CxO of the Week: Satyabrata Das, CEO, HexaLearn Solutions

By : |September 20, 2019 1

CxO of the Week: Satyabrata Das defines the strategic road map for the company. With a vision to leverage his experience in technology and learning to solve business problems, Satya founded HexaLearn in 2011.

Your top priority while making decisions to improve tech infra in your organisation?

Being an entrepreneur and running an online content business, my top priority from an infrastructure standpoint is to combine the right kind of machines, tools, skills, and training. This spans the entire organisation, whether it’s an employee at a junior or senior level and across varying levels of skills as well. We carry this out in a systematic manner to ensure that when there is a requirement from a client or a prospect, we can meet the business objectives effectively.

In terms of a basic tech. infrastructure, things like internet penetration and servers are features without which one cannot run a business. But more than that, it is the kind of training you provide to your employees to carry out the services that matter the most. At the end of the day, they are the people who work on the products and deliver them to clients. Therefore, our top priority has been to foster an environment where employees can exploit their creative skills, in both the creation and delivery of products and services, to ensure effective output and maximum customer satisfaction.

Challenges you face in driving digital transformation?

The key challenges we face are more to do with the region/location which we are in right now. There are several technical institutes around, and the advantage this brings is that of close proximity to a strong talent pool. At the same time, however, every business has its own nuances. For us, it’s online content, which is still a relatively new sector, not only in a place like Odisha, but in the rest of India too. This is because a majority of the households in India still have maximum trust and confidence in the brick-and-mortar style of education, with physical schools and colleges. This is where the importance and credibility of online education and certification lag behind.

When you compare this with how developed nations are looking at online learning, there is a significant difference in the approaches there. In these countries, people are essentially looking at up-skilling or re-skilling themselves as quickly as possible within a given period. By contrast, in India, the trend is to enrol in an educational or professional course and being immersed in the study for the duration of the course, whether it’s 2, 3 or 4 years.

Therefore the challenges we face stem from trying to change this mindset and highlighting the benefits of online education, which comprise factors such as all-round learning in technical as well as soft skills. We are addressing these challenges by ensuring our employees are trained and educated about the benefits themselves before we deliver the final product to our clientele. Through this, we are showing them how, with online learning, there are a plethora of high-quality options available and one can equip themselves with a customised skill set along with the right attitude to drive the business. This makes for greater productivity within a shorter duration than a traditional offline course or certification, as well as tangible value added to the organisation by each employee.

Do you feel that freshers in the industry come with only basic knowledge but don’t have the right skills to fulfil job requirements? If yes, your suggestion to students and colleges?

I completely agree with that. The reason being, if you look at the education system in our country, it is still quite rigid. I say this because simply changing the syllabus is not the solution to the problem of keeping pace with today’s demands. If you look at the assessment process, it largely comprises of assignments, tests, and exams which you pass and move on to the next level. But the education system has never focused on the fact that if a concept is being taught to a student, how effectively they can implement the learning in real-world situations – the practical application. This is why there is a high level of unemployable talent in our country even after parents spending large sums of money in sending their children to the best schools and colleges.

What is actually required is extensive research, and establishing state-of-the-art labs in every school and college. Labs shouldn’t just be limited to science but, instead, be extended to every subject. Once they are implemented, it is the responsibility of educators to ensure that the concept that is being taught can be applied by each student on-ground. Additionally, soft skills must be given as much importance as technical skills. For instance, only when one has good communication skills will they be able to effectively outline how well they know their subject and field and deliver their thoughts and ideas.

There needs to be a reinforcement mechanism in place, with continual guidance and intervention from educators at every stage of the learning process. That’s what real education is all about, and there is a need for an absolute paradigm shift within India’s education system.

What’s your mantra to become successful in life?

Everything you do must be fuelled by a fierce passion, striving to be better each day by going above and beyond the call of duty. This is what has worked for me all my life, and I continue to learn and proceed with an open mind. That certainly requires a lot of effort, sincerity, and passion. One can make mistakes and dust them off, but it is important to pick up those pieces to fuel the journey ahead. With that, one can learn from failures, celebrate successes and chart out a path for a meaningful future supported by those around you, in both the professional and personal realms.

What would you like to give back to the society?

Helping to generate employment by increasing employability is at the core of what I do. Additionally, I strive to enable an environment of creativity and meaningful relationships with those who are involved with HexaLearn, both directly or indirectly. With this, working towards the growth of people and mankind in general, to whatever extent it’s possible with the resources we have, is my way of giving back to society.

Your favourite book and what are you reading now?

Reading enriches the mind like nothing else. I have always been an avid reader, and First Among Equals by Jeffrey Archer has been an all-time favourite of mine. Currently, I am reading The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma, which focuses on the realities of professional life and how to tackle them by establishing a routine for all-round healthy living; be it the body or the mind – and I’d even say the soul.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

My free time is spent volunteering for social service to help the needy. This also includes focusing on providing educational support for those in need, to help facilitate a more secure future for them.

Achievements (Awards & Recognitions)

I believe that people should work driven by their passion, not with the aim of winning an award, but to create real value for the various stakeholders. While there have been a few instances where I have received recognition, there are two that stood out for me.

I was selected as one of the top 25 executives at Kaplan (my previous employer) to attend a Leadership Development program conducted in collaboration with Harvard. The learning, networking and insights gained were immense. Additionally, I have been awarded the ‘Employee of the Year’ at Kaplan for my contribution to the growth of the business.

Experience

I have spent close to 20 years in the field of e-Learning (online education) and educational technologies. In 1999, I joined NIIT’s Knowledge Solutions Business. This was followed by my stint with eMind, a BFSI focused e-learning platform for professionals, as the Head of Content Production – India office from 2001 to 2005.

I then worked with Kaplan India, a global leader in test preparation & online education for various sectors, as the Senior VP – Operations, where I was responsible for the content business, human resource group, and strategic and tactical initiatives for the company in India.

The year 2011 was when I decided to put all my experience together, and went on to found HexaLearn with the aim of providing flexible e-Learning engagement models to clients across the globe. Now running in our 8th year, our key focus areas are e-Learning Design & Development and Application Design & Development.

First Job – My first job in the eLearning sector was in the role of an Instructional Designer with NIIT, so my professional journey with educational content and strategies began right from then, and there was no looking back.

Education – B.A. (Hons.) Political Science from Ravenshaw College, LLB from Utkal University and Master’s in Business Administration (International Business) from Amity Business School.

Take a look at the previous CxO

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  1. Pramesh
    #1 Pramesh 22 September, 2019, 17:03

    Definitely Sir Your words are absolutely true…..Its only the communication skills and its enhancement which creates a good co operative and ideal environment to take an organisation few steps ahead and also the standard of the employees….as our company does…..I really feel proud to be a part of Hexalearn…..

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