreement. Optuum, a division of UnitedHealth Group, acquired the company’s health care business for $1.3 billion, while private equity firm Vista Equity Partners acquired the company’s education business, or EAB, for $1.55 billion.

Through the deal, EAB officially rebranded from its old name, Education Advisory Board. A spokesperson said you can think of their new brand like CVS or IBM.

The now standalone company focuses heavily on student success. EAB works with 1,200 schools, colleges and universities to find the right data and research-backed solution for them so students have an easier time navigating their education. Services include enrollment management, student success collaboratives and academic performance solutions.

“Now is the time that made sense for the organization.”

Felsenthal said being a standalone entity will give them more freedom to double down on their services. The company has been growing quickly in the past few years — they now have 1,300 staff members across offices in Washington, D.C., Richmond, Va., Birmingham, Ala., and Bloomington, Minn. — and they don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

“Now is the time that made sense for the organization,” Felsenthal said. “This continues to allow us to focus on the entire continuum of the student’s lifecycle, from elementary school all the way through student outcomes.”


Truly, Felsenthal has been at The Advisory Board and EAB for two decades now, and although the management and structure of the company has changed, the EAB culture has remained pretty consistent.

“It feels very similar to when I started,” he said.

“It’s a bunch of incredibly smart, intellectually curious people that are passionate about what they do. They want to make education smarter and do things for our community that make it a better place. That keeps me at EAB.”