A chartered accountant by profession, Sudeshna Basu Roy got exposed to a robust training structure while working at GlaxoSmithKline and Intel in business finance. Her interactions with the strategy team, country heads and marketing teams set the groundwork for herself. And moreover, being a woman professional, she developed a knack for training women on how to improve their work-life balance.
Now, the question arose as to how training could be made more effective and interactive for the community of women professionals? The notion of incorporating tools and different methodologies into the training mechanism appealed to Sudeshna, as she believed that these would be useful for women to apply in real life. She says,
I felt that training for women has become very essential. I, being a mother, have faced a lot of challenges to maintain a balance between office work and household management. I have seen many women who think about their children and other household stuff at office, and when they are at home, the rigidity of office work occupies the mind.”
The yearning to make the lives of women professionals better led her to the launch of training and consulting firm Marg in 2007.
Sudeshna was joined by her husband Kannan Krishnamurthy (as co-founder) in her venture, and together they put in Rs 20-25 lakh as seed capital for Marg. Sudeshna says that while funding has always been a challenge, their confidence has never waned.
Role of a mother
Forty-two-year-old Sudeshna, a product of Loreto convent and Goenka College of Commerce in Kolkata, went on to join GlaxoSmithKline as a management trainee before moving on to the role of Assistant Manager and finally leaving the firm as Deputy Manager. After that, she joined Intel and worked there as a senior analyst. She then took a break for two years around the time her child was a year old. It was after that that she started Marg with Kannan.
Tying up with corporates
Reaching out to corporates was done through word of mouth. The startup had roped in a Bengaluru-based agency for cold calling and emailing to corporates and setting up meetings with HR heads. Today, the organisation has 100 clients, and charges between Rs 10,000 and Rs 70,000 a day based on the different levels of training and industries. Marg provides training in almost 18 types of industries, including manufacturing, IT/ITES, services, research and development, pharmaceuticals, real estate, education, energy and publication.
Levels of training
A consulting and training firm, Marg helps women professionals upgrade their skills and enables organisations to develop people-competency. Marg enables organisations to reach the next level of performance by applying learning to the workplace. The training imparts skill and initiates behavioural changes that serve to bring in productive changes.
Based out of Bengaluru, Marg provides a wide spectrum of soft skills training through partnerships with corporates in different sectors. Its trainers have varied experience across the manufacturing, FMCG, services and IT industries. Says Sudeshna,
“Our pan-India presence allows us to provide consistent training to organisations across the country. We will be exploring and establishing an international training presence in 2017.”
Marg has three lines of business, each supporting specific organisational needs of clients: Training in a variety of formats/contexts in areas such as soft skills, MS office, and finance; training in the specific area of change management based on authorised affiliation with global change management leader Prosci; and supporting organisations with needs in the area of conflict resolution and communication.
The partnership with clients is based on a collaborative approach that's divided into three steps: Pre-work (surveys, focus groups, exercises, pre-evaluation), training intervention, which is contextualised to the team’s/trainee's needs and made experiential to ensure personal impact (logic, case studies, role plays, games, exercises, videos, activities), and follow up (post-evaluation, 30-day window, interventions).
The trainer network of Marg is present across Delhi (NCR), Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and other major cities. Going forward, the company will add another line of business with leadership coaching and HR and business consulting.