Let me start with a somewhat historical view and consider how the higher education sector has evolved. Compared to today, higher education’s earlier purpose and role in society seemed rather straightforward. For centuries it was the business of a few top institutions that prepared their students for a life as the elite in society: in ‘the good old days’ you belonged to an elite if you made it to a prestigious college or university. This equipped you with some of the knowledge necessary for one of the traditional professions (law, medicine, the army and the church). No less important was the social side of university life: it helped you to make friends who would become instrumental in your career after academia. You therefore often had a job waiting for you at the end of your academic career, furthermore in your own country – in contrast to today – because, in most cases, there was no pressure to work in a number of different places or even abroad. Life then was clearly mapped out for the few and appears to have been a lot more clear-cut than it is today (Rudy 1984 ).