After a career spanning politics and the classroom, Head of Investigations at the Competition Commission of Mauritius dipped his toe in online study
By Serpil Senelmis
Sudesh Puran works at the Competition Commission in Mauritius, the island country which lies east of Madagascar and the south-east African coast. He’s currently leading the investigative team which looks into abuse of dominance cases and the conduct of market studies. Despite his high-profile position, Mr Puran was motivated to enrol in the online Graduate Diploma in Global Competition and Consumer Law (GCCL) at the University of Melbourne (UoM), as he was keen to learn about the application of competition law in other jurisdictions.
“I want to have a deeper understanding of case law and its application, which would be of direct relevance to my work at the Commission. I also wish to have the insight of participants from other jurisdictions on various competition issues.”
Prior to joining the Competition Commission, Mr Puran worked as an economist at the Mauritius Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. He’s also taught economics at secondary and tertiary level. Throughout his impressive career, Mr Puran has consistently furthered his education. After completing a Bachelor in Economics at the University of Mauritius, he went on to be awarded the Master of Economics and Econometrics from the University of Nottingham in the UK. Along the way he’s also taken short courses in competition law and economics – but this is his first foray into online study.
What led Mr Puran down the path of online education for the first time was a desire to study a course that could help him “to have a more legalistic perspective of looking at competition issues and which could enable (him) to undertake more robust competition assessment that can stand legal challenges.”
When it came to be deciding where to study “the choice was straight forward,” says Mr Puran.
“There are not many, if any, university programs on competition law which are offered online. This online program enables scheduled interaction with faculty members through webinars and discussion boards.”
“The faculty members involved in devising the program and teaching the modules are expert in the field of competition law and policy, some having long experience working in competition law enforcement. I found that the University of Melbourne (UoM) program was well-designed and offered a more pragmatic and flexible approach to learning competition law,” he adds.
Despite having travelled the world previously as a student and more recently in a professional capacity, such as attending the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in 2015, studying outside of Mauritius was not an option for Mr Puran.
“Competition law is not offered locally and travelling abroad would not be possible for me. Thus, this UoM online program offered the possibility to work, enjoy my family life and study for professional advancement.”
For the past 8 years Mr Puran has worked on several competition cases and market studies related to the banking, telecommunications, construction and FMCG sectors. He’s also conducted an impact assessment of the Commission’s first abuse case into the supply of block processed cheese. Despite his extensive experience, Mr Puran says online study has bridged gaps in his knowledge.
“Online study provides me with tools and a better perspective to approach competition cases which I am handling at the Commission. For example, now I am more inclined to use case law to support competition assessment than previously.”
For the time poor father-of-three, full-time study would have been an impossible feat – had it not been for the UoM GCCL program – given Mr Puran’s numerous work and personal commitments. He says, “During the day, I am fully taken up with the Commission’s work and in the evening with the family. I dedicate my free time at nights and during the weekends to study.”
This online course has allowed me to acquire a prestigious academic qualification from a world class university for my professional development, which otherwise would not have been possible. It’s provided me with convenience and flexibility to study for a post-graduate qualification despite my professional and social commitments.
Other than the flexibility and convenience of online study, Mr Puran explains that the point-of-difference of the GCCL program is the connectivity you feel with the other students and academics, which he explains combats any feeling of isolation.
“Distance learning would have been difficult for me, as it lacks the interaction which this online course provides.”
“I have been enjoying the quizzes, which provide the opportunity to test the knowledge acquired through the reading materials. The webinars are very helpful, as is face-to-face interaction with tutors and fellow participants, which helps me to better understand concepts and facilitate learning,” he adds.
While Mr Puran hasn’t had to invest financially to complete this qualification – as he is being sponsored by the Commission – he has devoted himself heavily from a personal perspective.
“I had to make a personal decision to sacrifice my off-work scarce hours. From that perspective, I would say that the professional enrichment more than outweighs the investment in terms of time and effort.”
But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Mr Puran says at times being a full-time student can be challenging.
“It has been very demanding to keep pace with the scheduled reading slots, participate in the discussion boards and webinars and at the same time to submit the written assignment.”
Despite being tested from time to time, Mr Puran has nothing but praise for the GCCL program.
“The program offers excellent reading materials and case references. The quizzes and exercises are challenging and encourage thorough review of the course materials. The tutors, who are expert in the field, provide excellent coaching and provide their insight on the various topics. I would say the quality of the online learning has been excellent.”
“I find the academics and teaching experts to be very accessible – (they) try their best to facilitate our learning experience so that we get the maximum out of this program. I believe that the course has been designed in such a way which helps students who are not exposed to competition assessment to have a better grasp of the subject matter as well as for those who are practitioners to challenge and improve their understanding and knowledge,” he adds.
At the completion of his Graduate Diploma in Global Competition and Consumer Law Mr Puran has no doubt in his mind that the qualification will be “helpful for (his) career advancement.”
“Successful completion of this post-graduate diploma will provide for an attestation of my knowledge and competence in the field of competition law enforcement.”
When it comes to endorsing the program for others, there isn’t even a hint of hesitation from Mr Puran.
“I would certainly recommend this program to anyone looking to gain knowledge of competition law and practitioners who wish to enhance their knowledge and application of the subject matter. The program, developed by world-leading experts, guarantees professional development through convenient and flexible mode of learning.”
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