By Arindam Mohanty

Winning the prestigious ESOMAR Young Researcher Award for 2015 was an exercise in patience, preparation and inspiration. Right from the word ‘go’, the experience of submitting my paper, working on my main presentation deck and moreover, the fieldwork that supported my paper were not only great fun but also, a rigourous process that taught me a valuable lesson or two as a researcher.

The award itself has won me much praise and admiration from all quarters of our industry as well as from clients. The entire process makes you feel like you have grown and come a long way as a researcher – from the nervous photojournalist and travel writer who wanted to try his hand at qualitative research barely four years ago to presenting to the industry fraternity at a high profile event such as the ESOMAR Congress, competing for a prestigious award.

But more than anything else, the entire experience has inspired an attitude in me that I thought had faded with the years – a child-like curiosity about the world around and the confidence to take on any challenge and give it one’s best shot. I guess that whether it’s this award or any event remotely enormous in our lives in any form, events like these have the ability to change our lives forever – not only at a professional level (and the benefits are tangible and exciting!) but also, at a personal level. And it is this personal metamorphosis that I must stress on as my key take-away from this experience.

While the enormity of the event and the award were enough to give me the proverbial butterflies in the stomach, it’s the width and depth of my experience at the ESOMAR Congress that made it worthwhile.

The experience allowed me to connect not only with researchers doing similar work across age but also, my peers. And needless to say, interacting with your peers at events like this adds a completely new meaning to your own experience. Even better is the fact that these interactions leave you knowing that you’ve made a few new friends!

Also, being relatively young in the industry helped– many a lady and gentleman with years of experience were ever so happy to share their thoughts and ideas and listen to mine with critical appreciation.

The team at ESOMAR was fabulous all through – guiding me through the entire process, right from being intimated about the award to preparing my presentation, briefing calls and planning my travel. A special mention to Danika Smit, who handled one hurdle after another with élan!

Will I come back? Of course I will! We all should – for the congress and the award are a fabulous way to push our own boundaries and add meaning to who we are as researchers and as people. The award, with its suggested topics and points of exploration will make you want to cross the limits of your imagination and give you something you’ve been waiting for – new ideas, new experiences and new paradigms.

Arindam Mohanty is Research Manager at The Third Eye, India. 

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