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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 42 | November 04, 2007|


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Battle of the Minds Begins at NSU

Quazi Zulquarnain Islam

In the age of reality TV, game shows are just about the one thing always going. It has gone to the extent that most shows follow a generic format -- promise of glory, striving to gain that glory and then concentrated efforts by the contestants, ending either in tears of failure or smiles of joy, judged of course by an expert panel.

It is a tried and trusted format that has gained a lot of following over the last few years but one which is considered by many a tad 'lightweight.'

But then along comes something like the much-vaunted Battle of the Minds and you are forced to break your concrete impressions and change your mind.

The British American Tobacco Bangladesh (BATB) funded program, in its fourth edition (or season) has gone for a controlled expansion this year adding to the national level competition by going more 'micro,' i.e, being personally involved in drafting students from the universities by holding sessions at their premises across the country.

For those not familiar with the Battle of the Minds (and there shall be very few!), the goal is to 'solve a case.' Stripped of business jargon it translates to running market analyses to a given case, a sort of unseen comprehension if you may. Teams consist usually of 3-4 members who are given an hour to crack the case and make a presentation in front of an expert panel of judges who then select the winner. The main objective is to bring talent from across the nation in the same platform so that they can analyse their status against those of other universities. Additionally the involvement of faculty members and corporate personnel as judges help the participants gain an exposé into the corporate world.

As aforementioned, this year Battle of the Minds has gone through a controlled overhaul and when it kicked off at North South University (NSU) on October 25 it did so amidst scenes of nervous tension, packed crowds, prospective job seekers and enthusiastic participants all believing that they could be the one.

There was a lot of pre-hype surrounding the event, nurtured through the various posters and banners highlighting the event and evident by the high turnout, and ceaseless support from volunteers and clubs.

The intently watching crowd was kept busy initially by the oratory skills of the present BATB staff, who went on to outline their company's social welfare tasks and then explained why it was such a wonderful place to work.

By then it was time for the main event. The anxiety amongst the crowd spread fast as the pre-selected candidates were broken up into three groups of four each, taken into seclusion and provided with the case that they had to solve.

After an hour of much activity by the contestants and nail-biting by friends and well-wishers the waiting crowd was quenched of their thirst as the participants came out to do their presentations.

North South University provided three teams and while all three had a bit of the jitters, most contestants managed to distinguish themselves by their thorough research, well articulated power point slides and solid presentation skills.

One participant, a Finance and International Business major in his senior year confessed to be more than a little excited at the 'opportunity to participate in an event of this magnitude' and vowed to make the most of it by 'giving his best' as he was well aware of the 'competition for places.'

All the others brought different skills to the event and served to make NSU a more than remarkable kick-off venue.

But the judging was yet to be done. Top brass NSU faculties that included Dilara Afroz Khan, Mariam Zamaila and Mobina Hassan spared no quarter as they dug into the students, querying and questioning every little statement.

Suffice to say that the students dealt well with the stern-examination and as Mobina Hassan put it, 'it will stand them in good stead come the nationals when they will be representing NSU before the nation.'

That ended the question/answer session and brought a conclusion to the involvement of the crowd as the contestants were hurriedly ushered away amidst 'good lucks' and 'well done' for an online mathematical & verbal reasoning test.

NSU distinguished itself as a quite hospitable host and if the energy level was the sole indicator to go by, the program was a huge success.

The vigour of the crowd was evident during a notable and aptly named 'energizing session' conducted by Saood Bin Masood, HR Manager-Marketing of BATB, who channelled the students emotions into competitive mode with the help of a skit borrowed from the hit IMAX movie, '300'. (who says work has to be boring!)

Others who spoke on the event were Zakir Ibne Hai, Corporate Communication Manager of BATB, who outlined the basic social welfare tasks carried out by BATB and was ably supported by Sanzid Alvi Ahmed, HR Manager-Talent & Resourcing and Jahid Shafique, MT, HR who went to explain why BATB was such a wonderful place to work at.

With this long and intriguing event, The Battle of the
Minds has well and truly begun.

Are you strong enough?


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