Helping colleges in placement through training programmes: So far journey of FACE

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After graduating for  IIM Kozhikode in 2007 Rajesh and Venkat had worked for Citibank and consulting firm Deloitte. While they were working for multinationals, the duo had strong bent towards entrepreneurship. They used to meet and discuss thousands of ideas along with a few other friends, always waiting for the big idea to take the plunge. And then, as fate would undoubtedly have a say, they found themselves in adjacent hospital beds after a (serendipitous) road accident, the perfect time to contemplate on their paths and to dream about where they lead to.That was where they decided to desert their professional stint and take the plunge with their startup FACE. Initially FACE (Focus Academy for Career Enhancement) challenged the nation-wide renowned CAT training centers like TIME and IMS in their own game. Though, it was not part of the FACE’s eventual bread and butter, they still gave the nation-leaders a run for their money in certain regions.

How the idea sparked?

“Well, the idea did not occur overnight. Neither was it amongst the better (seemingly) few to occur in the shower. One thing was certain; it had to be in the education space, a sector which both Rajesh and I were innately passionate about,” says Venkat. The duo started off by coaching MBA aspirants for the CAT which was an extremely competitive market with well established national players in the fray. Things took to a turn for the better when one of the new colleges in the region approached them with the request for training their students in order to enable them to get recruited successfully. “We realized that we were looking at a golden opportunity (which we conservatively estimated to be a 200 million dollar opportunity later) as there were no organized players in the market who was delivering such a service – employability/ placement training for higher education institutes,” adds Venkat.

Traction and USP

Since its inception in December 2008, Face has come a long way in a short span. Currently, the company is market leaders (numero uno) in this space with the largest team of trainers in India offering employability/ placement training programs for students and corporates. “As of now we have trained over 5,50,000 students from over 400+ educational institutions which includes reputed colleges like IIT, Madras to colleges in rural areas in interior AP and TN. In fact, we were a part of a world record at VIT university, a client college of ours where Cognizant made 1820 offers in a single campus,” says Venkat. It also empanelled with some of India’s largest recruiters including Cognizant and Wipro. Started in Coimbatore the company has now presence in 5 cities - Chennai, Bangalore,Hyderabad and Mumbai. It also has an onsite delivery model with regional offices acting as hubs and catering to colleges in a 500 km vicinity.

FACE helps colleges especially in the areas of problem solving, communication, analytical ability etc. It ties up with colleges to supplement the knowledge based education with skill improvement education. The company has team of over 150 trainers who are trained by the duo through a ripple effect who travel to the colleges and train students as part of the regular curriculum. FACE does not operate with freelance trainers and all trainers are full time associates. It has dedicated in house technology arm which integrates technology based educational aids, online testing tools etc into training processes.

Challenges

Many private sector run educational institutions are run for tax evasion purposes or as money making business. The sector does not attract the best professionals and the brightest minds. As a result, many individuals and small time operators lobby with the management and deliver very poor quality training services. “Colleges wake up only in the final stages at the time of placements when they suddenly expect students to get through the campus recruitment process when they have not been provided with quality education and skills upgradation for 4 years,” adds Venkat. Usually private engineering colleges recruit people who have not been able to get jobs in the industry or the bottom of the class as lecturers when ideally it should be the other way around.

Future plan

FACE is fairly well set in the four southern states and now its eyeing to tap Western and Central region of the country. “While we have delivered engagements in the past in the NCR, we plan to soon set up a fully operational base there. In addition, we have successfully piloted alternative delivery models through use of technology in some of our client colleges,” says Venkat. The company will be using alternative delivery model to facilitate its exponential growth and over time replace conventional brick and mortar training delivery system. Besides this FACE also launched a service called Hirefromcollege which is a full service portal to solve the entry level talent needs of organizations.

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