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It was during his international immersion programme at London, as part of the PGPEX (Executive MBA) at IIM Calcutta, that Naveen Nitesh, Co-Founder, Director and CEO of UNICOM Learning, first met Prof Gautam Mitra, Distinguished Professor at Brunel University, with whom he started the company in India. While working in the IT/ITeS industry for over eight years, Naveen witnessed fast changing technologies and management styles in companies to meet demanding business and customer requirements. However, executives had limited time to upgrade their skills. Naveen observed how professionals from other countries shared knowledge while networking with peers and domain experts through workshops and conferences.

UNICOM currently runs more than 150 knowledge conferences and 100+ workshops in nine countries, and has built communities around Software Testing, Agile, Big Data, Cloud, Mobility, Internet of Things, Business Development, HR and Chief Experience Officers (CXO). Close to 10,000 professionals attend these conferences and training programmnes every year. They have worked with 90 per cent of the Fortune 1000 companies (list of top companies as indexed by Fortune magazine), and more than 100 companies actively use their B2B platform. UNICOM Learning’s research division continuously identifies new and emerging verticals with high industry demand to conduct knowledge forums, conferences, olympiad, seminars and summits that bring global knowledge to accelerate the career growth of IT professionals. The Conferences range from `7,500 to `12,000, with 50 per cent discount for students and academicians.

Naveen started his career in retail banking and cards processing at ANZ, where he learnt how a business was run. He left ANZ after five years to lead a business in Tescoretail chain, working across Bangalore and Los Angeles. After his one-year programme at IIM Calcutta, Nitesh joined IBM, doing market research and consulting for a large European Bank. However, he says, it was merely Project Management under the guise of Consulting. Within a year into the job, he joined Prof Mitra in setting up UNICOM Learning in 2009.

“While doing the market entry strategy, I realised that the training market is not disciplined and is largely driven by freelance trainers or risk-averse individuals who were running it like a lifestyle business. There was a huge scope for professional and standardised programs,” explains Naveen. He had Prof Ashok Banerjee, renowned Finance professor from IIM Calcutta, as a mentor, to address the early stage dilemmas. His Co-Founder, Prof Mitra not only committed initial seed funding, but also gave him a free hand with the company.

Naveen believes that sports has been a big contributor to developing his personality and confidence, apart from team work and ethics while achieving targets. He says it also helps one understand that you are not a loser even if you lose a few games, because perseverance and hard work can teach one to win. Naveen enjoys travelling and exploring cuisines of different nationalities, and has an interest in history and traditions of other cultures. He is currently writing a book on management.