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Monday, April 16, 2001

Take an IT swig at these pubs
By Peeyush Agnihotri

GLOBSYN Technologies, that hopes to garner Rs 4.9 crore profit this financial year ending June 30, may not be a very big IT-firm but it certainly is rich in ideas. It is the same company that had introduced the concept of "finishing schools" way back in 1995 when the IT industry was still in diapers.

Bikram DasguptaMr Bikram Dasgupta, CEO, Globsyn Technologies, was in the region last week to inaugurate three knowledge pubs—another bright idea from the company that has partnerships with Microsoft, Smartforce and Sylvan Prometric.

The concept of knowledge pubs lends a thrust to the paradigm that IT education in the future will not be one mode of learning but a combination of Web-based, instructor-led and computer-based modes of learning. The pub lends an informal touch to IT learning, otherwise a serious subject.

Would IT-learning then be such a "walk-in" concept and how is the company going to be different from the rest of the run-of-the-mill computer academies?

"It’s not a matter of my Oracle being better than yours. Knowledge pubs are not here to sell coffee more than knowledge," Dasgupta remarked smugly before settling down to have a question and answer session with Log in… Tribune.


Q. With dot.com companies going bust almost daily, do you think the online learning concept has really taken off in India?

No. It has not. No matter how many PCs you sell, PC penetration is just 1.6 per cent in India. This just shows how inaccessible are computers to a common man. Even in the developed countries like the USA, this has not taken off. Still, Web-based learning has its place despite dot.com companies going bust. Nothing is substituting anything. Learning cannot be in one single way and one has to learn IT in different modes.

Q. Various courses are being offered by different institutes. How far are they relevant in the present context and how do you stand out?

Computer academies have, of late, created hoopla and huge expectations about IT courses. They promise to take the student to the USA and paint a rosy picture. Our programs have built-in managerial modules to equip a professional with business acumen. Our focus is to take a student to a certain level of specialisation. We started with two-and-a-half acres in Kolkata. Today, we have 11 centres across the country and our YSMs (Young Software Managers), who enter the "Techno-campus" programme only after a rigorous entrance exam, are "better than the best."

Q. How do your students compete with the MBAiites and IIT graduates in the job market?

Frankly they won’t be able to compete with IITians. Let’s be clear on that. But then the world is not IIT only. People need IT education of every level. We are educating the employable segment.

Q. C-DAC, a government-run and recognised institute, offers similar course modules for Rs 55,000. Why is Globsyn offering the course (Techno-campus) for Rs 85,000?

C-DAC is doing a good job but it is only a technology model. YSM is a technology-management model wherein technology, application engineering and management are rolled into the various modules that comprise the course. If you are in service management business, you should know how to manage people. In the present world, just learning technology is not enough. We also have to learn to apply it.

Q. Rs 85,000 is a lot of money. Are educational loans available to pursue these courses?

Yes. HDFC, HSBC, Central Bank, Punjab and Sindh Bank provide such loans. In fact, we have a tie-up with other banks, too. And look at the salary that a YSM commands. He can earn Rs 1.8 to 2.8 lakh per annum, which means that he gets his money back within five months of employment.

Q. What future does this region in general hold for your knowledge pubs?

Great. Though we had opened a centre in South Extension, Delhi, yet this (Chandigarh) is one place where I think we would be able to hit the market fast. That is why we have opened three pubs at one go and plan to have another two within the next two months in this region. I am excited. Knowledge pubs have a bright future here.

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