Become a GameChanger While Seeking a Second Career
Commodore NN Rao (Retd.)

Naval Maritime Academy (NAMAC), set up in November 1998, is a premier maritime training institute that offers seafaring courses approved by the Directorate General of Shipping (DGS), India. NAMAC is also a pioneer in conducting offshore safety courses. It is now an authorized training partner (ATP) of PMI to offer Project Management Professional (PMP)® and Disciplined Agile™ (DA) certification to naval officers. In an interaction with Manage South Asia, Commodore NN Rao (Retd.), Director at Naval Maritime Academy, talks about NAMAC’s association with PMI, benefits expected from the certification course, and how training courses equip retiring naval personnel for their second professional innings.

How does NAMAC help retired defense personnel?
The primary mandate of NAMAC is to provide a second career option to retiring Indian naval personnel. We have been offering seafaring courses as they align well with the core competency of these professionals. However, their priorities have undergone a change in the past two decades. They have been picking up their second career in corporate houses and industries. NAMAC had undertaken a survey and found that project management is one of the fields in which na val personnel have found employment post-retirement.

Why did you decide to join hands with PMI?
Naval personnel undertake projects of various kinds, and in various capacities, during their tenure. This factor came out strongly during our search for potential additional courses that NAMAC could offer retiring naval personnel. Since PMI is the most reputed organization offering project management certifications, we decided to become a PMI ATP. We are keen to offer training and certification courses on project management and Disciplined Agile™ (DA), and upskill the retiring personnel to make them future-ready.

Project management is considered a strategic capability for future leaders. How can defense personnel, including retired officers, benefit from it?

After getting the approval, NAMAC commenced Project Management Professional (PMP)® and Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM)™ certification training. While implementing the training programs, it became clear that these courses would also be beneficial for not only the serving personnel but also the Navy as an organization. This feedback has been duly noted and sent to higher echelons for further discussion.

When it comes to retiring personnel, PMI courses will arm them with additional qualifications, which will enhance their skills and job opportunities. Besides, these courses will give them fresh insights into project management methodologies.

Which PMI certifications are apt for them, and why?
The PMP certification is the most suitable one for most of the retiring defense personnel. NAMAC also recommends that the personnel, especially those with a background in IT, pursue DA certifications. The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® program is recommended for young officers and artificers. These courses will reduce any skill gaps and increase their readiness for new professions.

What is your advice to retiring personnel?
I would recommend retiring personnel to first conduct a self-ass essment and identify their strengths, and then work toward their goal. It will enable them to chalk out a career plan, be it entrepreneurship or a new job, more prudently. A PMI certification can be a game changer for someone seeking a second career. A retiree will also benefit from the networking that comes with being a PMI member.

How do you visualize the role of NAMAC in the coming years?
NAMAC has taken a step toward becoming a training institute by offering courses that will benefit retiring personnel. With PMI courses, it will expand the horizon of job opportunities for ex-personnel and help serving personnel improve project outcomes. NAMAC intends to continue to offer these courses to professionals as a part of its nation-building measures.

In his career spanning more than three decades, Commodore NN Rao (Retd.) has served in many frontline warships, and held numerous operational as well as staff appointments across the entire spectrum of naval operations. For his distinguished services, he was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) by the President of India in 2012.