My blogposts

Apple University is Apple’s internal training centre, visualized in that distinct style that only Apple can. A look at how it works, and what it can teach B-Schools. Here.

What I found interesting in Higher Ed

Bertelsmann, Europe’s biggest media co (rev ~ €16b / $17b) is buying a controlling stake in Alliant International University, to enter the University space. Purchase figures were not available. It is acquiring its stake in Alliant through Arist, a subsidiary, and wants to make Alliant part of a system of health and human science universities. Bertelsmann is aggressively pursuing its higher ed plans, attracted by the 30%+ margins the sector has, and is targeting a €1b education business by 2017. About 6 months back, it purchased Relias Learning, a U.S. based e-learning co for $540m. It is also committing a ‘nine-figure sum’ as anchor investor in University Ventures Fund II, probably the only PE fund focussed on higher ed, having tasted blood with the previous fund.  (Bertelsmann moves into university business)


A slightly breathless take on how Coursera is partnering with corporates such as Google, Instagram etc to co-creating a capstone project. This project concludes a sequenced set of 7-10 courses offered by a partner University and leads to the student awarded a Specialization (or a Microdegree as some term it). Examples include DataScience specialization in partnership with Johns Hopkins (Captstone with Swiftkey) and the Interaction Design specialization with UC San Diego (Capstone with Instagram). These specializations are paid-for programs, typically $500. Udacity has something similar called NanoDegrees.

Two forces are at play

  1. Corporates – the likes of Google, Instagram etc are becoming accreditors for MOOCs (as opposed to traditional higher ed regulators in U.S. such as NEASC / WASC / ABET etc)
  2. A business model in MOOCs is emerging. The courses themselves are free, but any certification such as Signature Track or sequencing pathways such as Specializations / Nanodegrees are charged. The data is free but metadata will be priced

(How Google and Coursera may upend the traditional college degree)


On the topic of MOOCs, this blogpost by University Ventures Fund (the same one mentioned earlier) is worth a read. Tl;Dr – MOOCs are at present designed for the 30-60 year-olds, not the 17-21 year-olds. The likes of Udemy are pointing the way to appeal to the youtube generation. (That Voodoo That MOOCs Do)


As U.S. top schools get more and more selective, alumni who help out with interviews and recommend students are getting frustrated as their recommendations get rejected. It is interesting how U.S. schools leverage their alums. In India, I think only ISB attempts to leverage its alumni network this way. (Ivy League Alumni Quit Admissions Interviews as Success Slips)


An ET story on IIM-A and how it is being reshaped. Some interesting factoids. (1) It took AM Naik as many as 35 meetings with government officials to convince them to ratify Ashish Nanda’s appointment and bring in the country’s first Dean of an IIT / IIM from abroad. (2) Also fascinating is how Ashish Nanda is trying to enhance diversity (96% of the 2014 batch were Engineers) in IIM-A, by getting toppers from Arts, Sciences and Medicine to be called directly for the Written Analysis and Personal Interviews Round, instead of being eliminated in the Common Aptitude Test. (How AM Naik is re-shaping IIM-A in his second term)


National Law University Mumbai, a boutique law college promoted by the Govt of India will start accepting students from July 2015, at its Jogeshwari campus. They will start with 60 students in the integrated 5-yr BALLB program. NLU Mumbai will benefit from its presence in India’s financial hub, but I do feel that the legal education space is getting crowded, and we might see a repeat of what is happening with MBA providers soon. Am also surprised why NLU Mumbai wants to run with its own entrance exam instead of riding on the popular CLAT.
(NLU Mumbai to begin classes this year).


Nothing major for higher education as far as the Indian Budget is concerned. Still, do say hello to IIT Dhanbad, the news name of Indian school of Mines, as well as the to-be founded IIT Karnataka and a slew of new IIITs, IIMs and AIIMSes. (More AIIMS, IIT and IIMs, Announces Finance Minister Jaitley.)

Other articles I enjoyed reading
This rather long New Yorker profile on Jonathan Ive, Apple’s Chief Designer is certainly worth a read. Link.