Making the most of your Management Education: Ms Usha Subramaniam – Chief People Officer, Grundfos

Have you ever imagined that “Alice in wonderland” could teach us the most important lessons in life? If you have not, you should meet Ms. Usha Subramaniam. A one hour discussion with her can actually encourage you to question yourself about the decisions you make in life.

Ms. Usha Subramaniam is the Chief People Officer at Grundfos Pumps India Pvt. Ltd. She leads the People & Strategy function for Grundfos in the Indian subcontinent. Her key responsibilities include strategy, process implementation and delivery responsibility in the areas of Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Talent Development, Leadership Development and Organizational Capability Building.

I find it remarkable that she still lectures with such high energy and a great sense of humor although she has twenty years of experience in people management (which can be mentally exhausting).
To hold the attention of the audience is quite a challenging task. This is a skill not many possess these days. During Ms. Usha’s session I noticed that even the most restless person in class (me) was fixed to the chair and eager to listen to what she had to say. I learnt that we have to know our strengths but we should know our weaknesses better. I also understood how effective communicators make people listen and not just hear. With Ms. Usha this was more of a practical lesson than a theoretical perspective .

Although the topic of us being the “quick fix” generation raised a healthy debate in the le
cture hall, it was taken positively by the students. Not only did Ms. Usha highlight the shortcomings of today’s generation, she also gave us remedies like hard work, honesty, self-discipline and gave us solutions on how to fix it. The Stalwart in HR also explained to us about the importance of having a dream. We realized that without having a dream it is difficult or impossible to obtain success.

One can only get inspired by such a strong individual as our guest speaker. On the topic of social pressure, she was very clear that one should never lose his/her individuality. She strongly believed that one can still be successful without being in the “rat-race”. Hearing this from such a successful person with enormous knowledge in people management, one can only be encouraged to be strong and clear in the decisions they make.
I would like to conclude saying that I agree with the term “Experience speaks”. Some of the things you learn here will change your DNA and enable you to think positively and ethically.

Finally coming back to “Alice in wonderland”, Alice asks the rabbit where the burrow leads to, the rabbit asks her where she wanted to go, Alice replies saying that she did not know….. The rabbit then says then if you don’t know where to go… It doesn’t matter where the burrow leads to. After this short story I was sure that everyone sitting in that room realized how important it is to have a clear vision and the know how to achieve it.

We thank Ms. Usha Subramaniam for this wake up call and we from Chennai Business School hope to meet her often.

Arjun Bargav, Summer Batch 2015-16

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Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam: A tribute!!!!

Dr. A. P. J Abdul KalamI was in my 8th grade and that was the time when I started to like politics. That was primarily because of my father and grandfather’s influence. Ever since Mr. Vajpayee came to power, I was fascinated by the coalition politics.

In our school we had this special prayer on 2nd Saturdays and our principal or the director would address us on key moral or social issues. For an 8th grader that was a boring affair. However, one day our Director, an ex-serviceman and a passionate orator started “Students, I’m very happy today”. He said that in his bold and passionate way. “India is moving forward and I’m happy that you will have India’s best president ever”. That was the week when Mr. Vajpayee’s coalition government had announced to confer Bharat Ratna to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s and candidature for presidency. Furthermore, our director cited one of the speeches of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Wow, that was truly inspiring. The entire day I was dreaming of how it will be for India after Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam takes charge as the President. Our director also asked the students to contribute for the Kargil War Fund. I was indeed very happy, not just because of the speech he gave but for giving me a hope that I can cut few classes for the good cause.
In the subsequent weeks all magazines carried the profile of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and I read them all. I was very happy and proud reading those articles. And when he took the oath as the president; he had some 100 school students among the audience. His speeches were mostly about education, students, dream and honesty. Until today; I do not know any leader giving so much importance to any of the above mentioned subjects. Then, there was a news going around on how he entered into Rashtrapathi Bhavan with just one suitcase; my respect for him grew another 100 bounds.

He always wanted to inspire the youth of the nation. He wanted us to dream. He wanted us to achieve. He was the first non-political President (and probably the last). He was and will be the “People’s President” always.
I am quoting one of my friends message after hearing the sudden demise of Dr. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

“Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam – My Inspiration and Aspiration. I met him in person in Hyderabad Airport before he became our country’s first citizen. He created such an impact in my mind by his simplicity, humility, clarity and the whole idea that a VIP can be so accessible. For me he is the greatest gift for mankind. Absolutely someone who transcended politics, nationality, religion, language, race, caste, time and history. One and Only! Tears filled with Pride!”

He was giving this lecture in Shillong about “Livable Planet” where he proved to the students that, you need not be physically alive to Live in this planet.

Bharat Ratna Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam; Sir you are my hero, and you will be my hero forever. You showed me how to dream and how to achieve it. You may not be physically here. But, you will live in this planet forever SIR.

It takes a lot to be Dr. Abdul Kalam. RIP – Return if possible.

— S. Chandramouleeswaran, Summer Batch 2015-16

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POTENTIAL CAREERS IN NEW-AGE ORGANISATIONS: Mr. Deepak Subramanian, Founder & CEO – E Helium

Mr. Deepak started his speech by enlightening the emergence of ecommerce by correlating how the experience in various domain help in the Ecommerce industry. He gave the example of Flipkart.

He then spokMr. Deepak @ Chennai Business Schoole about various entrepreneurship and recent startup companies like Micromax, Flipkart, Unicorn and Zoho. He shared information about Unicorn that it crosses valuation in billion dollars. And Zoho being a self-funded firm and takes no funds from its share holders.

He suggested that one should not take impulsive decisions while choosing a career. He shared his own experience on recruitment. Once he went to a prestigious management institution in Chennai for recruitment. He was shocked that none registered for the interview. This perhaps made him realize that people only go by the brand name. He also enumerated the advantages of working in a startup firm like getting due recognition and the ample learning experience.

He moved his discussion on HR consulting. He gave examples on the real time HR consulting firms in Chennai such as Totus & Mercer. He added up saying that they take up assignments and use strategic HR policies to complete the same. He also recommended the students who opted for HR as specialization to work as a team & explore the available HR opportunities. The important points he highlighted during the discussion were:
• The students of PGDM (IIMs) go after the companies whom they want to get hired.
• We should focus on the companies where we want to work and invite them for lectures.

Students also have the responsibility to work towards placements. One must know the real trend of the market. For that we should start reading newspapers.

He took us to 1960’s and gave a picture on the life style at that time. During those days people wanted to settle down taking up government jobs, however survival was still a problem. This notion is still carried by the current generation and are trying for government jobs. Mr. Deepak made us understand clearly how we should choose our career and one should never take an impulsive decision.

We thank Mr. Deepak for motivating us to build a successful career.

– Suresh R, Summer Batch 2015-16

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PERSONALITY PLUS: Mr Ramakrishnan, Chief Mentor – Color Homes

Mr. Ramakrishnan

“A person, who is not a part of the problem, is a problem himself” were the words of Mr. Ramakrishnan.
Mr. Ramky (We fondly call him) is a chartered accountant by profession, and has worked in leadership capacities in Finance and Operations. His experience led him to author two books ‘I need growth (2011)’ and ‘You can become a complete manager (2003)’.

The session began with a story set in America, taking racial discrimination as the backdrop. Content is all that matters and not the external appearance was the crux of this story. After this Mr. Ramky moved on to talk about different stages of life. Depending upon each stage What, How and where we study is important. How we apply those concepts we studied in real life also plays a key role. To highlight the importance of communication he quoted saying that “Knowledge without communication fetch us nothing” was quoted. AHA which was expanded as ‘Always happy to aspire’, was bought in as the title of his speech.

‘One can think a solution to the problem only if he is happy’. The ideal mix for life is 90% happiness and 10 % challenges. During hard times it is the 90% which would help a person think of a solution. Having said that, Mr. Ramky mentioned that phone call is always a precursor before sending a mail to someone, as this would enrich people to people relationships and avoid problems.

He then spoke about the distinction between Intelligent Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ). “No matter in which stage of life you are, there are always partnerships”, he said quoting examples of relationships and cricket. ‘CEO- Chief Energising Officer’, was a new paradigm bought out by Mr. Ramky, to explain energy. He said throughout the day a professional ought to be energetic and such a professional wouldn’t face the overly hyped ‘Monday morning blues’. He moved to say that it is not advisable for people to switch jobs very often and advised those present, if a need arises to do new jobs, look for openings in the same company they are working for.

Four quadrants of work:
1st quadrant – People are motivated but not efficient,
2nd quadrant – People are Motivated and efficient,
3rd quadrant – People are efficient and not motivated
4th quadrant – People are neither effective nor motivated.

He highlighted that the 2nd quadrant is the right place for any working professional to be in. “Others might always not be there to motivate you”, was another interesting statement made by Mr. Ramky. He said this to elaborate on self motivation.

The session moved onto address the other managerial aspect, problem solving skill. The importance of honesty was explained and in that process he christened another name for CBS calling it the ‘Character Building School’. Appreciation, power of influencing and courage were explained with interesting examples. One of the “To Do” list for everyone should be to spend at least 5 minutes in silence.

A good employee is someone who really looks to work without worrying about the credits. He quoted this to explain who a good worker is and went on to talk about being a good boss. He concluded his session by advising students, never to give up on ideas. ‘Don’t hold back the ideas, after all everything happen through various innovations’.

We thank Mr. Ramakrishnan for sharing with us such inspiring thoughts. The entire session was enriching and empowering and motivated us to look at various aspects of personality building.

— S. Chandramouleeswaran, Summer Batch 2015-16

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