Shajan Samuel is currently the Divisional Head of IIJT Education, a venture of India’s leading staffing company team Lease. He has also been the Business Head of Learning and Training at Ikya Human Capital Solutions, Sales Head of media and entertainment programs at Manipal Education, Zonal head of N-Power / Regional Head of Aptech and Arena, Head at Aptech, Ltd., State Head at JK Tyre, Mid level Manager at MRF, Ltd. and started his career as Sales Executive at Kelvinator. Shajan Completed his Advanced Management Program at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, and graduated in commerce from St. Xavier’s College Kolkata. He has completed his MBA in Marketing.

Shajan SamuelCG Today : Mr. Samuel, welcome to CG Today, and thank you for speaking with us.

Shajan : Thank you.

CG Today : You now find yourself in the vocational education business. How is this assignment going?

Shajan : Vocational education is a very challenging industry, candidates who come to us are predominantly the ones who realize that that there is a significant gap between college curriculum and industry needs and understand the significance of polishing their skills in specific areas to get jobs. We cater to the bottom of the pyramid; therefore, we need to be delicate in handling our students. Should we take job to the candidate or candidate to the jobs is an important reflection point. Managing students and providing wholesome and rounded education is central to the success of the students who come to us. Needless to say, providing training which is evolving and centric to industry requirements is an important aspect of the value which a vocational training Institute can provide. We have identified seven strategic Priorities for IIJT (sales, marketing, IT, Customer Service/ Operations, Placements, Institutional Partnerships and Academics) and our effort is to ensure that we execute these chosen index well.

CG Today : What vocational courses will be offered at this new school? Will there be an animation industry component?

Shajan : We are largely in to 5 Domains i) Finance & Accounts ii) Hardware & Networking iii) Retail iv) Sales & Marketing v) English & Personality Development.

As of now we don’t have an Animation course, might think of that at some point of time.



CG Today : In 2008, you became Business Head of Learning and Training at Ikya Human Capital Solutions Pvt. Ltd. This company was rated by Business Today as one of India's “Top 10 Start-Up Ventures” in 2008. You managed the Profit and Loss Statement and gave the company a much-needed jump-start by galvanizing 100 clients within the first eight months of business operations. Can you give us some details on this process?

Shajan : Ikya is an integrated HR services company, founded by Ajit Isaac a serial entrepreneur and ex founder of People One which later got sold to Adecco. My mandate was to build the training Business and use it as a comprehensive solution, along with recruitment, staffing and other areas in which we were operating, I had a very good sales and training team and we worked very closely with clients, focusing on learning outcomes, by offering customized solutions which helped us in reaching 100 clients swiftly.

Some of the clients we worked were with Tata Motors, Maruti Udyog and Videocon.

CG Today : One of your personal mottoes is, “Ethics and hard work have no alternative”. Can you give us a personal life experience where this philosophy has made a real difference in your career?

Shajan :
I give a lot of credit to my success at MRF Tyres where I spent 30 % of my total professional life. It made me understand that ethics and hard work are important cogs of your blood stream and integrity & values are not negotiable. Philip Eapen, the then Executive Director Marketing was a great influence in my formative years with MRF,you need a mentor to shape you and your work. MRF is a strong leadership driven company which gives you a long rope and rallies behind you constantly encouraging you to deliver.

CG Today : We are captivated by the notion which you propound that “intuition is your partner”. Do you think that this is an often overlooked idea in the business world?

Shajan : I think it’s “ better to be wrong than be confused “As individuals we get got up in the rigmarole of a frenzied agitated life, we still try to make decisions based on statistics and business plans, and ignore the non logical barometer which an intuition can offer. Sometimes one can just back on intuition. I think this is an important way to defy conventional wisdom.

CG Today : Manipal University is a force to be reckoned in India. You came on board as Sales Head of Media and Entertainment Programs. You were instrumental in the launch of the world's first MBA in Media and Entertainment offered by Manipal University in association with Whistling Woods owned by film-maker Subhas Ghai. An MBA in Media and Entertainment was rated by India Today as one of the “Hottest Career Courses” in August, 2008 edition. Once again, you are in the vortex of innovation. How does that feel?

Shajan : I was in ecstasy and never imagined it would be a rip-roaring success. In fact when we put the idea on board, we never imagined this to take off the way it did. The entire concept was a green horn, working on it from a conceptual stage and taking to a full blow delivery mood was an amazing feeling.

CG Today : Also, while at Manipal, you created history by recruiting 100 admissions to the second costliest animation program in the country. How did you do this? What forces had come together to achieve this amazing feat?

Shajan : The planning was the key, we planned well, executed our broad strategies and micro level tactics to the tee, Animation career seminars were held in Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai & Bhubaneswar, the preview of Sultan the Warrior was first shown by Manipal media at a program in Chennai, Also felicitated Mr. Ram Mohan the father of Indian Animation at Bangalore. The idea was to build the propaganda that Animation can be a part of main stream career course and it needs to be viewed seriously. Also getting the experts to talk on a neutral platform was the key.

The most important aspect is the audience, and if the creators of Animation movies can get the audience from age 4 to 60 then Animation in India is here to stay. I was personally expecting a lot from Street Side Romeo, but the movie didn’t move the cash registers. I think Sultan the Warrior can be a defining movement for the Indian Animation Industry. Let’s wait and watch.

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