BHM Mentorship Program 2020 held at WGSHA

August 30, 2020

August 18-19,2020: Manipal Academy of Higher Education has always been ahead of its time. A prime example of this can be seen when the Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration held its Student Mentorship Program for the 35th course of BHM students, amidst a global pandemic. The mentors chosen for this batch of BHM students are Ms. Sandhya Johnson, Mr. Balakrishna Jayasimha, Ms. Anjana Guha, and Mr. Akshay Kulkarni.

The session started with Ms. Sandhya Johnson who stressed on leveraging our strengths. According to her, a strength is something that makes us look forward to doing something, motivates us to do it well, and after finishing, it fills us with a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. She also explained that these strengths can be further matured by making a developmental plan for ourselves, not solely focusing on our limitations, along with collaborating with people who have strengths complimentary to us. A focal point of her talk was how to overcome challenges in the hospitality trade that we may encounter. Her tips to conquer such obstacles include practicing emotional intelligence, developing cross-cultural intelligence, networking with people in fields of our interest, finding a good responsible mentor, and most importantly, developing curiosity, for it is through learning only that we can realize our innate potential, and activate our strengths. She concluded the session by talking about the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality business, how innovation is the way forward, and emphasized the importance of a secondary plan in our lives, lest the primary one fails.

Mr. Balakrishna Jayasimha then picked up where Ms. Johnson left, talking about emotional intelligence, and the significance of forming meaningful connections with other people. In his opinion, when we enter a new environment, we go through 4 stages: forming, storming, norming, and performing, and it is through these processes, that we discover the true gravity of forming empathetic relations. His talk was centered on the three pillars the mentorship program stands on, namely, connect, inspire, and support. His point of seeking help when in need resonated with the audience, as he explained that seeking help doesn't mean that one is weak, it simply means that one is learning. He ended on a pragmatic note, by encouraging us to develop a positive attitude, as our attitude is what dictates our decisions in life. This marked the end of the first day of the session.

Ms. Anjana Guha was our first speaker of the second day, who started on a philosophical note, by asking us the elementary question, "Why do we do things the way we do them?” The key topic of her speech was attention, and how to control it and exercise it effectively. Her concept of selective attention and in attentional blindness was completely foreign to us but ultimately helped to broaden the horizons of both the students, as well as the faculty. She also underlined the importance of enhancing one's skills and strategizing one's strengths. She ended by giving us her motto for success in life: "Access, analyze, and adapt".

The evening continued with the session by Mr. Akshay Kulkarni. He also adopted a similar approach as Mr. Jayasimha and spoke on the foundational values of the mentorship program, that is, connect, inspire, and support. He highlighted the importance of being mindful of opportunities, being grateful, and being sensitive to others, as these are the fundamental elements that end up shaping our personalities. He stated that one should wake up wanting to excel, for a job well begun is half done. The part of his session that struck a chord with the audience was his explanation of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We are the person we are today, because of what we experienced in the past that is yesterday. And this, consequently, will affect our future decisions. On this note, he ended.

Our principal, Chef K. Thirugnanasambantham, concluded the evening with his vote of thanks. He profusely thanked every mentor for being a part of the program and lauded them for their commitment to the 35th Course of BHM students for the next 4 years. He also spoke about the significance of having a good mentor, as it is under their watchful eye, that we can self-actualize, and unfold our innate potential. And thus, the 2-day student mentorship program for the 35th course of BHM students culminated.