How the 1973 batch of IIM-Ahmedabad students Anil Somani established a business school that offers 100% placements

Anil Somani

Know How Anil Somani and his 7 IIM-A batchmates established FOSTIIMA that presently offers 100% placements FOSTIIMA- Delhi offering IIM-level curricula and passing on its legacy to IIM graduates

Welcome to this exclusive interview with Mr. Anil Somani, the esteemed Executive Chairman of FOSTIIMA Business School.

With a distinguished career spanning decades in the realm of education and business, Mr. Somani has been a driving force behind FOSTIIMA’s rise to prominence as a leading business institution.

As a visionary leader, his insights and innovative approach have not only shaped the future of the institution but have also left a lasting impact on countless aspiring business professionals.

In this candid conversation, we delve into Mr. Somani’s journey, his views on the evolving landscape of business education, and the ethos that has fueled FOSTIIMA’s continuous growth and success.

Join us as we gain invaluable knowledge and inspiration from the wisdom of this esteemed entrepreneur and educator.

Mr. Anil Somani established FOSTIIMA Business School in 2007 with his seven IIM-Ahmedabad batchmates of the 1973 batch.

The objective behind is providing the IIM atmosphere with a quality management education benchmark to students who have not been able to make it to IIM due to their financial circumstances or for any other reason.

He also served as the MP Chambers of Commerce & Industries’ Vice-President and headed numerous trade delegations to the Central Ministries on important economic problems.

He started his career with The Times of India Group as a Management Trainee and worked with them for a short span of 4 years of which the last one year was in New York USA.

The business school has a track record of 100% placement even during the worst economic phases including the pandemic era.

FOSTIIMA also offers dual specialization to its students with equal weightage that benefits during their career path, in case they wish to switch careers profiles in future.

Every faculty member of the institution is an IIM graduate. Meantime, To maintain the level of education with the sole purpose of “giving back to society”, the academia has been passing on its legacy since it was founded, not to their families but to only IIM graduates.

Can you provide us with an overview of FOSTIIMA Business School and its mission in the field of education?

Anil Somani: FOSTIIMA delivers all-inclusive, contemporary, cutting-edge educational services. We equip the prospective managers with skills to tackle the problems of the industry by establishing high standards for education, ethics, integrity, and discipline.

By adhering to and sustaining such high standards, we enable the aspiring managers to acquire a global perspective.

Additionally, we also foster in our students a spirit of teamwork, a better workplace environment, personal development, and effective interpersonal relationships.

We established FOSTIIMA Business School in 2007. FOSTIIMA is a group effort by the alumni of IIM-A batch 1973. FOSTIIMA is an acronym for “Friends Of Seventy Three Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.” Our mission is to pay back to society. We also encourage students and faculty interaction, along with active learning, develop reciprocity and co-operation among students.

We are accepted today as one of the finest PGDM educational institutes in Delhi NCR.

What inspired you to establish the institution and what was your vision behind it?

Students relocate to foreign countries for better educational exposure and job opportunities.  India somehow ranks low in professional opportunities due to lack of diverse course options and  skill based training.

To ensure an enriching and invaluable experience for management training and profession, we established FOSTIIMA to give a great environment to upcoming professionals in the industry.

Our goal is to foster a sense of cooperation in students, an enriching work environment, encourage personality development, and successful interpersonal communication.

Our mission is to provide comprehensive, inclusive, modern, and futuristic educational services. We also strive to help all of our students have successful careers by developing them into future leaders and visionaries.

How does FOSTIIMA Business School differentiate itself from other business schools in India? What unique features or programs does it offer to students?

Anil Somani: What differentiates FOSTIIMA from other Business Schools is the IIM-A ethos it provides.Consequently,every year our students get  placement offers from multiple companies that enable them to choose the best offers..

With a 96% placement rate for our MBA class of 2022, FOSTIIMA recorded the highest and average salaries of INR 25 LPA and INR 9.4 LPA.

We at FOSTIIMA make strenuous efforts to keep our students updated with the latest trends and technologies which are important for their future endeavors. We offer dual specialization courses which enables them to work in various sectors across the industry.

In what ways does FOSTIIMA Business School prepare students for the dynamic and rapidly changing business landscape? Can you highlight any specific initiatives or curriculum enhancements that align with industry trends?

Anil Somani: We have included Certification Courses in our PGDM program which are regularly updated  as per the industry demand—this ensures that our students are familiar with the current technologies and advancements.

The additional courses we offer currently include Python, Artificial Intelligence, Digital Forensic, Cyber Security, Six Sigma, and Big Data Analytics.

With the proper knowledge and training of these advanced technologies, the students are well prepared to step out in the competitive business world.

There are several curriculum enhancements that are provided at FOSTIIMA like Entrepreneurship Development Center to foster the necessary skills and knowledge to the students who are willing to build their startups.

We also provide team building and leadership camp, international exposure and educational trips to add an innovative flair to conventional learning..

FOSTIIMA Business School prides itself on its strong alumni network. How does the institution foster alumni engagement and facilitate connections between current students and alumni for mentorship and career opportunities?

Anil Somani: Many faculty members at FOSTIIMA are IIM graduates or have some connection with the IIMs. Ever since its formation, FOSTIIMA has been enriching the IIM-A ethos and extending its heritage. This is our way of “giving back to society”.

The IIM faculty thus imparts  to the new generation the information and expertise they have gained at these elite schools.

Today, more than 50 IIM alumni are actively contributing to FOSTIIMA in the areas of management, curriculum design, content development, and teaching.

A large number of IIM Ahmedabad alumni are employed by FOSTIIMA, making it the finest PGDM program  in Delhi-National Capital Region. Its vast faculty pool is drawn from alumni of IIM and IIT in addition to being founded and managed by IIMA alumni.

They bring to FOSTIIMA  their extensive corporate experiences, business perspectives, and industry’s best practices.

With the primary purpose of developing students to their full potential, the IIT and IIM trained faculty of FOSTIIMA make significant efforts to mentor students.

IIM/IIT grads lead more than 65% of corporate India. FOSTIIMA students are placed through our pan IIM/IIT Alumni Network at very handsome salaries.

Can you describe the teaching methodology employed at FOSTIIMA Business School? How does the institution balance theoretical knowledge with practical application to ensure students are well-prepared for real-world business challenges?

Anil Somani: In order to give the students a better learning experience, FOSTIIMA’s teaching technique combines both theoretical and practical approaches.

To ensure that the students are adequately equipped for dealing with business difficulties in the real world, academic understanding and practical application must be balanced.

At FOSTIIMA, we keep this balance through project-based learning, internships, work placements, and industry connections.

We regularly update our curriculum updates, simulations, and role-playing games. The holistic learning at FOSTIIMA covers learning inside the classrooms as well as learning outside the classrooms in addition to the extensive exposure to soft skills.

Educational institutions should achieve a balance between theoretical learning and real-world application, giving students the abilities and experiences needed to succeed in real-world business situations.

What role does industry collaboration play in the educational experience at FOSTIIMA Business School? How do you ensure that students have exposure to industry professionals and gain practical insights through internships and corporate partnerships?

Anil Somani: Industry collaborations play a vital role in the education experience as it provides on- field knowledge to the students. It also helps them learn the functioning of business models, structures and programs. We engage our students in international trips, HR activities, team building camps, workshops, industrial visits, etc.

We provide them with the best of practical and industry exposure to train them for their future challenges.

In your opinion, what are the key skills and attributes that are critical for success in the business world today? How does FOSTIIMA Business School cultivate and develop these skills in its students?

Anil Somani: While it is perfectly understandable that the students are excessively preoccupied with placements, our focus is on skills which will be with them for a lifetime.

The abilities that are developed in a business school transcend well beyond employment in the corporate world.

The key skills that we teach to the students at FOSTIIMA are developing strong work ethics, seeking out a mentor, effective communication, setting clear, achievable goals, and building a strong personal brand.

Imbibing these skills are crucial for the young professionals as in today’s competitive business world they face multiple challenges at every stage.These skills are what helps them to tackle the challenges and grow further in their careers.

We provide them a practical approach to learning and make sure that they get more case study exposure from our  IIM and IIT faculty. Our professionals share their experience and expertise with the students to train them with on-field skills.

What advice or insights would you offer to aspiring business students who are considering pursuing their education at FOSTIIMA Business School or any other institution?

Anil Somani: Irrespective of the business school you belong to,what matters is your hard work and dedication. If you are enrolling in a B-School, and want to achieve success, you should be clear in your mind about your career choice.

You should  be aware of your motivation, surround yourself with like-minded mates, look for a mentor, and expand your network.

Always be involved in improving your abilities. Never lose faith in yourself. Consider your own abilities realistically, comprehend the company’s philosophy, look at other young entrepreneurs’ success stories, and, most importantly, never quit.

Additionally, be sure to have a powerful pitch. If you’re serious about realizing your ambitions, you must learn this crucial talent. You must sell your vision of professionalism while also expressing your objectives.

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