Srujan Rokkam

Testimonial: Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership

Srujan has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and he has over 4 years of leadership experience and 8 years of federal contract research. He works for Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT), a developer and manufacturer of heat pipes, pumped liquid and two-phase loops, and thermal storage devices. Their products have been used in applications from spacecraft thermal management to medical surgery temperature control.  They currently serve customers worldwide in aerospace, military, industrial equipment, consumer products and government R&D sectors. Srujan is based in Lancaster, PA.

“I looked for a program on Project Management for over two years before I found Lehigh’s,” he says. “I had checked out a number of other options, including ones at Penn State and through the American Management Association, but I wanted something that was more concentrated, geared toward working professionals, as well as engaging and interactive. Lehigh met all of those requirements.”

“During the Foundations of Project Management, I learned about the Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership and decided to take the additional programs needed to earn it. One benefit that I did not expect was how much I learned from the other participants. They came from many different backgrounds, including health services, engineering, finance, and marketing. They brought different perspectives that I found very helpful.” 

Foundations of Project Management was very good; I liked the interactive nature of the program. There were exercises and a learning simulation that lets you put the techniques you were learning to use.  I had been working in project management for four years, and definitely improved my skills. The program broadened what I call my thought horizon: I’m no longer just focused on one task at a time. There are always multiple projects going at once, and they can be complex, so it’s very helpful to approach them in this way.” 

In Advanced Negotiation Techniques, I learned that you can have different objectives for each negotiation. You don’t have to approach each one in the same way. It’s also important to prepare for negotiations and to look for common ground. We went through a number of simulated business negotiations so we were able to try the techniques as we learned them. These have really stayed with me, and I regularly apply the lessons I learned in my business life.

Connected Leadership: Creating and Retaining an Engaged Team had a real impact on my interactions with my team, colleagues, and customers. It started with the Thinking Preferences Assessment, a personality test that was very accurate and instructive—I learned many new insights about myself from that test and in the program. Once you get that knowledge about your own style, you learn about the different styles and values of other people, which helps you to work better with them. The instructor, Michelle Tillis Lederman, was amazing. One of my biggest takeaways was the eleven laws of likeability from her book The Connector’s AdvantageThis program gives you a chance to take a step back and learn and think about your management style and reflect on ways that you can improve.”