Strategy consulting to academic and biomedical organizations

Rapid changes present unprecedented opportunities and challenges across the academic biomedical and education sectors. Emerging technologies, a new interdisciplinary mindset, and greater private-sector engagement promise to revolutionize education and research. Capitalizing on the promise will require thoughtful analysis, sound decision making and meticulous planning.

AltshulerStaats applies a business mindset to help academic enterprises navigate strategic and organizational choices in this complex environment.



Who we are

AltshulerStaats, formerly known as AltshulerGray, brings unique perspective and capabilities to the pressing strategic and organizational challenges facing academic biomedical and educational organizations. The principals, Jill Altshuler and Sara Staats, both Harvard MBAs, bring nearly 50 years of combined experience consulting to this sector, including over 15 years with the internationally-renowned strategy consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group. With extensive experience serving nonprofit and for-profit clients among the leading academic and biomedical research enterprises, AltshulerStaats speaks the language of both academia and business, bridging the cultural divide and cross-fertilizing best practice between the two.

AltshulerStaats’s approach to client service is distinctive as well. Clients are served directly by the two principals, without unnecessary overhead and large teams of junior consultants. Ms. Altshuler and Ms. Staats strive to understand each client’s unique culture and mission, forming partnerships that transcend formal project boundaries, and deliver high-impact results by focusing only on the issues that matter most. As needed, the principals can extend their capacity by tapping into a cadre of outstanding, like-minded consultants with relevant industry experience and expertise.

Jill Altshuler

Jill Altshuler has been a strategy consultant for 30 years. She co-founded AltshulerGray LLC, strategy consultant to academic and biomedical research organizations, with Samantha Gray Singer in 2003. Prior to that, she spent seven years in the health care practice of the Boston Consulting Group. Her experience covers all sectors of health care and includes a deep knowledge of the academic research environment. Her work focuses on helping define and plan new large-scale scientific ventures in the academic setting, and strategic planning for academic entities including universities, medical schools, academic medical centers and scientific societies. She has co-authored an article in Nature, on the organizational challenges inherent in clinical genomic research, and an article in Science Translational Medicine on novel models of precompetitive collaboration and public-private partnerships in biomedical research.

Current and recent clients have included the Harvard University Provost’s Office, the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Harvard Medical School Dean’s Office, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the Institute of Medicine, the American Physiological Society, and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. While at BCG, Ms. Altshuler’s clients included biopharmaceutical companies, genomics companies, and managed care organizations.

Ms. Altshuler received her AB degree magna cum laude from Harvard College and her MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Sara Staats

Sara Staats has been a strategy consultant for over 15 years, including seven years at The Boston Consulting Group. Her work focuses on critical issues of strategy, growth and financial sustainability across a range of academic organizations, including K-12, higher education and research-based organizations. Over her career, Ms Staats has worked with a range of for profit and not-for-profit organizations, and seeks to bring best practices from each to the other.

During her time as an independent consultant, Ms. Staats has had the opportunity to work with a number of K-12 organizations including Boston, DC and Newark charter schools, Boston area independent schools as well as education technology organizations. Clients have included school leaders and/or trustees as well as national and local foundations, including The NewSchools Venture Fund and The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.

She also works frequently in higher education and for academic research organizations. Recent engagements include strategic planning for a nationally renowned academic medical center, a nationally ranked public medical school, as well as facilitations of strategic discussions for a family foundation focused on health issues.

Ms. Staats received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Mathematics from Georgetown University and completed her MBA at Harvard Business School. She is a board member of The Sposato Graduate School of Education.

What we do

Our work is focused on supporting senior leadership in identifying and addressing strategic challenges of greatest urgency to their organization, from facilitating the visioning and business planning for new ventures, to supporting strategic decision making and planning for existing organizations. We also help our clients improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their organizations.

We take a focused, data-driven approach in developing a clear understanding of available strategic options and their consequences. We have no set “product toolkit” and tailor our approach to meet each client’s specific needs, however, our work typically includes interviews, quantitative analysis, web-based surveys and external benchmarking.

Visioning and business planning for new ventures

  • Visioning
  • Business plan development

Strategic planning for ongoing concerns

  • Retreat / board facilitation
  • Strategic decision support
  • Strategic plan development

Improving organizational effectiveness and efficiency

  • Organization design
  • Organizational effectiveness
  • Public / private partnerships

Recent Projects

  • For a major university: We facilitated visioning and business plan development for a successful new bioengineering institute. A major university …Learn more
  • For a comprehensive cancer center: We developed a vision and plan for a new $50 million annual state fund for …Learn more
  • For a new statewide school system: We developed a business plan for prospective donors. A new statewide school system was being designed …Learn more
  • For a leading university: We facilitated academic planning for a new campus focused on interdisciplinary science and engineering. A leading …Learn more
  • For a top medical school: We helped lay the groundwork for the first new department in 20 years. A leading medical …Learn more

Recent Projects

  • For a leading academic medical center: We facilitated an institution-wide strategic planning effort, across the research, clinical, education and community missions. A …Learn more
  • For a K-12 independent school: We developed a comprehensive five-year strategic plan for the institution. An independent school was facing a …Learn more
  • For a major medical school: We developed an institution-wide strategic plan to achieve its vision of becoming the nation’s leading …Learn more
  • For an international scientific society: We updated the mission (and mission statement) and developed a five-year strategic plan. A scientific society …Learn more
  • For a high-performing charter school: We evaluated the need for, and feasibility of, adding a high school to its current …Learn more

Recent Projects

  • For a leading venture philanthropy fund: We assessed the charter investment funds’ progress in meeting objectives in three major U.S. markets. A venture …Learn more
  • For a newly-established disease foundation: We helped design and establish a unique organizational model for fostering collaboration in autism research. A …Learn more
  • For an academic health-care system: We facilitated the work of a high-level commission charged with reviewing and revising policies relating …Learn more
  • For a disease-based research institute: We assessed the organization and developed a plan to ensure it was well positioned to …Learn more
  • For an online education start-up: We evaluated options for maximizing the value of an internally developed online K-12 science curriculum …Learn more

Who we work with

Our clients include preeminent institutions in academic biomedicine and education. We work directly with the senior leaders (e.g., President, Provost, Executive Director, Dean, Head of School) and Boards of these organizations.


Academic biomedicine

  • Academic medical centers
  • Disease foundations
  • Medical schools
  • Research institutes
  • Scientific societies


  • Charter schools
  • Colleges & universities
  • Education technology
  • Funders
  • Independent schools

Representative Clients

  • American Physiological Society
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Autism Consortium
  • Belmont Day School
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Belmont Day School
  • Boston Children's Hospital
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT
  • Brown Medical School
  • Buckingham, Browne & Nichols School
  • Cure Alzheimer's Fund
  • Derby Academy
  • The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
  • Excel Academy Charter School
  • Florida Department of Health
  • Food Allergy Research and Education, Inc
  • Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH)
  • Genetics Society of America
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology
  • Harvard University
  • Institute of Medicine of the National Academies
  • Maimonides School
  • Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative
  • Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • MGH Institute of Health Professions
  • Milton Academy
  • Neighborhood House Charter School
  • NewSchools Venture Fund
  • Park Street School
  • Parkinson's Foundation
  • Partners HealthCare
  • Pioneer Charter School of Science
  • PowerMyLearning
  • The Red Sox Foundation and MGH Home Base Program
  • Regis College
  • Rice University
  • The Russell Berrie Foundation
  • Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Boston
  • University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
  • University of North Carolina School of Medicine
  • UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Washington
  • UP Education Network
  • Wyss Institute for Biologically-Inspired Engineering
  • Yale Cancer Center