Nurturing budding talents

Abiding by the name, TalentSprint took just a year to sprint to success after its inception in late December 2008. With a unique line of business to create high-quality industry professionals for IT and BFSI sectors in particular, this nascent firm managed to provide 90% placement and achieved a turnover of Rs 1 crore in the very first year. Be it IBM or Max New York Life or Accenture, the company’s students are placed in most large corporations.

Expecting Rs 5 crore turnover in 2010-11, Santanu Paul, CEO and MD of TalentSprint, in an exclusive interview with Bizxchange spoke about the company’s target to transform around 2.5 lakh college graduates into skilled professionals serving IT, banking and services sectors in the next 10 years. Following are the other vital excerpts of the interview:

Share with us the idea behind setting up TalentSprint?
TalentSprint was born out of the passion and determination to create a model that would focus on providing pre-recruitment training modules offering two-way benefit. While catering to the potential social unrest arising out of unemployment of college graduates especially from semi-urban and rural India, the model would simultaneously facilitate companies to save considerably in terms of time and money.

What were the initial bottlenecks?
“A common notion among candidates is entry-level training rests with the employer,” says Dr Paul. So gaining acceptance from college graduates for an industrial training module was the biggest bottleneck. However, we managed to enrol 1,000 students in the very first year and gave placements to 900.

In this regard, I would like to mention that a company spends around Rs 2 lakh on an average to train a single entry-level graduate. According to NASSCOM, an IT firm incurs an annual expenditure of nearly Rs 3 crore for entry-level training. With markets maturing after a prolonged lull, companies, small players in particular, have become conscious of the huge expenditure related to this segment and quite obviously are not keen to spend, consequently opening abundant opportunities for companies like TalentSprint.

According to you mention the company’s biggest strength that helped scaling up the business?
Credit goes to our world-class leadership team, who love the idea of training and mentoring young graduates. With an average rich industry experience of 10-12 years, our 35-member management team is one of the best in the industry.

The company’s learning programmes focus on practical training suitable for workplace. So, tell us the benefits an SME can enjoy if it forms professional tie-up with TalentSprint?
A professional tie-up will enable us to act as a shared campus for SMEs that are not willing to spend on entry-level training yet hire high-quality professionals with thorough knowledge in technology, domain and communication skills. Moreover, partnering with us will help them save close to 80% of the training cost, simultaneously providing them with employees who enjoy a higher productivity level as against other entry-level graduates.

Mention the key lessons that you would love to share with a start-up entrepreneur.
Before embarking on any business, a start-up entrepreneur should have high-degree clarity on 3 Ws—who would buy its products/services, why would they buy and what would they buy. In addition, he should focus on building a team of like-minded skilled professionals from the initial days and never ever be a control freak. Strict attention to managing costs is another area that requires continuous emphasis for a start-up firm.

What significant changes do you perceive for the Indian employment industry over the foreseeable future?
Over the coming 10 years, the Indian IT sector would require around 5.3 million incremental professionals and there would be a need for 4.2 million incremental BFSI professionals. This reflects a huge demand for professionals. Unfortunately, the supply of people with right skill sets is likely to be low and this demand-supply gap is expected to widen, if we do not check on the number of accredited colleges that can grant degrees.

On the global front, India can take advantage of its large younger population base in the next 20-30 years to come as most countries across the world are marching towards an ageing population. These call for a massive creation of talent to cater to the huge domestic as well as international market demand.

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