When you walk around the Bangalore campus of technology-outsourcing giant Wipro, something feels familiar . . . At lunchtime, young employees (average age: 27) swarm into cafeteria cliques, or stream into computer labs, or exit en masse from one three-story lecture hall into another. Oh, that’s right, it feels like college.So, the company that’s the poster child for outsourcing tech-support seems to be outsourcing education as well?
A span of buildings is devoted solely to education, with all the library, classroom, lab and lecture-hall trappings of a university. The expansive offerings, ranging from Japanese to advanced engineering, rival those of many universities in the United States. There are 300 professors on staff, who typically earn more than they would at Indian universities, and hundred more are “shared” with top local schools.And they've devoted a huge amount of resources to this? And the professors earn more than they would at a university?
“Today, we pick youngsters who aren’t fully trained, bring them to campus, and train them,” says Pratik Kumar, executive VP of human resources. “There is a minimum of 12 to 14 weeks in our methodologies, technical knowledge, and of course, languages and accents. Many employees study longer.”And all employees receive 12-14 weeks of paid training when they start? Sort of like life-long learning?
After introductory classes . . . most employees are enrolled in mandatory development training . . . The second track is voluntary graduate-level coursework, such as Friday and Saturday MBA programs and training in computer skills, leadership, and management. . . . The courses, says Sreekala Ramamurthy, a former university professor and Wipro’s general manager of talent transformation, are a way to limit job jumpers.And after that initial 12-14 weeks, they continue to get on-going education and training, with an option for even more advanced training? And they have a position titled, “General Manager of Talent Transformation?”
The Bangalore campus gets 350 new employees every Monday; all need at least 45 full-time school days before they become billable employees . . . “We have the physical space for up to 5,000, but the bigger issues is how to scale the faculty to that number of students,” says Ramamurthy. She points out the two-way video cameras in an auditorium, which connect to the Chennai campus, so professors can teach twice as many students. She then nods to small room across the hall. “That’s a professor’s studio, where he can teach eight or nine centers at once.” Student-teacher ratio: not a priority at Wipro University.And they’re trying to figure out how to scale it?
Hmmm. General Manager of Talent Transformation . . .