February 01, 2001 | The Republic, Columbus, Indiana

TCS begins training program in the United States

Tata Consultancy Services chose Columbus for its first US-based training program for university graduates.

TCS, a worldwide information technology, or IT, and management consulting company which employs about 50 consultants in Columbus, hopes to train as many as 100 employees by the end of the year, said S. Neethi, head of TCS' training faculty.

Three graduates of the University of Wisconsin began their induction training Jan. 22. "The training schedule is rigorous," Neethi said.

During the first four weeks, new employees learn the basics of the software engineering process. They also are required to perform assignments on weekends and participate in case studies, classroom lectures, group discussions and project work.

The program also includes training in areas such as software development process, systems engineering, requirements engineering, Internet technology and object technology.

Prasad, whose parents are from India, said Tata is as well known there as General Electric is in the United States. He wanted to get into the consulting business when TCS conducted interviews at the University of Wisconsin. "It was a good fit," he said. His training will be completed in three weeks, after which he will be assigned clients and will move to Oregon.

TCS chose Columbus for the first training center in the United States because it is not so cosmopolitan as other TCS sites and presents "few distractions." Neethi also was impressed with the "environment of learning" that Columbus provides, along with its "friendly people."

The city is ideal for new employees to focus on their studies, Neethi said. Prasad said the workload, with nightly and weekend assignments, leaves little time for "distractions." The next goal for TCS is to be able to train 30 employees at any given time, Neethi said.

TCS announced in December 1999 that it chose Columbus as its only site in the United States to have a software development branch and a research and development division. "Training IT professionals has always been our strength," said Arup Gupta, president of TCS America.

The company's Corporate Training Center in Trivandrum, India, can train up to 700 engineers at a time.

Brooke Tuttle, president of Columbus Economic Development Board, toured the facility last year. "It's impressive," he said, calling it similar to a college campus. He said the local TCS training facility will help Columbus with economic development efforts.

Companies looking for a North American presence will consider Columbus more seriously because of the presence of the training center of a world-class company, Tuttle said. "That will help Columbus immeasurably."

TCS employees also could decide to stay in Columbus and start new businesses, which would increase the city's information technology sector. "It's just a lead-in for the future," agreed Mayor Fred Armstrong. "What an opportunity."

TCS spends more than 6 percent of its $500 million in annual revenues on training new employees. "Our ultimate goal is to set up similar facilities in the U.S. to develop local talent," Gupta said.