In this Rule Breaker Investing podcast, Motley Fool co-founder David Gardner picks another set of five stocks he recommends putting in your portfolio, this time with the expectation that they'll be outperforming three or more years from now.
His theme du jour: Companies that offer you and instead of or, because David is not a fan of the trade-off mentality. In his view, most of the time, you can have your cake and eat it, too. And these five companies exemplify that philosophy.
The final company on his list is education facilitator 2U (NASDAQ:TWOU), which sets up systems that enable distance learners to attend high-quality, four-year universities online.
A full transcript follows the video.
This was recorded on Nov. 22, 2017.
David Gardner: Our final stock for this five-stock sampler for this edition of Rule Breaker Investing. Let me ask you... which do you think is the better model for higher education going forward? Bricks and mortar or online learning? And this is a tough one because we've watched the internet disrupt bricks and mortar -- disrupt how society works -- in so many different industries and applications over the course of the last 20 years. So many different ways that the internet has changed how we do business and how we live today.
But one of the few bastions, one of the few strongholds to prevent any kind of, it seems, strongly meaningful internet disruption has been higher education. And when you consider that [in] higher education, typically tuition rates have been rising something like 3%-7% annually for a couple of decades now, it seems unsustainable. It doesn't seem possible that we can keep paying how much we're already paying for tuitions, especially for private colleges these days. But even for public colleges, it doesn't seem that that can continue, so you'd think, at some point, the internet will disrupt higher education.
But then you go to an SEC football game, as I did a few months ago. Or you walk around a beautiful, vibrant campus. I bet you have one, or maybe more than one at least within 50 miles surrounding you somewhere in this world. And you walk around a campus like that and you're like, "How could the internet ever take this away? The camaraderie? The spirit? The face-to-face? The learning? How could this experience of attending an American university for four years... how could that be replaced by the internet?"
And here's the thing. You don't necessarily have to frame it up as just one or the other, because stock No. 5 is 2U. The ticker symbol is TWOU. This is a company that is enabling people, distance learners, to attend these four-year universities, but doing so online.
2U contracts with some of the better-known, more esteemed colleges and universities of our time, often looking at graduate schools, as well. 2U enables people who couldn't attend Berkeley, or Georgetown University, or University of North Carolina business school -- who couldn't attend because they don't live anywhere near those places or just didn't have the time necessary -- by putting a camera in that classroom and enrolling you in that course, and having you pay tuition just like you are a student, but through distance. Through distance learning.
And so 2U's business model basically partners with these institutions, usually for 10-year periods. It partners with them and says, "Hey, we're going to bring you even more students than you presently have, and we'll split the tuition. We'll take some, you take some. We're going to bring you new students." More people are getting educated. It doesn't have to be that it's just bricks and mortar, or just an online university. It turns out -- thanks to the work of CEO Chip Paucek and his company -- it turns out you can do both.
And I'm not suggesting that's an ultimate answer, or that's the endgame for higher education. I think Chip Paucek, the CEO, would be the first to say, "Let's see how it all evolves." But again, we're not talking about certainties, here. We're talking about avoiding the trade-off mentality. That's how I started talking this week, and that's how I'm closing it down.