When I joined FORE in 1993, it was relatively new, so I did a fair bit of research before I applied. I came to the campus, spoke with the senior batch of students and also checked out on the permanent and visiting faculty leaving thoroughly impressed.
The selection process even then was quite competitive. The ones who cleared the FORE entrance test that used to be held at that time had to face a tough GD and interview round. My Group Discussion session had around 16 people talking on the topic of “Are Public Sector Units White Elephants”. It was challenging to be heard in the din and also make meaningful points. Only half of us cleared the GD to reach the interview stage and we had an eminent panel headed by Prof. N K Singh (ex-chairman of Indian Airports Authority of India). He did take a rapid-fire stress interview, but luckily I managed to clear it and was really glad to see my name in the final selection list when the results came out a few days later.
Days at FORE were exciting, fun-filled and a huge learning experience. We made friends on the orientation day itself when a lot of parents also attended along with the students. There was a lot of bonhomie and close interaction among our entire FMG batch of Wave 2 as a lot of classes in the year one were held together in the auditorium. Most of our classmates are still in touch and we try and meet typically at FORE Alumni events.
Our batch was also lucky to have some of the best names in Industry coming in as guest faculty and speakers. I personally used to love the classes of Dr. J. K. Mitra who took Organisational Behaviour and was a visiting faculty who used to come from the Faculty of Management Studies, DU. Most of his classes had exercises that involved the entire class in various teams and made us think out of the box, helping us relate theoretical concepts with practical applications. Dr. Mitra later went on to become the Dean of FMS, DU. We also had eminent names like Prof. R. P. Billmoria who was the ex-chairman of SAIL, Indian Airlines and Public Enterprises Selection Board who taught us Industrial Relations. Apart from this list of eminent people whose interactions I still remember till this date and whose experiences helped me a lot in my Corporate life were Mr. T. N. Seshan, our Ex-Chief Election Commissioner, Mr. R C Bhargava Chairman Maruti Suzuki, Mr. Ashok Soota Co-Founder Mindtree among many others.
FORE laid a lot of emphasis on being professional. We were not only taught etiquettes in class but also constantly monitored so that we ingrained it in our day-to-day life. The various case studies, industry assignments, presentations, and tests kept us on our toes. A lot of us would study till 2 am at night only to be in the class by 9 am for the morning assembly and yoga sessions that used to be an integral part of the FORE in its initial years. The focus on Eastern Management concepts along with Yoga in the curriculum exposed our batch to a lot more than any ordinary management institute and helped us grow holistically. It also told us to be grounded and humble, values that go a long way and are unfortunately missing in many Corporate Leaders of today.
The experiences and learning’s at FORE stood me well in my entire corporate career. I must thank FORE for giving me opportunities to sit for placements in prestigious firms like Exide and ABB. I was finally selected at ABB as a Management Trainee thru campus in 1995 and went on to work in their various units across India. I was the only MT in my batch and the youngest person ever to be given independent charge as Head HR of a new joint venture company that ABB formed with the Birla group in Central India. This happened within 3 years of joining the company from Campus. At a formal dinner of our JV Company where the CEO’s of both companies were present one of our JV partners, Director asked me if I was from XLRI. Since FORE was new, not many had heard of it then and I took the opportunity to brief the entire top brass of both companies about FORE and how it was an upcoming management institute with excellent credentials. Going forward I always took the role of an ambassador for our Alma mater seriously. As Head – HR in a Business Unit in Daksh in 2002 I hired people in my HR team from FORE and later on in my own firm that I founded in 2004.
In FORE, our president at that time Prof. N K Singh encouraged all students to take on entrepreneurship at some point in time and be in a position to create jobs instead of looking for jobs. This stayed in the back of my mind and finally in 2004 I founded my own Executive Search Firm called “The Recruiters”. Here in my own little way, I have tried to contribute to help FORE Students and Alumni. Wherever possible, I help our Alumni find good corporate openings, Career Counseling them or wherever they set on the entrepreneurial path I offer guidance and our Executive Search and HR Consulting services at discounted rates. I have always tried to take out time whenever requested by FORE to come to the institute in various capacities, sometimes as a judge and sometimes as a speaker.
I do believe that by doing this I am not only helping the institution of FORE but myself as I am a product of FORE and if our institute scales new heights and our students do well, I would have reason to feel proud.
Days at FORE School of Management – By Shantanu Saha – Article for FORE newsletter, Published in FOREprint (Jan 2014).