“…one of my goals is to develop a close collaboration with Boston University in the form of group projects”
I have read somewhere that since the beginning of times, men’s success lies in keeping the promises they make for themselves and creating the world that they want to live in. Helping them in achieving this goal are rock-hard persistence, diligence and talent. These thoughts have come to mind with regards to Dr. Martin Zsarnóczky, whose application work hasbeen selected at the 6th TOP 30 MasterClass 2018 program, and who has been awarded after the committee has judged over almost ten thousand other applications. The work of thirty, bright researchers will have an important role in the next planning stage of the cohesion goals of the European Union. We have touched upon work and other topics as well with the professor of Kodolányi János University.
When and where from have you joined the tourism department of Kodolányi?
I came from Corvinus University of Budapest, this year in August. I was an assistant professor at the tourism department of Corvinus University’s Marketing and Media Institute.
What have you previously heard about our university?
Kodolányi University has been a student-centric institution ever since its establishment in Hungary’s higher education. Other than this I’ve heard only that the team of educators are working together in a familiar atmosphere.
Professional challenges and opportunities motivate people to change jobs and look for new career paths, even when they are satisfied in their work environment. Why, in this process, have you chosen Kodolányi?
Corvinus University has been a defining and important milestone in my professional career. However, if you need to adhere to global expectations on a high level, this will require taking part in a wide range of activities. Kodolányi is a unique partner in this in Hungary.From an international perspective, today’s educators are also researchers and business professionals with appropriate experiences. Kodolányi is considered to be a strong institution from the perspective that educators have a theoretic as well asappliedprofessional knowledge, which is complemented by the practical experience of the institution’s active students. This is considered an exquisite, creative atmosphere in our national higher education.
Where do you have your degree and experience from? I am thinking about university, high-school, professional experiences.
I have started my studies in the field of hotel and catering trade, mostly due to my family background of entrepreneurs. I have started my studies in Gyöngyös and Eger. After gaining some experience at a hotel industry in Germany I have been accepted to study at the department of tourism and catering of Budapest Business School. After this, as a way to complement my theoretical knowledge, I continued my professional career in the United States and Asia, at multinational companies like P&O Princess Cruises and Marriott International. As my life has always been characterized by an active business perspective – I have started my first business at age 19 – I have always been a part of several tourism and/or catering related business ventures. By gathering all the knowledge I have acquired over the years, I have taken part in the establishment and start of an educational institution in the field of tourism. This process has been parallel to my studies in pedagogy at Budapest Business School. In my spare time, as social engagement, I am working at the Budapest Chamber of Commerce and Industry and am an active member of the Heves County Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture and the American Chambers of Commerce and Industry, headquartered in New York.
What is your narrower field of expertise?
I have finished the studies relevant to my research at Szent István University’s EnyediGyörgy School of Regional Studies and the DutchUniversity of Twente’sGeo-information Science and Earth ObservationMaster’s program. The scientific field incorporating the complex interpretation of well-being and life quality are closely related to my previous touristic studies. At present, together with my colleagues, we are examining regional, generational and demographic correlations in our Matralab research institute, which has been created for this purpose. We have also achieved important international successes.
In October you participated at a huge event in Brussels relating to this. What were your experiences?
At the European Week of Regions and Cities event organized by the European Commission six thousand experts have contributed and one hundred and fifty workshops and communication forums have been organized for the interested professionals. The standard of the event can be emphasized by the fact that Jean-Claude Junker, president of the European Commission, and Pavel Telicka, vice president, have personally taken part at several popular programs. At the 6th TOP 30 MasterClass 2018 program, I have been selected among the work of thirty bright researchers and have been awarded after the committee has judged over almost ten thousand other applications. These will have an important role in the next planning stage of the cohesion goals of the European Union. I, personally, think that this event is one of the most important milestones of my carrier and this award and recognition means that our work is of high value and is headed in the right direction.
Reverting to your activities as an educator, all of this is obviously embedded in your classes. What kind of subjects do you have and which level groups do you teach at Kodolányi?
At present I am taking part in the work of the tourism department. I am teaching theoretical and practical subjects in which creative group assignments, lifelike operational problems and the creation of real, usable and achievable studies play an important role. One of my key responsibilities is combining students’ group exercises with personal creativity and to take part in the working practice of personalized innovative education at Kodolányi. Currently, next to my Kodolányi educational work, there is a student project taking place at Boston University, much like the one described before. As part of this program, the most active American students had the opportunity to visit Hungary in September. One of my personal goals at Kodolányi isto have a chance to develop a close collaboration with Boston University in the form of group projects, which – if successful – could start next semester. We are putting in a lot of effort with my department head, Dr. Tamara Ratz, to make this happen.
What is your opinion of Kodolányi students?
I have noticed from the beginning that there are a lot of loyal students visiting the institution’s buildings. I am convinced that the student who return to study at the university, after finishing their BA and getting some experience, represent a value which must be reciprocated by the educators. I think that the mentor program, thematic weeks and theinformal student environment at Kodolányi are great because they all contribute to the quality of the education that the students will acquire.President Dr. Peter Szabo has also been a great influence on me when he spoke about his views on education, long term plans regarding the institution and the possibility of creating a doctoral school. This approach provides a guarantee to students, which is truly remarkable.
Who do you consider to be your role model?
During my life journey, apart from family members, I am extremely grateful to three people. Professor Albert Laszlo Barabasi, world renowned network researcher, has provided me with vital guidance at a professionally very important moment. The scientific career and experience of Professor Laszlo Zaborszky, president of the New York Hungarian Scientific Society,have played an important part in making my own decisions. Dr. Peter Szende, vice-dean of Boston University, with his great work ethic and international activities during our day to day collaboration, is keeping me motivated.
Despite your young age, you have managed to build yourself a name in this profession, this must entail a lot of work. What is your personal motivation for success?
I have recently become a father to my little girl, Lilien Bella, who has brought a new light into our life. My wife and I are extremely happy because the arrival of a new family member brings new challenges and opportunities as well. Our goal and hope is to have more than one child and, as so many others, I am trying to find the balance between work and family life.