Battle of Minds 2008
Clash of the Future Entrepreneurs
Tawsif Saleheen & Sarah Z H
Battle Of Minds is BAT Bangladesh's flagship event to bring the national talent pool together for development. Battle of Minds, a competition of business case presentations, started in 2004 with the participation of 5 business schools. The event expanded with 9 teams and 11 teams taking part in 2005 and 2006 respectively. In 2007 the competition got even bigger with the participation of 15 teams from 11 universities. This year, the competition saw the participation of 15 teams from 11 universities.
Since 2007, Battle of Minds began to pose contemporary national issues as topics for presentation. This year, the teams who qualified into the semi-finals were asked to discuss and present on the promotion of foreign direct investment in Bangladesh.
In the first stage, each university sent its best 12 talents from the business and technical disciplines. Later the number of participants from each university was reduced to best 9 on the basis of a written test. These 9 participants formed 3 teams (each with three participants) and participated in the case solving competition to secure their position in the top 4 representing their universities in the Battle of Minds competition.
15 winning teams from 11 universities were invited to a training designed to improve their presentation skills. 10 teams qualified into the semi-final where they presented business proposals on specific topics assigned to them in front of a panel of judges.
Out of the 10 teams, 6 teams made it to the finals of Battle of Minds 2008 where they will be presenting the full business execution plan of proposals put forth during the semi-finals. The finalist teams that paved their way to the finals of the Battle of Minds 2008 were University of Dhaka-Department of Management, University of Dhaka-Department of Marketing, American International University Bangladesh, BRAC University, East West University and Khulna University. After the formal inaugural of the grand finale of battle of Minds 2008 the presentations were made one after another.Foremost in the line was Khulna University who presented on 'Creating a local and global market for the flowers of Bangladesh. The winners of the yester year were dubious about their performance and didn't show much confidence even though they had made it to the finals.
The Q/A session more commonly acknowledged as the 'grilling' session was specially challenging for them. Team AIUB presented on a more topic of the day-'Call centre business in Bangladesh '. According to them the presentation which was well taken care of could not suffice to make a better impression on the judges. They had faced startling questions which were mostly based on the judges' own experiences. East West University the 1st Runners up had performed exceptionally well in the Q/A session, which brought about confidence in the team members. Their presentation a well researched one was appreciated by the judges and the audience.
The 2nd runners up, DU marketing who presented on 'Globalising Bangladesh canned fruit' also received applause for their performance. The team that put in the utmost amount of creativity in making their presentation which was on 'Creating a global market for Bangladeshi terra cotta products' were the proud winners of battle of Minds 2008.BRAC University team taking in Sadia Hossain, Asaf-Ud-Daula, Anandi kabir and Sabrina Ali were congratulated by all who were present in the grand finale that came about in Radisson Water garden Hotel.
Mr. Ifty Islam, a respected judge in the occasion and the Managing Partner of Asian Tiger Capital Partners said that the general standard was very impressive. Given that the topic was chosen for them, they did a very remarkable job. A. Sanjida Kasem partner at A. Qasem and Co and a respected judge at the occasion concurred. She admitted that Battle of Minds is teaching the blooming talents of our country to work in a team, and giving them a feel of the corporate world.
Also judging the occasion was Mr. Syed Imtiaz Faruque the head of Human Resource at BATB.
He admitted that the contestants have done remarkably well in terms of handling stress, and done brilliant presentations overall.
After the results were announced the winners were overwhelmed with joy. So were the faculty members who had come all the way to support their students. Dr. Iftekhar Ghani Chowdhury, the Head of the BBA Department of BRAC University, the BOM champion this year, admitted quite jovially that his students are as good as anyone in the market and a victory of this proportion was inevitable.
The ending note was given out by the chief guest of the program Mr.Farooq Sobhan, President of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI). He thanked the organizers BAT (British American Tobacco) for not only arranging such a competition but also staying with it for such a long period of time. Later in the afternoon the judges were given a token of appreciation by the Chairman of BATB and the program ended as the Battle of Minds team of 2008 took photographs with the winners, judges and the guests.
(R) thedailystar.net 2008