Indians to refine business skills at ‘finishing schools’

MUMBAI, August 9, 2009 (AFP) – The traditional image of finishing schools is of the Swiss Alps, where elegant young ladies from well-to-do families learn to walk, talk and make conversation before entering polite society. Now India is looking to the model for the three million or so graduates it produces every year to refine the skills they need to succeed in business and give the country a sharper edge in the global marketplace.

The “finishing schools” in Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore are to open later this year, as part of a two-million-dollar project by the Indian School of Integrated Learning (ISIL) and British training firm Speak First.

“The finishing school is taking graduates and anyone else of that academic level through a programme which will give them all the skills that a business could possibly want,” Speak First’s Amanda Vickers told AFP in Mumbai.

“A lot of people (in India) are academically really well qualified, very bright and intelligent, all the things that most businesses want. But where there is a gap is in the skills that you need to succeed in business.”

India has seen massive foreign investment into the likes of its IT, banking and outsourcing sectors, attracte