Building Global Cohorts

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Karan Raturi, General Manager, North America at UpGrad joined the podcast to discuss the student and enrollment advantages of building global cohorts, especially in preparing students to compete in an increasingly global economy.

When we think about folks from othercountries, each bringing their own perspective to a classroom, whether it's in personor digital, I think there's an incredible about of value add. You're listeningto enrollment growth university from Helix Education, the best professional development podcast for highereducation leaders looking to grow enrollment at their college or university. Whether you're lookingfor fresh enrollment growth techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come tothe right place. Let's get into the show. Welcome back to enrollment growthuniversity, a proud member of the connect eedu podcast network. I'm Eric Olsonwith Helix Education and we're here today with car and Returne, general manager NorthAmerica at Upgrad. Car and welcome to the show. Thanks, Erik.Great to be here. Really excited to have you and talk with you todayabout the students and enrollment benefits of building global cohorts. Before we dig intothat, can you give the listeners a little bit of background on both Upgradand your will? They're certainly as you mentioned. I am car and Roturieand I am the general manager at Upgrad for North America, so largely responsiblefor the PNL of upgrads North American operations forming new university partnerships based in theUS and global distribution rights for those partnerships here in the US. So joinedUPGRAD early in March of this year and then it's been an adventurous four tofive months with them. I bet. I bet current to kick us offtoday. What are some of the student advantages of having a cohort of globalcitizens in their classroom? Sure you know, I've personally been a product of twothings. One is kind of growing up globally. So I've spent anumber of years of my life in India, the early years and so through elementaryschool in India and then spending the later half of my education here inthe US, and the change in perspectives...

...from that level has been tremendous inthe value edition is brought in my own life. And then, you know, off to college and Grad School. In both of those scenarios here inthe US, I was surrounded by students from all over the world sitting inthat classroom and I don't think I fully appreciated what that depth of diversity broughtto us in the way we solved our problems. And so when we thinkabout folks from other countries, each bringing their own perspective to a classroom,whether it's in person or digital. I think there's an incredible about of valueadd one of the easy examples that comes to mind is is, you know, we had up Brad. I have, you know, data science courses,machine learning courses. As part of that, there's a lot of problemsolving that you have to do in groups. There's a lot of mathematics that youhave to solve as part of that problem solving in groups and you justlearn the way mind work and the you know, some tips and tricks asto quick problem solving in quick mathematics that someone may have picked up, youknow, in the way they've grown up. And it's it. You know,you see it all the time within the US. Rights of few goto. If you're at a university here in the US, you might makefriends with the folks from the Midwest, from the south, from the WestCoast, and each brings their own diverse perspective. Now, if you takethat and amplify that times one hundred, now you're talking about folks from othercountries and each comes from their own culture. At Upgrad we have case studies thatare very tailor made to regions. So, you know, in theUS we might do a case study on Uber and we still have a globalcourt around that. In India we might do a case study around Ola,which is an Uber like service. In India we do door and Zomato,so because Avato is again a door competitor in in India. And it's interestingbecause they're sometimes they face the same challenges, sometimes they face different challenges and it'sinteresting to see a classroom off,...

...you know, students from thirty countriestry to solve the same problem. One I'd love to just talk about onewhich is like cash on delivery is as a huge component of delivery services inIndia. So imagine an Amazon delivery person coming to your home and requesting cashfor making that delivery. And you know, how do we solve for that?How do we build trust in the supply chain that delivery drivers are comingto your home and collecting cash and bringing it back to the office and soon so forth? And it's an awesome problem for someone who lives in acredit card world to try to solve as well. And that wouldn't happen ifyou weren't thinking about problems in a global perspective. It's super fascinating this thisconcept of the group dynamic benefits of globalization. So deloit did that study on cognitivediversity. This suggests having a diverse team and your work can increase companyinnovation by upwards to twenty percent, you imagined. You believe the same istrue for creating innovative discussion in the classroom as well. Yeah, it's adiverse perspectives increase innovation in all settings. And so again I would break itdown to the simplest of all settings, which is just a group of friends. And when you're sitting around, you know, a bonfire or whatever itmay be, you will find that folks that have the most interesting positions ontopics are often those that come from backgrounds most dissimilar to your own. Soyou know deloit's point of view. There is absolutely, I think, oninline with what we're seeing is as upgrond builds, these global coal courts.The diversity of thought in our class from online is is incredible and it decreasesover confidence. If you have ten folks kind of aligned on a point ofview, there's this perception that you're definitely going down the right path and youmight not try to optimize or you might not look at other opportunities and youmight miss some lowhanging fruit to do something even greater than sort of where you'reheaded. You know, this research has...

...been replicated in a variety of settings, including in, you know, in music, in work settings, andand what what is consistent is that bringing together perspectives that are not kind ofaligned, or cultural backgrounds or socioeconomic backgrounds that are different from each other andup creating the best outcomes because you're challenging each other. If you look atcultures in terms of kind of company cultures, right, so you look at someof the the top employers in the country today, they have cultures thatare known to be flat. So you know, folks that are new tothe organization are challenging senior leaders at the organization and that's accepted and even encouraged. In the same way, you can bring that point of view to globalizationand various cultures can start to challenge other cultures and then you end up witha work product, you end up with an output that is far greater inits complexity, maybe in its innovation, and I think that's where delay wasreally headed with with that research. How do you need to think about synchronousversus a synchronous learning when you have this globally diverse student cohort, all comingfrom different time zones and different life circumstances? So you know Eric already in theUS, if you go to you know reasonably get school, you haveprofessors that are largely sourced from all over the world. It's just the folksthat are the best in their field, and that's what we're trying to doit up bread, is just bring the best resources to teach the topics thatwe think are relevant for our learners. And so what we do know,however, is in the secondary research we've done, as well as in focusgroups with our own learners, what students of value is synchronous learning? SoI wouldn't so I don't, you know, stress too much about the fact thatyou know where our professors from. Are they being able to relate toeach of the the student population or student types in the in the individual cords? But what we look for, instance,...

...is are they leaders in the fieldand are they able to teach a case or teach a concept proficiently toa global student base? And so I am very much a proponent for ablended learning model, because part of the online experience is flexibility. So wedo have a synchronous, you know, learning pieces within all our coursework,but we believe we deliver immense value through the synchronous components and to deliver thatwe make sure that the professor that is associated with our program is top notchand then they are able to overcome any concerns that there may be, eventhough I'd say they're largely not justified concerns, but any concerns that might arise dueto like cultural differences within within the group. How do you think aboutscheduling and timing for those synchronous portions? Do you do set the time leaningtoward East versus West and you know, hope the the right students hopped inor or your surprised when other people avoid that? They don't seem to mindcoming in a midnight. No, no, you know, we've had an evolutionthere, Eric to be honest, and so we've gotten better and better. Right, so we're based in headquartered in India. We started delivering towardsthe the Indian population and it was difficult for American learners to join our Americanbusiness grew enough to justify sort of its own, you know, time zoneand delivery, and so we started resourcing and sourcing talent to to additionally delivera second live session for each of our top programs in US time zones,which again it spans four time zone. So we I'd say we've had anevolution. We went from India only to India and what we called international,which clearly isn't sufficient and it's so it's a big, big world out there. And then we further carved it up and now we have sort of adedicated sessions for India, India region, a pack, and then North America. As we've grown, we've felt that we have enough confidence to invest inadditional delivery for our North American learners and...

...we're continuing to get to get betterat that and refining it further so that each time zone is really accounted for. Is Not the easiest thing to do, but when you do it right andyou do it well and you stick to it, it's a huge onlockbecause at the end of the day, folks are taking online courses, oneof the biggest reasons, as we all know, is for flexibility and convenience, and so if you're going to use global cohorts and then not deliver itin a convenient fashion as per a working professionals timeline. You know their daysand their schedules, because these are folks. You know, our average learner isbetween twenty five and forty five years old, and if we're not makingit convenient for them that, you know, that takes away one of the bigvalue propositions of online learning. And so we are laser focused on nailingthat timing piece on delivery as well. So certain countries appear to be betterat this building global chords than others. For instance, you know that theUK has three times the number of international students enrolled in their online programs inthe US does. Why do you think American institutions are slight laggards here theGlobal Chord Game? Yeah, it's interesting because the the American universities, actuallywere ahead of the curve when it come when it came to going online.Right. So when we look at who went online first, it's US universities, no doubt about it. When we look at who went global first,it really seems to lean towards non American institutions. You know, part ofit, I think is is regulation, so making sure that we keep accreditationstandards high as we deliver these, you know, global courts. So thereare only a few players, to be completely honest with you, in theworld that, I think, can maintain the rigor can deal with the complianceand all of the facets required to take a US universities courses and deliver itto eighty five countries with confidence. And so of Grad as built the infrastructureto be able to do that, and...

...others, I'm sure have, butreally that's part of the concern. Is How do we make sure when it'sbeing delivered globally, that we maintain the standards we require? The second pieceof it, I think is, is Brandon Prestige. So I think there'sonly a few, you know, countries or regions in the world that haveuniversities that have global appeal, and the US is certainly the the home andthen the UK, I would say, and Europe more broadly have more institutionsas well that can be taken global. I think the US has felt thatthe market size in the US and the name recognition, the tradeoff that wouldcome from going global and allowing a arge student population abroad to enter their programsmight be in conflict or might harm them in the US in some way,and I think the UK and European institutions have been a little bit more willingto to examine that and see if that's how it plays out. And theUS universities that have kind of gone down that path have actually had the oppositeexperience. So what we find is when you go online and when you goglobal, there is a halo effect and you actually get more on campus applicationsas well. So folks get to know of your brand abroad. So ifyou're working with up Brad and we're marketing you for one of your online coursesin India, all of a sudden you're going to see a spike in oncampus applications from Indian students as well. And so we're actually seeing that theuniversities that are most willing to partner and go global are not only not goingto have that detrimental effect of brand erosion in the US, but instead you'regoing to have not only maybe this this sort of the same brand standing,but an influx of potential enrollments but also applications coming from around the world.Yeah, coming from the marketing in the enrollment side. The idea of youcan get students room anywhere is really, really exciting and then it seeks inkstandup like, Oh man, I have to target students everywhere. Now whatare the marketing and enrollment advantages and disadvantages...

...of trying to build class as acrossthe Global Student Base? Yeah, so I may be touched. I'll touchon the potential disadvantage. That I think is relatively small because we've gone throughthis process now a few times and it's just making sure that a university,when you look to an online partner, that they are not just you know, a lot of OPM's, a a lot of online partners will talk aboutmaintaining right identity, making sure your marketing is inline and getting approvals and soon. So for that that actually I don't think it's the difficult part.The difficult part comes in the delivery of your coursework and making sure that whensomeone in France, when someone in the UK takes a course from a universityin New York or Florida or wherever it is, they're getting an experience thatis in line with the standards and expectations of that university and the student experienceisn't compromised in a way that is against the values and principles or the uniquekind of marketing values that that that university wants the student to experience. I'dsay that's like the risk, not more so than a disadvantage, but it's, I think, completely offset by the marketing advantages of going global and thetwo that are obvious, I think, our speed and scale. So whenwe talk about speed, today universities have the ability to partner and sign onecontract and distribute their online coursework and with with a partner taking sort of fullmaketing responsibility and risk with the signature on one contract, and I think that'sunprecedented. You know, largely universities look at one partner for the US,then they might slowly expand and test something in South America, pull back ifit's not sticking, so on so forth. And certainly prior to that they wereactually building campuses around the world. There certainly no need for that anymore. But they can take a graduate program that has a hundred students, professorsare willing to, you know, work with an online player to take thatprogram global and all of a sudden that...

...coursework that is that that return ona professor's time is now amplified by fifty because you can take that, youknow, one hundred sort of student enrollment and make it, you know,a thousand or five hundred or Greater. Right up Grad is graduated eighty fivehundred masters in data science students over the last nine months and that has beendone at the same level at which our partner institutions would want admission standards tobe, you know, for in person attendance. So without compromising quality.I think you can see scale. There are, you know, north ofseven billion people on the planet and there are qualified students all over the worldand the universities that provide that access are going to be long term winners.Car great stuff. Any final next steps? Of Vice pro institutions listening, consideringthe student and enrollment benefits of creating global courts for their online campuses.Where should they start? You know, I'd say look internally, look internallyenrollment, look at programs that you think have global and mass appeal. Thinkabout your own values and philosophies on access. We are big proponents of democratizing educationand then, you know, evaluate the market place. You know there'splenty of folks out there that are looking to partner with the universities and canprovide global courts for their their current courses or new courses that haven't been exploredyet. And so I think, I think it's all about initiative. Wemeet with universities all the time and just what differs between them is willingness tolook internally, be introspective, think about where opportunities lie and then scout apartner that speaks your language, just, you know, someone you can putyour trust in with the brand if your university, and then someone who canprovide the scale and to the ambition levels that you know you, you asa university administrator, are looking to achieve...

...with your enrollment, with your academicrigor and so on so forth. So that would be my guidance to anyuniversity administrator who is debating creating global courts current. Thank you so much foryour time today. What's the best place for listeners to connect with you oryour team with they have any follow up questions? Sure, yeah, I'dlove to connect with with anyone who would like my my email address is carendot Roturi at upgradcom and my my phone number is for zero, four,five one. Eight, eight, one, two, four. More than happyto network and connect and discuss the potential of building global cords. Awesomecarent, thanks so much for joining us today. Thank you, Eric.Attracting today's new post traditional learners means adopting new enrollment strategies. Helix educations datadriven, enterprise wide approach to enrollment growth is uniquely helping colleges and universities thrivein this new education landscape, and Helix has just published the second edition oftheir enrollment growth playbook with fifty percent brand new content on how institutions can solvetoday's most pressing enrollment growth challenges, downloaded today for free at Helix educationcoms playbook. You've been listening to enrollment growth university from Helix Education. To ensure thatyou never miss an episode, subscribe to the shown itunes or your favorite podcastplayer. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (231)