Supradeep Dutta, PhD ’13
President, Krannert Doctoral Student Association
What are the primary goals of KDSA and your responsibilities as president?
My primary goal as a KDSA president is to voice the feedback and concerns of fellow PhD students. The KDSA officers coordinate with the PhD administration office to ensure that doctoral students’ needs are addressed.
What do you consider your most significant accomplishment in this role?
In my role as a president, I have tried to address two important aspects that will enhance the PhD student life at Krannert –– student welfare and information sharing.
The KDSA, along with support from the PhD office, organized numerous social gatherings for students and their families this year, including the introduction of a Friday PhD student lunch. This has been quite successful and we noticed increased participation at these events throughout the year. In addition, a collaboration room was set aside in the Krannert Building for PhD students to work together on group assignments, brainstorm research ideas and run statistical analysis on three newly installed workstations with high processing capability.
With the help of the Krannert Computing Center, we also have designed a knowledge-sharing platform for PhD students. This project is currently in the implementation phase and will include information across domains such as PhD coursework, research and teaching, and career placement, among others.
What other leadership roles or experiences have you had at Purdue or in your community?
In 2011-12, I was a senator in Purdue Graduate Student Government representing the Krannert School’s management department. I also was an active member of the career fair committee and helped organize the fall 2011 and spring 2012 events.
What are the most important lessons you’ve drawn from such experiences?
A key lesson I gathered from these experiences is an appreciation of others’ perspectives. As a leader it is important to empower your teammates. That provides a sense of involvement and accountability of task. Every individual has certain skill sets and it is the role of a leader to channel those skills in the right direction. All KDSA officers bring different strengths that help in creating new ideas and successful completion of the task.
Why is leadership development important both academically and professionally?
As we embark in our career as an academician or as a corporate professional, the ability to articulate our views while being receptive of others’ views has a profound influence on how one can lead a team. In this competitive labor market, leadership development is essential to develop the required skills. Leadership is not only about leading a team or a project, but also about taking the onus of a task, completing it with full rigor, and accepting to learn from failures.
How has Krannert helped you develop your leadership skills both in and out of the classroom?
My time in the Krannert PhD program has been a cherishing experience, and with every passing year I have developed new skills to shape my career as an academician. In my second year, for example, I had an opportunity to teach a capstone course in strategy, which provided a window to develop my capabilities as an instructor to take control of the classroom.
Apart from my classroom teaching experience, the PhD program has provided me different avenues to speak in public and present my research at various conferences. This has further helped me develop the capability to articulate my thoughts in a succinct and structured manner.
Taking classes taught by great faculty at Krannert, interacting with my advisor and dissertation committee members, and sharing research ideas with fellow PhD students have helped me appreciate others’ views and had a significant influence on preparing me for an academic career. To be a good leader, it is important to be an excellent listener.
Whom do you most admire as a leader and why?
In the corporate world, I admire the leadership style of Sir Richard Branson. Starting as an entrepreneur, today he manages more than 300 companies in 34 countries. His leadership style follows the art of delegation –– finding the best human resources and giving them the freedom to make decisions. He dares to dream big, and this trait of fearlessness makes him approach challenges willfully.