Interview by Yash Panchal
Dr. Susen Varghese is currently positioned as the Director at Lexicon MILE Pune. She has a total work experience of more than 2.5 decades in industry and academics sectors. Her educational qualifications include PGDHRD, Master’s degree in Social Work and Ph.D. in Management (Human Resources). In the academic sector, she has served as Dean and Faculty, Chairperson and Core Faculty for Human Resources. She is a life member of Higher Education Forum. She is also an ‘Internationally Certified’ user of Thomas International’s Personal Profile Analysis.
Dr. Susen on what makes the education industry the best industry to work in
Venturing into Higher Management Education after a stint of a decade in senior HR positions in the corporate sector was a matter of choice. I feel it’s the best industry only because of teaching being a profession of ‘giving’ selflessly. A profession which shoulders the responsibility of shaping, sculpting, designing and nurturing the minds and value systems of the ‘Youth’ today who will run the country and world, for all of us tomorrow. The ‘SMILEs’ that the achievements of life bring, on the faces of the students, makes this profession, one of the most worthwhile ones around.
A systems-centric leadership style
A Leader is successful only when his team says, ‘we did it all on our own’ rendering the leader completely idle of his/her role.
I strongly believe organizations can only grow being ‘systems’ centric and not by being ‘leader’ centric
A systems/process approach of leadership gives rise to many leaders. The best selfless contribution a true leader can ever make towards his/her organization is, to make it completely systems driven so that whether the leader stays or not, the organization continues its growth pace and becomes an automated independent company where people become the torchbearers of the organization’s Vision, Mission, Values, Culture, Policies,and Practices.
I endorse and strongly believe in this kind of Leadership. Fortunately, our Lexicon Group of Trustees have always ensured this style of leadership across all its Institutions. At Lexicon MILE, under the able and efficient leadership of our Executive Director, Dr. Neeraj Sharma, this style of leadership is a constant and conscious endeavor. We groom our independent student leaders for a leadership style par excellence and at the employee level, we train our employees to lead in their respective roles and own up to their responsibilities and tasks, keeping up to the spirit of performance-driven corporate work culture, at Lexicon MILE.
Achieving a dynamic approach towards both student and faculty development
‘Dynamism’ is synonymous to growth and development. Lexicon’s MILE’s growth chart of the past few years is a living example of the same. Any organization that does not change becomes static in its growth after a few years. Hence, it is pertinent to be dynamic and tune oneself to the need of the industry and trends prevailing in the market. With science, technology and management practices changing at an ever-increasing rate, a gap is formed between the foundation provided by an academic education and the technical and management competencies required in today’s technical and business environment. At Lexicon MILE, we achieve this by imparting skill specific and domain-specific knowledge Certificates in areas like Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Business Analytics, Goal Setting, Lean Six Sigma, Systems Thinking, Geo-Politics, Excel, Foreign languages of German, French and Korean etc. Moreover, in today’s times, companies look forward to longer tenures in management interns in order to facilitate quality work projects to them. Tuning Lexicon MILE to this need, our students intern for a minimum of nine months in the final year, in the companies so that their fresher profile is augmented in terms of work experience and meet the industry demands instantly.
Advice for the aspiring management aspirants of the country
Today’s management professionals are competent and competitive at the same time. Hence, they become a part of the rat race, irrespective of choice. Therefore, being innovative, balanced and stress-free in thoughts, words and actions is the need of the hour with a robust background of uncompromising values, which will ensure great professional heights for all our aspiring management professionals across the country.
Expected growth in the HR field
Human Resource field has been the most ever-growing field in Management. From a clock timed stress-free work schedule to today’s VUCA times, HR as a domain has seen the transformation that work life has undergone since the last couple of decades. This transition has made the role of HR all the more crucial in the organization. Thomas Profiling like all other psychometric tests helpscome closer to know your people better and help identify the gap between felt and displayed thoughts, words and actions. But, having known the fact that no machines can reach the knowledge, depth, and complexity of a human brain, it becomes very pertinent for the HR to brace and tune itself to the ever-changing environment of the organizational workplace. Hence, Human Resource Management is poised not only for phenomenal growth in the future but also stand to be one of the crucial lifelines, of the operations of an organization.
The growth of students through placement opportunities available at Lexicon MILE PGDM program
Designed exclusively for students with little or no work experience, the Lexicon MILE PGDM program is tailored towards a holistic educational approach which adapts to different business environments, cultures and market conditions, preparing our students for a lifetime of decision-making and leadership. Unlike most B-Schools where students are mere numbers or just faces, at Lexicon MILE,
we adopt ‘One student a time’ approach, directing individual focus on each and every student enrolled with us.
Over and above the skills and domain-based certifications that we provide at Lexicon MILE, we also ensure certain niche services to our students like contemporary syllabus updated every year through a panel of academic and industry experts, foundation module of a rigorous Induction program of three weeks aimed at convergence at the beginning of the program, dual specializations to help students zero in on a meaningful career, Career-focused projects, live industry projects, Alumni mentorship program, structured Personality development sessions with Oscar Nominee and established Marathi actor and model Mr. Abhayangh Kuvalekar, Corporate grooming workshops and Corporate Etiquette certification aimed at augmenting soft skills, group discussion and personal interview skills, held periodically to make them industry ready. One of the most exclusive features of the program is the graded hobby class certificates to train our Lexiconite Management Leaders in art forms like Zumba, Taekwondo, etc.
We also have an association with the Ministry of Forests for a research study in training our students to be socially and environmentally sensitive through the ‘one of its kind’ Lexicon MILE’s Winter Internship Project wherein students spend time in rural Maharashtra researching core concerns of the Forest department of India. Thus, it’s a trimester pattern which encompasses approximately 45 subjects in the first year (equivalent to the total subjects of a semester pattern) and 15 plus certifications.
For the final year we have a minimum nine months of stipend based national and international Internships with India’s best brands and multi-national companies, the best any B-School can offer for higher management education. This period of internship acts as a robust profile booster for the majority fresher students enrolled with us in the program. Hence, by the time a Lexicon MILE student finishes his PGDM of two years, he/she is not only at par with other B-School students but also have an edge over them, in terms of work experience, having had a 100 % ROI on the fees, paid towards the program.
Future goals to achieve for Lexicon MILE
Lexicon Group is all poised for phenomenal expansion in the next few years. Having won many prestigious national and international awards, Lexicon MILE is out to shine its way up many notches in the sector of higher management education by meeting the vision of Lexicon Group to imbibe value-based education to one and all. With Lexicon MILE offices coming up this year, in Indore and Kolkatta, we see a pan India presence very soon. We see ourselves getting closer to our dream of ‘Lexicon MILE University’ with this fast-paced, structured and visionary approach.
Adaptability of Lexicon MILE in terms of changing learning practices in the education industry
Lexicon MILE is a student-driven Institute. Through the Student Council which encompasses student leaders from committees and office bearers, all over the country, the Institute lives the philosophy of having student leaders as strategic partners of the Institute. To top this, Lexicon MILE is digitized in all its academic offerings, thus promoting a paperless culture in the youth today. With digital smart boards and a Wi-Fi enabled campus and hostel, our students are all equipped to effortlessly adopt the changing learning practices in the industry.
Moreover, in order to cater to the core of management education, our PGDM syllabus focuses on 60% case study method of teaching, topped by role plays, seminars, outbound learning, management games and movies, live assignments, news analysis and discussions,andskill-based training workshops. An international collaboration with IMEI, IYF, Seoul, South Korea ensures an ‘out of the world’ experience on ‘mind education’ for our students to keep them mentally, socially, physically and intellectually healthy to take on life’s challenges successfully. Thus, a blend of rigorous academics and an equally rigorous internship makes Lexicon MILE’s edulife worth it.
Importance of time management for Dr. Susen
We live in times of excess choices and excess challenges. One of the values out of the ten core values at Lexicon MILE is ‘Discipline’. We at Lexicon MILE consciously practice these values through the two-year PGDM program and ensure we practice these values ourselves before we preach them to the world outside. With the diminishing of the concept of work-life balance as a physical border separating work and personal lives, time plays a very important role in determining priorities of one’s life. If our youth, understand the difference between being ‘in control of time’ and ‘controlled by time’, most of the problems in life get settled.