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'Experts are in demand'

Abhay Valsangkar knows the importance of human and organisational behaviour. He gives us an insight into the field

education Updated: Aug 25, 2010 12:21 IST

Abhay Valsangkar is the chief administrative officer and head of HR at Avaya India. In this role, he provides guidance and support to corporate functions such as human resources, information technology, legal and security. He has worked with leading organisations like American Express, Citicorp, ICI, Cadbury’s and Tata Group. In his career spanning domestic and global assignments, he has played key roles in managing organisational transformations, building workplace cultures, enabling organisational growth initiatives and establishing globally deployable strategic processes.

How did you get into the field of HR?
I have now had 27 years of experience in human resources. However, my educational background has been varied. After doing my graduation in economics, I opted for post graduation in personnel management and industrial relations from Tata Institute of Social Sciences. After that I worked in various companies in the IT sector, legal and securities, and human resources.

Would you say your educational background has helped you get where you are?
Definitely. When dealing with human behaviour or personnel management, my law background helped me apply that basic knowledge to my tasks. But then again, education is nothing compared to experience.

What is the scope of growth in human resources?
I see a lot of scope. If you have an educational background in human resources, it’s even better. Everywhere the importance of human or organisational behaviour is being recognised. So definitely the openings for those interested increase. Earlier there was a perception that this department was not all that important in an organisation. The field has gained a lot of popularity in the last five-to-seven years and will thrive even further.

Do you think the educational curriculum is at par with the requirements of this field?
There is of course a gap between what theory teaches and what skills we actually need our students to have when they enter the work place. But the good side to all this is that everywhere you see, an increasing number of institutions are coming up. In fact, some have been set up exclusively for human resources, which is proof of the fact that this industry is in demand. However, since most fields are changing fast, so are their challenges, which is why the syllabus needs to get frequently updated.

Success mantra
The seven Es – energy,enthusiasm, enterprise,energy, experimentation, execution, exchange, endurance, effectiveness and exhaustive behaviourEducation Route
Graduation: B.A. (Economics), St. Xaviers College
Post Graduation: Personnel management and industrial relations, TISS
Holds a degree in law from Mumbai University