meeting with Paras

Paras is a name that implies a touchstone that turns everything to gold. As special as the name, Paras is a truly remarkable person. I first met him at the HKU Cyberport campus, and had a very pleasant conversation with him. He asked me about my past experiences in marketing and NGOs and I found him to be very friendly and inquisitive. Not only that, I found him to be a great team player, always contributing by sharing his insightful and creative ideas and bringing new and unique perspectives in class.

(For below, Q referred to as questions from HKU MBA marketing club, P stands for Paras)

Q: How would you describe yourself in three words.

P: Actually, I would like to use one word to describe myself, which is inquisitive. I like to try different sorts of things. One of the reasons I choose to become a mechanical engineer is because of my inquisitive nature. Each year in my university studies, I built something for competitions. The first year, a bike, second year, a rocket in a competition sponsored by Space X, third year, a vapour absorption refrigeration system, and final year, catalytic converter. I like to build things with my hands, from scratch.

Q: How would you like others to describe you?

P: I would like people to think that I am fun to hang out with, they can trust me and have open communication with me. I am working with a start-up now and I have this team of people working with me. I want them to be able to tell me whatever problems they are facing. No matter what time it is, they can always reach out to me. Drop me a text message (if I am in class) and I will always get back to them. I never disappoint them, and I am always there for them.

Q: Please share with us a memorable story from work.

P: I have a lot of memorable stories…actually. (Laugh) After engineering I joined Hilti Group where I was working as an Account Manager, and I worked in different regions in India. This story took place in Mumbai last year. I was handling projects for one of the largest facade contractors in India, one of which is the largest super-luxury condos. My role there was that of facade account manager. Facade is the exterior of a building, which can be made of glass, stone and we help clients design the anchors/fasteners for the facade by doing structural load calculations. In this case, the contractor was facing a problem with their railing which were wobbling on the joint. Everything was correct from a structural point of view, but the nut bolt was not tight enough to fix stop movement at he joint. Since the building was 50+ stories in height, doing welding on each joint would have been a humongous waste of time. Finally, we came up with a solution. My company has this particular product, a direct fastening gun, like in those Final Destination movies. This type of gun could connect metal to metal joints so that they could directly punch nails into the metal. This was quite a creative way to solve the problem. We tried the demonstration, did the technical analysis, submitted the report to the developer and got the product approved for this application. This indeed saved the client a lot of time.

Q: Please share with us about someone who you worked with that you like or don’t like about.

P: I have been lucky enough to have nice reporting managers in all my jobs. This was my third reporting manager and I worked with him for a long time. He is one of the best leaders I have ever seen. When you are working in sales, there are huge targets to achieve. In my organisation, we had month-to-month targets. And on the last day of the month, you had a lot of pressure. You would ask yourself, am I achieving my targets or not? My reporting manager is very professional and a remarkable person. He was always respectful to us. I remember this one instance when we were not having a good month, if it were for other line managers, they would have been irritated and not happy at all. But after we closed off, he took us out and told us to relax. In fact, he was one of the people who motivated me to go ahead and do an MBA. He was not only my line manager, but a mentor to me as well. He believed in me and told me that I could do better.

Q: Please share with us your experience at HKU MBA.

P: Although it has been a month, but it feels like the journey has just started. Our schedule is quite busy, which doesn’t leave me much time to think about other things, but it is super fun, I am learning so much from people from different backgrounds. Whenever we have classroom discussions or one-on-one discussions, people share their personal experiences, and it gives you a new perspective on a that topic. I think this is one of the reasons that I wanted to do an MBA. Interacting with people and learning from their insights, that other people might take years to gain…the contextual learning, it is priceless.

Q: What do you want to do in your free time?

P: I don’t have too much free time now. But at my leisure, I would watch all genres of movies. During the pandemic, I started playing chess, which was great fun.

Q: Imagine we are now on July 2032, Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? What are you doing after?

P: Well, for me the location is always secondary. It is always about the people who are there. I would always choose people (whoever I am spending time with) over location. I could be in the worst restaurant in the world which serves the least favorable food, but as long as I am there with my friends and people I love to hang out with and we are having a good time, that’s what matters. Even ten years down the line, having a good time with people I love is what I want. I aspire to help people, changing the life of even one person or one child, that would be something worthwhile.

He touched a soul or two

along the way

trying not to bruise them

as he smiled and waved

and lived his day

out loud so life

could hear him sing.

Just like his manager said, Paras holds much more power than he gives himself credit for. We believe that in the future, Paras would continue to help people and make a difference in the world.