Exclusive Conversation:Dinesh Singh, Director,Sunstone B-School

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885248_572382026114697_108775369_oSunstone Business School (www.sunstone.in) is a leading specialized Management School for working professionals in technology industry that has restructured the learning experience for working professionals in India through its Problem Based curriculum and collaborative learning platform. We have some conversation with Mr. Dinesh Singh, Director, Student Engagement regarding the school’s vision and plans. Dinesh is a graduate from IIT Kanpur and MBA from Cornell University.

What was the idea behind starting Sunstone Business School?

We all come from industry and we saw two contradicting forces at work. In the industry, the value of business skills is going up. Everyone is expected to understand more about customers, profitability and so on. On the other hand, MBA as a product is increasingly under scrutony. People accuse it of being too pricey, too theoretical, too irrelevant, too academic etc. We felt there is a need to re-imagine MBA as a product and started Sunstone Business School.

Please brief us about your B-School?

In our quest to re-imagning MBA, we have adopted a pedagogy that has some fundamentally different tenets.

We follow an agile MBA approach that allows students to complete the program in 3 distinct levels. This helps students pace it as per theuir needs.

 We follow a problem-based learning approach in which the entire focus is on experiencing problem-solving and learning in that context.

We recruit faculty more from industry who act as coach to students vs. traditional lecturers.

We have seen significnat success over the last 3 years and are excited to taking this pedagogy to different products.

How Sunstone is able to address the need for learning rather than need for degrees?

Learning outcomes are an output of pedagogy, curriculum and faculty. We have innovated in all 3 areas. While our pedagogy is problem bases, our curriculum draws heavily from contemporary industry and our faculty is more business-people acting as coaches. These result in strong learning outcomes for our students.

What is the Sunstone Business School differentiating factor?

Being born out of an industry need, we are strongly differentiated. Whether its our focus on more experienced professionals, our innovative use of technology professionals, our use of industry coaches, the problem-based pedagogy, they all differentiate us from any other school.

Your views on current MBA education system in India?

Unfortunately, the contemporary MBA is increasingly under scrutiny. People accuse it of being too theoretical, too pricey and too academic. The regulatory framework as encourages people with access to cheap real estate and ability to get accreditations to start schools. However, I think the landscape is fast changing. Institutes are under tremendous pressure and have to find their own identity and focus rather than just selling accreditations.

What is your idea on young graduates quitting campus placement and going for entrepreneurship?

Being an entrepreneur out of school myself, I am a huge supporter of entrepreneurship at an early age. However, while we have some great success stories globally, I would encourage most students and try and complete their course work once they have gotten into it. Entrepreneurship is a tough journey, and its good to have more in your armoury.

What is your future plan?

We are experimenting with different areas we can take our pedagogy into. We are running free open courses (MOOC’s), paid short courses, expanding geographically (we are now pan-India) and also getting into campuses through collaboration.

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Amisha Singh

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