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‘Upskilling is very important for career growth’

Currently working as a Regional Training Manager, Sumit Manchanda has enrolled in a PhD programme at Apeejay



Juggling professional commitments with education can be quite taxing for any individual. But sheer determination and resolve can help one sail through, believes Sumit Manchanda, a training and development professional. In his nearly two decades of professional journey, he has retained his zeal to keep learning amid a hectic work schedule. The 37-year-old recently enrolled himself for a PhD degree at Apeejay Stya University (ASU). Read to know more about his journey and work:

Tell us about yourself.

I completed my BA from Delhi University in Economics and Business Data Processing. After that, I did my MBA from the National Institute of Management, Mumbai, in Finance and International Business. I also completed a PG Diploma in Training and Development from the Indian Society of Training and Development followed by an MBA from Jagannath University in Human Resources. I have around 17 years of experience—I started my professional journey with ICICI Bank, followed by Indiabulls Securities, HSBC InvestDirect Ltd, Axis Securities, etc. Now, I am working as a Regional Training Manager at L&T Mutual Funds for the northern and eastern zone.

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How did you decide to pursue a PhD and why did you choose Apeejay?

As someone who is keen to learn, I was looking for what more I could do in terms of specialisation. That is how I chanced upon the idea of pursuing a PhD. I started contemplating the kind of research I wanted to do in the training profile, since I have been in the field for over a decade now. So far, people have recognised my insights in various training programmes, which was my inspiration behind pursuing a PhD in the same.

When I started looking for good universities, I found Apeejay. I applied through the website and was fortunate to get to interact with Professor Dr SK Roy, Dean, School of Management Sciences, ASU. I realised Apeejay would be the perfect institute as it was the place where the dean gave me a warm welcome and understood my career experience and expertise and shared great advice about how that could be nurtured further. The comfort and moral support I experienced was the reason I chose Apeejay Stya University.

How has the experience been so far?

It has been a few months since I started my PhD programme. I have mainly interacted with Professor Manish Sharma, assistant professor, School of Management Sciences, ASU, and Dr Roy, who allowed me every opportunity to express myself and share my experience. I have received sound advice from them.

What does training and development involve?

I began with Product training focused on financial products. Later on, I moved to behavioural training, which comprises psychological and psychometric skills. In 2019, I got an opportunity from L&T Mutual Funds to train people outside of the firm in behavioural skills, which was a new experience for me–so far, I had only been training employees–and I looked at integrating financial knowledge with consumer behaviour. There are other training programmes on selling skills, solution-oriented skills, creative problem solving, etc., in line with the financial market that I have created and have trained a large number of people.

What trends are you observing in terms of people’s behavioural evolution?

In the pre-Covid situation, the situation was totally different—people were mostly running after jobs and money. The pandemic, however, gave them a chance to introspect. While being confined to their homes, they also got the chance to spend time with their family and therefore, its value. Post-Covid, I think people are prioritising work-life balance. They want to take out time for weekend trips and focus on their families. In terms of jobs, people are expecting something which will suit this change in mindset. They are particular about their work hours while some are giving preference to working from home.

How does this change impact corporates?

Many corporates have come up with a hybrid working module. They are also encouraging employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

What kind of skills are corporates looking for?

Corporates are encouraging a more inclusive environment where people of all genders and communities can gel with each other. Further, in many big corporates, people have aced time management. They adhere to deadlines and are time-efficient employees.

Earlier, corporates did not focus too much on classroom training. This has improved over the years whereby they are now organising more webinars and training programmes for their employees. This is a welcome change.

According to you, how important is it for people to continue their education alongside their profession?

Honestly, it is not easy to manage the two simultaneously. But upskilling is very important for career growth in today’s day and age, whether it is a certification course or a degree. With willpower and determination, you will be able to find those 15-20 minutes a day for quality reading.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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