Sunstone Eduversity has been making rapid strides and spreading its footprint across India. It is one of the first universities to offer the pay after placement model and embracing industry-oriented learning. Ashish Munjal, Co-founder & CEO, Sunstone Eduversity speaks to T P Venu on the innovative programs the Eduversity offers and its growth plans.
1. What does the term “Eduversity” convey?
Sunstone works on an asset-light model, wherein we partner with leading campuses across India to provide students best educational infrastructure across key education hubs.
Secondly, we are constantly growing and evolving higher education provider, partnering with b- schools, universities & colleges, both in Indian landscape & internationally, we can be deemed as an eduversity.
2. How is the ‘pay after placement’ working? How many students have been placed?
The pay after placement fee structure is one of our best features as it allows students to mitigate the high cost of a management degree with zero financial risks. Students pay for their postgraduate education only when they earn. This removes the financial burden on the family and makes students financially independent. Despite the decelerating economy, Sunstone has been able to identify positively affected growth sectors like education, e-commerce, fin-tech etc. and we were able to provide several job opportunities to our students in these sectors. So far, we have placed 600+ students, with many still completing their internships. Being quick on our feet and thoughts during the Covid-19, we at Sunstone offer our students the opportunity to engage in multiple internships online to provide them with real-world exposure.
3. We understand that Sunstone Eduversity is branching out across India. Tell us about the journey.
Our journey so far has been quite a ride. Piyush & I, are passionate entrepreneurs who were new to the education industry, have been trying to make an impact in the higher education space. The first year we began with a mere 3 colleges and have since grown to 20 campuses across 16 cities covering all key educational hubs. With our plug & play model, we have ensured a consistent educational infrastructure to all the deserving students, despite their geographical location.
Countering that we are currently at 20 campuses in 16 cities, soon to become 25 campuses in the next three months, and 100+ campuses by 2026.
4. What are the changes you initiated in the MBA, BBA and PGDM programs keeping in mind the ongoing pandemic?
Traditional b-schools have been teaching the same theoretical concepts for ages, but at Sunstone Eduversity, we have industry-oriented learning at the top priority of our educational curriculum. Along with industry experts & seasoned academicians, we curate & regularly update the curriculum to stay on top of the industry trends & requirements while training our students.
This makes them job-ready from day 1 at the corporate, which we call “Fresher with Experience” training. Also, tech is at the heart of all our initiatives at Sunstone, thus enabling students with the centralized learning opportunities, as well monitor the L&D curve of each student.
For training, we introduced 9-month job training, as compared to the traditional 6-month approach, along with 1500+ hours of learning sessions dedicated to each student.
Many of our students could pursue dual internships, skill-specific qualifications and micro certifications during this spell by saving travel time and working in the interstices. Apart from introducing 10 days of global immersion into our management programs, we have also conducted several workshops, conclaves, webinars, training boot camps etc where students are facilitated to think critically and as a leader would in such an uncertain time.
5. Is Sunstone providing scholarships? If so, what is the extent and how do students apply?
Yes. We recently launched our second round of Sunstone Scholarship Test for achievers. We have introduced scholarships upto INR 2 crores this time to help & encourage deserving students. The first round was a huge success with over Rs 52 Lakh combined scholarships given.
Students can apply for the Sunstone Scholarship Test through the same application process and can take the Sunstone Scholarship Test by enrolling themselves into a management program of their choice. Students can avail of the scholarship amount based on their performance on the scholarship test.
6. Reports suggest that in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic, placements have been good. How has it been at Sunstone?
Placements have been -outstanding this year. In the first month of placements itself, we got over 100 placements, with 24% of our students procuring a dual offer on the same day as the placement drive. This reflects well on the quantum of opportunities pouring into the Sunstone campuses in conjunction with the exceptional quality of the students. The job market this year picked up faster than anticipated.
Post pandemic, we saw a number of changes in the placement process, including the type of companies, roles and skills, as compared to the previous placement sessions. During this placement session, we had an assortment of companies in ed-tech, pharma, insurance, logistics, E-commerce and other sectors positively affected by the pandemic.
We witnessed a shift in roles, with increased hiring in the likes of digital marketing managers, data analysts, sales profiles, and E-commerce operation managers. The skills recruiters and companies sought out this year have also changed, where work-from-home skills, adaptability, proactiveness, agility and a positive attitude are being encouraged and honed at Sunstone. Our students have bagged offers as high as INR 10 LPA, with an average package of INR 4.5 LPA.
Not just placements, our current students have set a 150% internships record with many dual-internship offers.
7. How do you ensure that all students spread across the country get the same facilities?
Although we are spread across the country, all our students are tied together through similar experiences as a community, due to our tech-led learning resources With our plug-n-play model, Sunstone offers a standard, regularly updated, and industry-aligned curriculum at all our campuses. We use the world’s best transformational learning management system- CANVAS, for all end-to-end resources and learning needs. CANVAS is a content repository, driving technology-based learning and houses resources such as videos, presentations, quizzes, assignments, question banks, discussion boards. This helps us map the learning curve of each student & identify the improvement areas that our faculty addresses in one-to-one sessions. Apart from that, with classes being completely online, we have organised various inter-college activities, invited faculties and industry experts from leading corporations for guest lectures and given students a number of live projects to choose from.
8. Tell us about the global immersion MBA program. How is it different?
Sunstone’s global immersion program is truly global in all senses. It offers students a lifetime opportunity to gain a global perspective on business operations and learn from global leaders and top universities. No other B school in India offers a global immersion program with the option to choose from pay after placement and money-back guarantee fee structures. The global immersion program will enable students to gain unprecedented business exposure & confidence, by bringing together exclusive experiences, global industry experts and top companies. Sunstone is dedicated to providing associated students with an educational experience that will transform their mindset and career to take on any impending challenge in the future.
9. What are your plans for the future in terms of expansion and also introducing more courses?
Sunstone believes in steady expansion at an ever-growing pace. We have partnered with 20 campuses in 16 cities this year and by next year we plan to be in 25 cities with 40 partner campuses spread across every region of the country. This year we have also launched the Bachelors in Business Administration and the global immersion program that all our students from MBA/PGDM or BBA, can opt for. Next year we plan to launch the BCA & MCA programs.
10. Your advice to budding entrepreneurs?
My advice to budding entrepreneurs would be to always remember that success and entrepreneurship are a journey and not the destination. It is an expedition full of challenges that teaches you to overcome failures and transform them into successes by networking, facing your fears, and finding your passion. Money is just a by-product that will stem from the passion for your cause and venture. Find something that doesn’t feel like ‘work’ every morning, but excites you instead. Be consistent with your efforts and never lose focus. Your grit and focus are bound to actualise your dream into a reality.