This paper compares the design thinking approaches of three groups of student-designers: industrial design and architecture undergraduates, and design PhD candidates. Participants responded to an open-ended design brief, working individually. Upon submission of their designs they were debriefed about their design processes. We compare the groups based on their submissions and self-reported design activities, especially the sequence of their design activities and the time allotted to them. There were some commonalities and differences between the two undergraduate groups but the main differences were between the two undergraduates and the PhD students. On the basis of the findings we pose questions regarding design methods in the era of 'design thinking' wherein designers are required to adopt an entrepreneurial frame of mind.