Battle At Its Best
Sarah Z H
BATTLE of Minds more commonly known as BoM among the many business students in their senior year and fresh graduates around the country is one of the most promising competitions offering real life entrepreneurial experience to help prepare for the extremely competetive job market. Over the years, since its launch in 2004 with only 5 participating universities, the competition has been serving as a platform for these talented young individuals to evolve themselves through excercising branding, research methodology etc in the context of business cases on contemporary issues.
Battle of Minds 2009 with the view- Bring Your Difference had recieved an amazing response of 4,697 website hits and 825 students were registered to be a part of this eventful journey. And finally with 186 students buckled up for the excitement BoM 2009 began its pre-launch and university engagement activities. The long hours of campus branding and online registrations lead to the road shows and grooming sessions for the participants having opportunities to interact within themselves, branding oneself (part of individual assesment) and the building of the 8 teams; having 4 members each for the grand finale. From the list of 16 top institutions (Institute of Business Adminstration, Dhaka University), North South University, Dhaka University Management Department, Dhaka UNiversity Finance Department, Dhaka University Marketing Department, Khulna University, Islamic University of Technology, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Jahangirnagar University, Shahjalal University of Sciences and Technology, Chittagong University, East West University, American International University Bnagladesh, Independent University Bangladesh,BRAC University and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology)only 8 teams were fished out for a greater challenge ahead.
The battle thus began with these teams competing against each other on the grounds- research planning, market reasearch (real time activity in a particular area of the city) and preparation of the entry strategy for the coming day.
And as they headed their way back to base (BATB premises) after a visit to the markets, they were asked to prepare a proposal presentation, their topic being the Ice Cream Industry of the country.During the first day, these students were given exactly the same kind of work environment as the BATB officials to carry out their research and presentation plans.
The next day, based on the empirical research data collected earlier by the teams and the proposal presentation, six finalists (Institute of Business Adminstration, Dhaka University, East West University, Chittagong University, American International University Bangladesh, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and North South University) were shortlisted. Each team was given a coach assignment for the final event on 16 November.
BoM, the business case solving competetion, a first in the history of its kind is now being taken up by many countries like Malaysia, Pakistan and South Korea.The one month long comepetion showed great passion on the part of the students who wants to excel in the corporate world. BoM extensively asseses participants through a process of HR and works on areas like skill development regarding product branding and the promotion of financial and economic education. BoM also bids the participants to work with them in different managerial positions.
On the day of the final battle, the lights zoomed in to put an end to the anticipation for the program to begin. Shabab Ahmed Chowdhury, Management Trainee, BATB and also former participant of BoM welcomed everyone with a presentation on the activities of British American Tobacco Bangladesh as one of the leading MNCs of the country. The welcome address was given by Syed Imtiaz Faruque, Head of HR, BATB.He thanked the respected faculties and parents for their support in making BoM successful.''Like we do our business in a very dynamic way, Battle of Minds 2009 has also brought in dynamism in how it caters to the needs of today's young talents, labled popularly as the Gen Ys.'' He also added,'' I am very proud of what the project team and the participants have delivered so far and am very optimistic about the show that this year's BoMers will put together in the next few hours.''
The judges table included Ziaul Karim, Editor, Ice Today; Shama R Alam, Group Finance Director, Duncan Brothers Bangladesh; Akku Chowdhary, Excecutive Director, Transcom Foods Ltd. and Syed Imtiaz Faruque, Head of HR, BATB.The Chief Guest for the evening was Ahsan H Mansoor, Executive Director, Policy Research Institute.''I must say, this is a very different type of an event in the context of Bangladesh.I have seen how motivational can such things be for the young people. We'd like to see more of these events in Bangladesh'' said Ahsan H Mansoor.
The teams having very interesting names for their ice cream companies like Fruit sizzlers, Unicorns, Thanda and Frostiz presented before the judges and the audience showing how each of their business plans were justified and ready to put to use by the investors, their unique brand strategy and how their market resreach had enabled them to come up with the most creative of products. The team El Helado came up with a new form of ice cream bar called Brapple (an apple flavoured bar) whereas team Thanda offered an option called Ice Cream Mix which gives the customers a chance to try out making ice cream at home. Team Thanda also had a very fresh idea of intoducing the Lipstick Ice Cream (a lolly shaped like a lipstick) which earned them brown points as judges decided to present them with an additional award. More than one teams promoted diet ice cream stressing on health issues.
After all the presentations were done, the teams were given a chance to promote their products directly through the stalls that were set up for evryone to visit. Judges took a quick stroll around the stalls to decide on their final investment decision meaning figuring out the winners of the day.the Audience were also encouraged to involve themselves in the process of investing.
Shortly before the winners were announced the alumni of BoM were called to the stage to muse over their past experiences and recall the happy memories. Alan Davy, MD BATB in his closing speech stated,'' One of the intregal part of the competetion has been the faculties who have inspired the students throughout.'' Later the winners of Battle of Minds 2009, North South University taking in and their team being named after Glaciers received the crests. The first and the second runners up of the evening were American International University Bangaldesh and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology.
''Battle of Minds is a contribution to Bangladesh that is unique in a clutter of conventional CSR activities we see around us today. Unlike mere marketing ploys, this aims to inspire and develop future business leaders. BAT's sincerity in organizing this event over the years has paid off, as it has now become a brand attracting young bright minds from all over the country'' commented Khondker Galib B Mohiuddin, Lecturer, School of Business, NSU.
Battle of Minds thus today is associated with passion, progressive thinking, personal development, partnership and intellectual contribution to the nation.
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