SCMS’ thumb-rule of 40% theory, 60% practice to teach Supply Chain Management
“I have always had the passion for teaching. I like interacting with people and inspiring bright young minds, in particular. That’s the reason that, as soon as I completed by PhD, I decided to move from my corporate career to academics,” says Dr. C. Sengottuvelu, Professor and Head of Consultancy Division at SCMS group. The corporate career he talks about is almost two decades long and includes stints with big names like Kirloskar, Bharat Electronics Limited and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. But, he claims to have found his true calling with SCMS Cochin, where he is keen on shaping future managers and offering them a high-quality education.
Dr. Sengottuvelu is a prolific academic himself. After completing his BE from Indiana University, he went on to earn several degrees and certifications, including his PhD and a “Certified Purchase Manager” certification from the Institute for Supply Management in the U.S. Today, he brings his academic strengths and industry experience into the classroom at SCMS Cochin. “During my corporate assignments as well, I was a research faculty for company’s in-house training programs during induction training. I believe I can bring that experience to the table and ensure that students gain from it in the classroom,” he says confidently.
Dr. Sengottuvelu is a well-known name in Supply Chain Management (SCM), which is interesting becauseSCMS Cochin School of Business offers the niche stream as a part of its program. Given his experience in the field, one would like to know about the opportunities it presents future managers. “Companies have begun to realize the importance of supply chain management as a part of their business. Since it’s a vast domain, it’s difficult to limit a person’s role in the field. That means professionals in SCM have several opportunities to grow. With companies taking it more seriously and implementing new strategies things are bound to get better,” he adds optimistically.
According to Dr. Sengottuvelu, those who want to make a career in the field need to understand SCM as a process from end to end. He then emphasizes the importance of different steps, right from information generation to data collection and analysis. Talking about the course offered by SCMS Cochin, he says, “We have an in-depth course for those in systems and operations, and also retail. There is more service-focused learning for those in Finance, HR, Banking, etc. Maybe we can think of special certifications in the future because some students are good at mental planning, while others could be at sourcing and procurement.”
Clearly, the institute is constantly evolving and offering the best opportunities to its students. It’s also seen in its faculty base that includes names like Dr. Sengottuvelu, who are ready to share their industry experience with students. Here we have him draw out important elements of corporate life for students: “To begin with, as a professional you have to complete all your tasks in a timely manner. You also need to have a proactive approach where you anticipate things and are prepared for different situations. Another aspect is working with numbers, which is a place where the newer generation still needs to work on.”
With his two decades of experience in the industry, Dr. Sengottuvelu has seen it change drastically. He also understands the demands it has of management professionals of today’s times. He sheds light on them for the benefit of aspirants, saying, “The fact remains that the industry is driven by companies and they are looking for young minds who can visualize the entire business process. Given the importance of Data today, the industry also wants professionals who can make decisions based on it. Decisions should be made in a structured way with facts and figures and with the support of data. That will be a hallmark of successful managers.”
Finally, we have Dr. Sengottuvelu talking about his bond with SCMS Cochin and all the initiatives it takes to create these successful future managers. “There are three components of high quality education: faculty base, student pool and academic environment. They are carefully brought together at SCMS Cochin,” he explains, before continuing. “We are not just focused on creating future managers but entrepreneurs as well, and there’s a dedicated program for that. As for me personally, I believe in the formula: 40% theory, 60% practice. I try to bring that to the classroom and ensure complete student involvement, which works wonders for their learning.” His concluding words ring true for an ever-changing field. And, students should heed his words, as they are entering a world that is moving at a faster pace than previous decades. Through his experience and knowledge, Dr. Sengottuvelu is a good guide for this long road ahead.