Interview by Pratyasha

Shoolini University

Mr. Pratip Mazumdar is designated as the Director of School of Hospitality and Hotel Management at Shoolini University. His qualifications include - PG Diploma in Hospitality Administration, Hotel Management and B.Com. He has more than 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry and has worked with various Hotel chains like MRG Hospitality & Infrastructure, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Marasa Hospitality and many more across India.  

Hospitality industry turned out to be a rollercoaster ride for Mr. Mazumdar 

I have been a hotelier for the past 28 years. I started my career with Oberoi Hotels after completing my Management Training with the globally renowned Oberoi School of Hotel Management (OSHM). After that, I worked with Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels, Holiday Inn and Hyatt Hotels.  

For twelve years, I worked with the ITC WelcomGroup chain in various roles of Operations as well as L&D. I was fortunate to have a consulting role in East Africa with a Hospitality major named “Marasa Africa” with premium Forest Lodges in Kenya and Uganda. When I returned to the country, I served as General Manager with Country Inn and Suites, a brand of Radisson Group after which I received an opportunity to head a Boutique Hotel company in Bangalore, Goldfinch Group of Hotels as the Vice President-Hospitality. After that, I served with a Bangalore-based MNC named “Quess Corp Ltd.” as Group Head for administration after which I came to Shoolini University. 

Expressing his passion towards hospitality 

I have been practicing hotel management past 28 years. I feel obliged to translate all that information and experience I gained earlier in my life to the aspiring students of tomorrow. I believe in running the School of Hospitality, the same way I would operate a full-fledged hotel. 

Discipline is the key to success 

Time has remained an important factor in my life. I believe in discipline as it is one of the main keys to systematize your day. Since everyone in this world has the same 24 hours in a day, it is purely upon the individual to manage it efficiently.  

At the end of the day, I try to keep a minimum amount of things for subsequent follow up and try to do loop-closure before going to sleep. I have always believed in having strong follow-up mechanisms to execute tasks professionally.  

School of Hospitality’s growth in Shoolini

The school was started in August 2017 with 18 aspirants. Let me tell you that these 18 students will be the future advertisement for the School of Hospitality in Shoolini. The 2nd year is with the strength of 22 students. I call my students “Student Colleagues” simply because of the fact that for me, they are not students but are evolving youngsters who will be the ‘Next-Gen Hospitality Professionals’ in the coming future. 

Taking care of each and every student at Shoolini University 

At the School of Hospitality, we have a Personal File on every student and they are under continuous scrutiny. We keep observing them and their work-styles. The faculty consists of a highly dedicated Food and Beverage and Housekeeping Instructor and a skilled Chef Instructor. We all review each student periodically with confidentiality. At the end of each Semester, we do a Parent-Teacher Review meeting to update parents of their wards’ progress. 

Problem-solving methods of the Director 

I follow a straight and simple method to solve any obstacle - Firstly, apologize and then take corrective action and lastly, follow-up and close the loop with the complainant. 

I have a difficult experience with some hotel guests. Hospitality-service is an intangible element which cannot be seen but FELT. Humans are like the 5 fingers of a hand, always different and therefore, completely varied from each other while also being variable in their moods and temperaments. To be able to handle such “variability” can pretty much take the mickey out of any service provider. Do not forget; we are human beings too. I have been at the receiving end of the wrath of many guests despite not being directly responsible for the same. However, as Ambassador of my Hotel, I am the face of my brand and my service behavior has to remain consistent with the brand values that I represent.  

Purposely losing control to teach the students 

While I am with a guest in the hotel, I have to keep my emotions under control. But, when I am with the students, I do not keep my emotions under control. The reason being, I am enacting the role of an irate guest for them which they have to experience to understand the meaning of dissonance. Hence, sometimes, I purposely lose my cool in front of them as an uninformed role-play, just for their learning. 

Goals for School of Hospitality, Shoolini University  

I would like to see at least three batches pass out successfully from the University. Also, I am looking forward to August 2019 intake, and by the end of the Degree Programme, every student should be placed with the best of the brands. Proof of the pudding is in the eating - best-possible placement for these young guns is the finest advertisement for Shoolini School of Hospitality.  

Currently, 2nd year students are about to embark on their 6-month Internship from January-June 2019 with acclaimed brands like Cecil Oberoi, ITC Grand Goa, Ramada Chandigarh, Hyatt Regency Chandigarh; ITC WelcomHotel Dwarka in Delhi. 

Message to the young generations 

Mr. Mazumdar has the following suggestions to students:-

  • Have fun but understand the line of difference between fun and seriousness. 
  • Try to have a goal, even if it is unclear right now. Take one baby-step at a time towards it until it becomes bright and clear. 
  • Be a profitable return on investment for those parents who have put all at stake for you.