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Bangladesh MBA Association, in association with Bangladesh Brand Forum, organized a discussion on September 30 at IBA Alumni Club. The theme of the discussion was “Academia-Industry Partnerships: Business Education Perspective”.

Having some of the top leaders from industry and academia in the audience, the panel consisted of Abrar A Anwar, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered Bangladesh; Shehzad Munim, Managing Director, British American Tobacco Bangladesh; M. Mahboob Rahman, PhD, Dean & Professor of Business, North South University; MD Ridhwanul Haq, PhD, Associate Professor & BBA Chairperson, IBA, University of Dhaka. It was moderated by Mehnaz Kabir, Group Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Rangs Group.

The focus of the discussion was on restructuring the nation’s education system and joint initiatives by the industry and academia that would play an important part in reducing the skill gap in the years to come. Here are some top observations from the four panelists.

Abrar A Anwar: For sustainability, we look at foreign resources and slowly, we are inclining towards local resources. We have more than a hundred Bangladeshis working abroad for SCB. We get raw talents and we have the required infrastructure to groom them up. There are certain structural issues. For example, we only have the traditional financial products. We do not have options, derivatives or the opportunity for interest hedging.





Dr. Mohammad Mahboob Rahman: We need a systematic platform for universities and corporates. Why business schools? Because today, students are finding it more useful to watch a 10 minutes video on YouTube than listening to a 90 minutes lecture at class. Academicians and universities need to reinvent themselves in new ways that create value for students. Online learning is a taboo.



Shehzad Munim: We get good talents. BAT only has three expatriates and all the rest are Bangladeshis. We have our own training and development infrastructure. However, there is a massive lack of T&D in the local companies. Thus, we do not have enough people who are capable of taking responsibilities. Education needs to expand beyond the boundaries of university leadership. Only then, leadership can be developed within employees. Thinking beyond the horizon is something that lacks in mid-level managers in Bangladesh.





MD Ridhwanul Haq: We are yet to address these problems. Education market is not an industry yet. But, university education needs to be addressed as an industry. A three-month internship cannot be enough. Students need to engage themselves with the corporate environment from the very first day. They should spend at least one week in corporate environment every semester. We need to work on content development that includes cases and facts. Students need to understand the difference between job and career.


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