Aiming for perfection

Written by Malabika Sarkar | Malabika Sarkar | Updated: Apr 12 2010, 03:37am hrs
After a mechanical engineering degree from IIT Delhi in 1986, Dinesh Kumar Goel had a fair share of opportunity to establish himself with a renowned multinational company, but for him, success did not mean merely a degree.

Says the founder and chairman of FIITJEE, I hated the idea of working abroad, and in India, even the best of MNCs paid pittance at that time. I wanted to be an entrepreneur and set up a school, as I had taught poor children in NSS projects. I even taught at Delhi Public School, RK Puram. However, I had little money and starting IIT-JEE coaching was a huge goal. But in 1992, I was successful in setting up the institute.

Like any other start-ups, initial days were tough for Goel too. Unlike today, project finance to a new entrepreneur for service industry projects did not exist. Teachers engaged in IIT-JEE coaching were not competent enough to solve new IIT-JEE level problems and he had to rely on fresh IIT graduates. However, slowly, a big pool of faculty was developed for FIITJEE.

Says Goel, FIITJEE has been a blessed organisation. By 2002, it reached a position where I did not have a day- to- day role. This allowed me to focus on mentoring FIITJEE, its people and students in a different and more creative way.

Goel claims that what FIITJEE offers is different from other institutes. The difference is in our dedication, intent and value system. We have two types of programmes. One, after the school coaching and the other is integrated school programmes, which dont have a profit motive.

At FIITJEE, the batches commence from the first week of April and every batch has 20-50 students. All the candidates have to crack the entrance test in order to get admission. The institute claims that nearly 40% of the students entering IITs have received coaching from them.

FIITJEE has 46 centres across 25 cities in the country. Besides touching every aspect of IIT-JEE and engineering coaching, the company is aggressively planning to set up schools and colleges too. It is also widely known for its school-linked programmes, integrating school teaching and coaching. The institute has tied up with over 30 schools. However, they did not divulge any expansion plans.

Talking about investment plans, Goel says last year, Matrix Partners India invested Rs 100 crore as the sole investor in the first round of funding of FIITJEE. As I said, our aspiration is to build the leading education company in India. We were fortunate to have significant interest in our financing requirements from the private equity community, but concluded that Matrix Partners India, with its understanding of the education sector and calibre of its people, was the best partner for FIITJEE, he says.

Rishi Navani, cofounder and managing director, Matrix India, returns the sentiment: The engineering coaching market is huge. In my opinion, FIITJEE is the market leader in the coaching space and it follows a scalable business model. The quality, size and growth of the opportunity attracted us the most to invest in FIITJEE.

Challenges are something that every business has to face and the coaching industry needs no introduction to it. The coaching industry needs cleaning up by the government. It has some of the finest educational entrepreneurs and the government can definitely harness their potential for the good of the country. Many IIT toppers have shrugged offers from top MNCs to join FIITJEE, shares Goel. He expects that in the next four-five years, FIITJEE will be one of the best brands in formal education in India. His mantra to make it big is: Success is easy, lets keep it simple.

Perfection is making the best efforts within the constraints of space, time and resources.