DQI Bureau
New Update

He took over Aptech in troubled times, when the company was undergoing a

demerger into two separate entities, and when the industry itself was just

beginning to feel the pinch of the slowdown. Viewed in this backdrop, his

performance has been credible. And to top it, he has a global strategy with

which he plans to hunt on new ground and

come out winner…


The magic mix for the IT training industry in these times, given that the

peak season for registrations is over and this has been the worst year so far…

In a way, the year’s not been all bad. There are lots of smaller players

that have downed shutters over the past few months, or consolidated operations.

As far as Aptech is concerned, quality and placements should improve next year,

given that the number of players in the market would be fewer. The IT industry

is still growing at a healthy 30%, as charted out by Nasscom, clearly, IT is

still a great career option. I expect the turnaround to happen by April next

year. Our reading is that sentiment has already turned around to some extent.

We’ve been charting out a gameplan over the last few months and a lot of work has

already been put in… the results will be seen soon

Slowdown in registrations, and Aptech’s global initiatives…

Overseas, training is more corporate-centric and depends on budgets, and

therefore, the industry has taken a hit. In India, there’s a different

scenario altogether. Internationally, we have done very well over the last nine

months and today, we have 225 centers in 45 countries. Altogether 15% of our

training revenues come from overseas. We have 53 centers and 10,000 students in

China alone. In this backdrop, our international operations have not been

impacted too much, except for Indonesia and Malaysia, which never really were

our focus areas.


Registrations at Aptech, impact on revenues, forecasts and future


Sure, we are feeling an overall pinch, and are down 40%, but who isn’t? But

like I said, there is already a slight improvement that’s visible.

Any dilution in selection and eligibility criteria for high-end courses…

There’s no question of bending eligibility norms to get in more students.

Simply put, high-end courses are tough, and recruitment without tests won’t

work anyway, as any student given an easy entry would be out pretty soon as he

won’t clear first set of exams within six months. But yes, the story is

different in the elementary courses, where anyone can apply and be admitted.

Of late, there’s been a spate of tieups and agreements involving Aptech

recently. Targeted strategy behind this, or triggered by the need to find newer

revenue sources…


When it comes to charting out a strategy, we are looking at a five-year time-frame, up until 2005. What’s happening now is merely an aberration

Our demerger into two separate entities–one dealing in softweare and the

other in IT training–is almost through, and with this, my focus on the

training business has to increase manifold. This is the only business that I

will be managing directly and we can hedge our risks.

When there’s only one business to manage and all the eggs are in one

basket, the advantage is that management focus on that business increases. Also,

the target is to emerge as a stronger training organization over the next month

itself. And I could chant outnumbers, but what does the customer want at the end

of the day anyway–value… size and numbers don’t really matter. Last

quarter, we were placing 130 students per day, against 100 in the beginning of

the year. The jobs we are finding for them are wide-ranging–both in the IT

industry and otherwise. Depending on the eligibility and the suitability of the

students, we place them in different courses. Also, we are seeing a huge

increase in demand for multimedia courses, where Arena Multimedia, our

subsidiary, comes in. Multimedia is growing fast, and Aptech is the only IT

training company in the country offering these courses. The demand is from

various segments–advertising, publishing, Web designing, interior designing,

films, graphic visualizing, and so much more…


Targeted focus for the coming year…

We are looking at a five-year time-frame for our strategy, culminating in

2005. What is happening today is only an aberration. We have been charting out a

strategy over the last few months and a lot of work has been put in… you

should see the results soon. The vision that we have is that we want to become a

global corporation and a world-class organization. We want market leadership in

all the segments and geographies that we function in. We need to focus all our

systems and processes towards this and benchmark them against the competition.

We should be through with this process by June 2001.

Ours is a three-pronged strategy, and all of our three businesses are being

developed as global businesses to contend with –retail education, multimedia

education and corporate training.