Prof. Irfan Mirza, Director/Principal V. M. Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education
Prof. Irfan Mirza, a self-motivated and disciplined person, comes from a learned family. His father is a lawyer and his brother a doctor by profession. Though his father wanted him to pursue medicine, however Prof. Mirza’s passion lay with hospitality industry and made a career of it. After a few years he realised that he needed to achieve something more. So he completed programs in Food & Beverage Management from The International College of Hotel, Montana – Switzerland, Hotel Management from Cesar Ritz Colleges, Switzerland and later graduated from Regional Technical College, Galway, Ireland even before the specified time limit. From then on, there was no looking back. He has many coveted diplomas to his credit. He has also authored many books. He was inspired by Mr. B. K. Goswami, then the Director General of Tourism, Government of India, to enter the teaching profession.
A veteran in the hospitality industry, he has a vast experience of about 32 years in India, and at the international level. He was the Founder/Principal of Oriental Institute of Hotel Management, Kerala. He worked as a Director of Academic Relations – India, and was the visiting lecturer at Cesar Ritz College, Switzerland. He was a Senior Trainer & Specialist at Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Dubai. He is instrumental in setting up various other Hotel Management Schools in Chandigarh, Baroda and Abu Dhabi. Today he holds the post of Principal/Director of the Salgaocar Institute of International Hospitality Education, Manora-Raia, Goa.
Mr. Mirza asserts that, “You should never give up, come what may”. For him, success is not a destination but it is a journey. According to him, if you are successful today, you may face failure tomorrow. So one should never give up. Life is full of ups and downs. Failure is a stepping stone to success. He believes that even if you are successful, you have to be humble like Dr. Abdul Kalam.
Humility is the base of the hospitality industry. In hospitality, one should have the right attitude and approach to make the guests happy since there are multiple effects of a small gesture or an extra effort. Mr. Mirza states that the staff should not be envious of the guests as they deserve the best of everything. Excellence is all about trying to do something better than before. He believes that you should never say no, but try and convert “no” into a “yes”.
Speaking about the curriculum, Prof. Mirza feels it needs to change as per changing times, otherwise an outdated curriculum will not benefit students. Today the guests needs have changed. So, there should be innovation in every aspect to meet the customer expectations with the changing times. Hospitality is a customer oriented business and it teaches you to manage things.
He personally feels that hospitality business is not for everyone. Only those who really have the passion should join the industry. His advice to youngsters who wish to join this service industry is –One should have positive attitude along with knowledge and skills. Without the right attitude, knowledge and skills are of no use. One more important requirement is patience. Students of hospitality think that they can become managers soon after they graduate, which is not true. They have to start from scratch and slowly climb the ladder of success.
According to him youngsters should not learn the tricks of the trade but they should learn the trade itself. He feels so because today youngsters think they can learn anything through YouTube and Google. This thinking and attitude of the youth sets a weak foundation which may cause everything to crash. So the foundation should be strong. He deems that a person who can cope with hospitality business is very much competent to handle any other business.
Prof. Mirza says you have to pay attention to the minute details and requirements of the customers. Today guests are becoming more demanding.
“HOSPITALITY IS ABOUT PEOPLE NOT ABOUT YOUR HOUSE OR THE FOOD OR THE DECORATIONS OR HOW THE TABLE IS SET, TRUE HOSPITALITY CONSISTS OF GIVING THE BEST OF YOURSELF TO YOUR GUEST”.