I received a message on LinkedIn from a person who was not connected with me on the platform. When I checked the profile found him to be a Masters student in Hospitality. I responded to his message, here’s the brief conversation we had:
V: Hello Professor, Good to connect
Me: Hello! Pleasure indeed. Best wishes.
V: I am looking for assistance for publishing my paper, which is related to the universal design. Hope you we could collaborate on the same. Let me know your thoughts, Regards.
V: Thank you so much! I would be happy to share my idea and the work that I have done so far, could you please provide me your email id?
Me: What contribution are you expecting from me?
V: To enhance my paper quality and publish in a good journal.
I shared my number with him and we spoke on phone, I work closely with young people and it is very encouraging to meet the self driven and motivated ones. Vishnu KR came across as a very focused individual pursuing Masters from WGSHA Manipal, India. In fact he was in the last semester and was waiting to embark on his hospitality career. He was looking to work in the Sales and Marketing department of a hotel. Was keen or research and had the aspirations of pursuing a PhD in future. I was truly impressed with him and his clarity of thoughts. He also came across as a soft spoken person who always demonstrated humility. He displayed maturity.
I was inquisitive to know what made him get in touch with me as we had no common connections and we lived in different cities. He said that he had read my articles and thought if I responded to his message maybe I could help him in finalising his research paper and getting it published. He also told me that he had written to many others but no one had reverted till then. I liked the fact that he approached many research scholars and educators, it showed the seriousness he had and the keen interest in getting his research project improved upon with the idea of making it publication ready. I could see the hard work that had gone in it and the efforts he was taking to accomplish his goal..
He also told me that he was looking forward to more collaboration on research work in future. I was convinced that the work will be interesting; I may get to learn something from this youngster.
Soon he emailed his outline of the work, I went through it; found it to be a well thought of and researched topic. The topic he had selected was not a very common one it was on design for accessibility for the physically challenged especially wheel chair bound people. We all know that not all places are designed that are friendly for people on wheel chairs. Just imagine if a restaurant is not made accessible and designed to give a good experience to them. I asked him what made him select such an important and very relevant topic. He said, “I picked this subject since it’s very emotionally connected to me, my best friend faces trouble going to restaurants. We miss socialising or having a great dining experience. Having studied hospitality management I understand that restaurants have a fantastic potential to become widely accessible in order to be more user-friendly and bring in revenue, especially in cosmopolitan cities. I think that meeting everyone’s needs and being sustainable are essential requirements in the hospitality industry.”
I connected with his perspective, I had many ideas of my own and how the final paper should shape up became clear in my mind. I started working on it, speaking with Vishnu whenever a discussion was needed. Finally the paper was almost ready. We saw a reputed university coming up with an international conference and our paper could fit into one of the tracks on sustainability. We thought of adding a few more dimensions to our paper so that we could present it at the international conference. We sent the abstract that was accepted by the university. Then we started working on our paper so that we could submit the full paper by the due date.
We registered for the 2 day international conference but Vishnu had his final examination so he couldn’t make it for the paper presentation. We received our certificates at the conference and after a couple of days we got a call from the conference committee that our paper was selected for publication. This was indeed a very happy news; I was delighted to share the same with Vishnu. So our paper is getting published in a reputed journal and we have both learnt a lot through this process.
This is clearly an example of perseverance, good collaboration and that learning can happen at any platform and with anyone; we only need to reach out. Vishnu did his Masters during the pandemic but it didn’t hamper his learning or dim his enthusiasm. He appeared for a couple of interviews, he used to discuss them with me and whatever insights I could share I did that. He called to inform me that he got selected for Sales and Marketing in a reputed hotel chain; I was delighted to hear the news as I knew how much it mattered to him. So Vishnu is on his first job, a very promising young professional and I wish the very best to him. Through him I am glad to know an equally dynamic man his friend Anirudh Murthy.
This happens to be one of the happy stories of 2022 and it has made it to my gratitude post for this year!
PS: Picture courtesy – Anirudh/ Vishnu