Founded in 1925, the Stanford Graduate School of Business (Stanford GSB) is one of the world’s most famous business schools and has an illustrious history behind it. Among its distinguished alumni are names such as President John F. Kennedy, Phil Knight, Mukesh Ambani, Mary Barra, and Laurene Powell Jobs. The school is also among the most selective in the world, and has the luxury of admitting only about 6% of applicants in a given year thanks to the credibility lent by its unparalleled academic experience.
Having recognised that written cases and printed tomes on leadership would quickly become obsolete in a digital-first world, professors at Stanford GSB began to think of better ways to teach tomorrow’s leaders. This led to the creation of the Leadership in Focus program, which offers users from around the world anytime access to a curated and well-structured repository of videos, case studies, teaching and learning resources. The program was envisioned as a purely online experience, and was targeted at busy professionals. Since initial research suggested that off-the-shelf solutions would be a poor fit, Stanford GSB asked us if we could come up with something better.
A cutting edge e-learning experience
Using web-friendly, scalable technologies and tools such as Django and Amazon AWS, we engineered the Leadership in Focus e-learning portal with an eye to the future. Our teams collaborated with the business school to design interactive videos, teaching notes, video case studies and capstone projects so that learners could study and test themselves at their own pace. Each online module was organised into easily digestible 20-30 minute chunks while exclusive content such as interviews with business leaders were also embedded thoughtfully so as to augment the overall learning experience.
Since the portal would serve as the primary source of reference for learners from the world over, we didn’t forget to build in discussion forums and other features that enable individual reflection, so that what is learned in the virtual classroom can be understood clearly and conceptually.
We also paid attention to Stanford GSB’s enterprise clientele who contribute significantly to the school’s revenues. This led to the implementation of features such as Single Sign On which allow the platform to be connected to corporate intranets.
The choice of the best
Our involvement in this project led to outsized results, particularly when it came to user adoption. Today, Leadership in Focus is used by 50 other business schools, nearly 800 global universities, Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and even the US military.