This paper discusses concepts of a 20 kVA power converter design and key differences between discrete IGBT and module-based design approaches. Module-based power converters have been typically employed in academic and research institutes for power levels of 10 kVA and more. However, with advancement in IGBT technologies and the growing need to minimize system size and weight, designs based on discrete devices are now an attractive alternative for such power levels. A simple procedure is presented for power converter design that includes power loss evaluation, heat-sink thermal characterization, thermal model of overall system and sizing of DC link capacitor. Using the same, a state-of-the-art discrete device and modulebased power converters are designed. A comparison is subsequently made, where it is shown that discrete approach yields a compact and economic design up to a power level of 20 kVA. A key objective of this work is to lay emphasis on laboratory design of power converters. This enables a graduate level student to build a converter from start and in the process gain insights into the underlying engineering design aspects.