On the 31st of October Halloween was celebrated throughout the world. Even until 10 years ago, it was something we only got to see in movies, cartoons or TV shows. The costumes, stories of trick or treating and everything in between fascinated us. Our generation fed on things like ‘The Addams Family’, ‘Hocus Pocus’, ‘Halloween Town’ and much more. It didn’t come as much of a surprise when we grew up people started embracing and celebrating the culture.
What is Halloween anyway?
This tradition has somehow managed to influence us although it has pagan origins. The tradition goes back to a two thousand years old ancient Celtic festival of Samhain. People wore costumes to avert ghosts and spirits. After the Romans took over, most of the Celtic regions and some of their traditions got mixed in with this old tradition. Later American people started following their own version of the rituals. Gradually, other cultures around the world mixed, matched and adapted versions of Halloween into their merrymaking. In the same way, Halloween is now celebrated in Bangladesh.
What does Dhaka have to offer
There are tons of things to do in the city of Dhaka. If you are into movies, Cineplex presents the latest horror movies. You can reminisce your childhood by dressing up as your favorite characters. Attend cosplay competitions. Go to the various private Halloween parties that are held throughout the city. Even five years ago these events weren’t as prevalent into our mainstream city culture in such a scale. Almost every well-known hotel has different arrangements for Halloween.
A recurring event is the Haunted House at Four Seasons. They trap participants into a resort for a horrifying experience. This year the Haunted House will be spooking their guests till the 3rd of November. Some say its like living through a horror movie. Also, hotels like Pan Pacific Sonargaon, Regency, and Six Season all hosted special events such as Halloween Party 2018, Halloween carnival, Halloween Haul 2018, Halloween Expo etc. In these people participated in cosplays, watched magic shows, storytelling and much more.
Let your inner Morticia Addams come out. Once a year revisit or enact the inner child, bring back your best Scooby Doo, X-File, Pikachu and all. Dhaka’s Halloween craze is something that we millennial and young adult have been craving for a significant while. So we wish you an eerie, spooky, hair-raising, spell-binding Halloween and may you have a bag full of candy, bones, bats and amazing memories.
It’s that time of the year again when you will have to go through your closet to find sarees and panjabis that shoutout “Amit Ray” and “Labannya” from “Shesher Kobita”. Yes! It’s time for this year’s Durga Puja and all the festivities it brings along with it. During these festivities, it is hard not to jump into the celebrations like everyone else. Any event or occasion in Bangladesh is as hectic as they come, and you will meet a wide spectrum of peoples in these five days. Somehow we all have a particular role to play. So, here are the handful of the different types of people you will probably bump into this puja. So which one of the following types will you fall under?
The ultimate mandap hoppers
If you live in Dhaka there are a host of options for you to choose from for your puja hopping adventures. Almost every neighbourhood has little their mandaps set up for the occasion. However, there will be some who won’t be satisfied by going to just one or two mandaps. They will not leave out a single puja mandaps in the vicinity. From Jagannath Hall to Dhakeshwari Temple to Banani to God knows where they will be there battling through Dhaka’s traffic. Where do they get the energy?
The social media fanatics
These are the bunch who dedicate their lives to social media. You will see them in the perfect puja attire going to fancy restaurants with the best offers for this holiday. Also, they will not leave out any of the typical puja rituals either. From dressing up like Aishwarya Ray in Devdas to ringing the puja bell to playing with siddur, you name it. They will have done it all as you can see from their Snapchat stories and Instagram feeds. And don’t forget the hashtags #shoptomi, #oshtomi, #nobomi, #doshomi, #PostPujaShenanigans.
The unfortunate hosts
In every circle, there will be one or two unfortunate beings whose homes become the ideal spot for post puja hopping hangouts. Your close one or two Hindu friends will be there as your saviour and accommodate you after a long day of hopping around. They will have to feed all the hungry ones that end up in their doorsteps while also managing to juggle their ongoing family responsibilities as well. But can you really blame us? Luchis are love, luchis are life.
The ones that are never there
AKA the getaway groups. These are the individual who always either makes plans or are the most hyped about it. But when it comes to actually appearing they somehow always manage to go out on quick one or two-day getaways out of town. Because no matter what you plan on puja it cannot measure up to their special getaways. Plus they somehow always have the perfect excuse that ends up saving their sorry asses. I must say these people are the smartest and are the ones winning at life.
And last but not the least, the people who never get any puja vacation
These are the guys who belong to the institutions (ahem ahem, private medicals students) or workplaces in which they never give any vacation during puja. They are the saddest bunch. They will have to work hard all day and after getting home will have to tolerate the social media fanatics online. If you are one of them take my advice and avoid social media for a few days.
So here’s to all the different type of people we will be meeting during this puja season and শারদীয় শুভেচ্ছা ও ভালোবাসা.
Midnight? Hungry? We have all looked at our clock, hungry, thinking its too late to get food. Feel no despair at the next all-nighter, missed bedtime. Press yes for ‘Are you still watching?’ on Netflix, because there are selected places to get food from, in Dhaka, after dark. Yes, the options during these hours limited, but here is a list for the night owls with unusual appetites:
Pizza is a safe bet for night cravings. Pizza Roma serves (arguably) the best pizza in town. They stay open until midnight. Pizza Roma takes late night orders through their Facebook page or through their website for delivery in Gulshan, Banani and Dhanmondi. Try their Pizza Diavola while you’re at it. Thank us later.
Tehari On Wheels
Don’t want the usual pizza or burger? Craving overflowing plates of rice and Bengali food? Tehari on Wheels serves traditional Tehari . They are open 24 hours. They also offer other items such as beef khichuri, hasher mangsho bhuna, etc. A plus, food delivery is available all day, all night. Find them on Facebook or give them a call for delivery services.
Tehari Avenue in Gulshan Road 119 has a simple straightforward menu that consists of tehari/chicken pulao and water/coke. The price tag does not take a toll on the ol’ wallet and it tastes amazing. They stay open until 1AM on Thursdays and Fridays.
Herfy is the latest in a long line of international food joints setting up shop in Bangladesh. This Saudi Arabian fast food joint offers up Burgers, Rice Meals, and Combos, French Fries, Chicken Fries etc. Their Gulshan outlet stays open till 2:00AM on weekends and till 2.30AM on weekends and holidays and offers both dine-in and takeaways. They offer free delivery service within Gulshan, Niketon, and Banani from 10PM to 1AM.
The Gulshan 2 branch of Premium Sweets is open till 2AM. Get delicious khicuri, kala bhuna, walimar roast as well as the usual sweets. Combo meals start at BDT 795.
Gulshan 2 Tel: 01759115124
Gulshan 1 Tel: 01755997678
Uttara Sector 7: 01796632672
Gloria Jeans Cafe
For something light or just coffee, go to Gloria Jeans. The Australian coffee chain stays open till 1:00 AM. Other than coffee, the chain serves sandwiches, light meals and baked goods such as lamingtons, chocolate mousse etc.
Gulshan Branch Tel: 01929-333999
Star Kabab and Restaurant
The most obvious choice is Star kabab, a landmark institution in Dhaka City. Get your fix of rice, fish, veg, mutton to kebabs 2 AM and offers late night dinner and snacks.
Nazirabazar, Old Dhaka
As always, we saved the best for the last.
If you’re hungry AND in a mood for adventure, head out to Nazirabazar in old Dhaka.
There is no traffic at 2 AM, So, it matters little where you’re staying. Given, you have a safe mode of transportation, of course. These buzzing lanes in old Dhaka stay open till very late and arrays of street food stalls and local cafes remain forever crowded. Chicken kebabs, beef chaps, lassis, fire paan, you name it. Fancy a cup of tea? Even the tongs will stay open. Eat to your heart’s content, the world is yours.
A good suit is an essential piece of clothing that every man need to have in their collection. Whether it’s for work, a wedding or any other formal event, having the right suit is indispensable in making the right impression. But picking out or tailoring ones next suit can be a daunting task for anyone. The fabric, size, style, colour, tailoring and budget all play their part in making the right suit. And for anyone who’s relatively inexperienced or getting their first suit on their own, it can be quite a headache. And the last thing any man wants is to not look good in their new suit.
So here are a few things men should keep in mind before getting their next suit.
Having a clear idea of the desired suit
Buying a new suit doesn’t start in the store, it starts in one’s head. Deciding on a two-piece or a three-piece suit, the colour, material, style or even buying it readymade or buying the cloth and tailoring it, is something one should have an idea off beforehand. Each option has its own merits and it’s on the buyer to decide which route they are going to take. So a clear vision is the first step in getting there.
Correctly matching the trousers with the coat
One of the biggest rookie mistakes is buying a black coat to match with a black pair of trousers. A suit is a matching coat and trousers made from the same type of fabric and colour. Merely matching two different coat and trousers, no matter how similar they are, is not going to work as well as one would think it would.
Sticking to the basics
When it comes to choosing the colour of suits, one can never go wrong with the classics. Sticking to the timeless black, grey, brown and navy blue color for suits is never a bad idea. And pairing them with the right shirt and tie is a sure-fire way to get the best out of the suit. Checkered and patterned suits are blowing up right now on Instagram and Facebook and that opens up the door to new possibilities. We do recommend losing the pinstripes as it does seem a bit dated.
Getting the right size
Unlike most other clothing suits don’t generally come in small, medium or large, rather they are fitted to the buyer’s measurements. So getting the correct measurement is crucial for anyone looking for a new suit, especially for the shoulders, torso and height. One of the most common missteps people make when getting a new suit is buying one that’s too big.
Pro tip: The suit should hug the wearer’s frame as closely as possible without it being tight.
Detailing of the lapel, buttons and hemming the trousers
Getting the right lapel style and the number of buttons are some of the finer detail but they are just as important. Lapel types are generally two; the notch style which is more casual and versatile and the more formal peak style. As for buttons, the buyer can go for two buttons to three buttons on the torso depending on their choice. Another detail to notice is whether the coat sleeves or trouser length is correct and hemming them if they are longer. Also when it comes to trousers, opting for flat front pants instead of the pleated pant are commendable.
A good tailor can make all the difference
It’s always wise to have a trusty tailor on hand for any altering or adjustment that may be required for a suit. And a good tailor can help you get the most out of a suit even if it’s a bit off or if it gets damaged. Most suits are made to be alterable and even a lower-priced suit, in the hands of a skilful tailor can make it look and feel much better.
Getting a suit is a rite of passage for many men and hopefully, the pointers above will help in getting the perfect suit next time around.
For as long as I can remember, I have been an intense reader. Throughout middle school and high school, my best friend and I bonded over “book-hunting” in the school library, and over the years we fought minotaurs with Percy Jackson, went on undercover spy missions at Cherub, fawned over Artemis Fowl’s criminal mastermind, hated Katniss Everdeen with a passion, and, of course, devoured page after page of Bella’s description of Edward Cullen’s perfect 45 degree angled nose (don’t pretend you didn’t have a Twilight phase).
In early 2017, I was reading a particularly popular novel by a particularly popular (male) author and I was reading through a paragraph (which was completely irrelevant to the rest of the plot of the book) in which the male protagonist lustfully described the only female character in the book, who just happened to be incredibly sexually appealing in all her intelligence and physique (but very careful as to not be too intelligent or too attractive so as to threaten our protagonist, of course).
As I suffered through the unnecessary account of how well she pulled off a white tank top and jean shorts, it dawned upon me that in my almost 20 years of life, I had not read nearly enough novels by female authors. It was at this point that I, utterly disgusted by the one-dimensionality of every female character I could recall in almost every novel I had read (however much I loved them), decided that 2017 would be the year that I would consciously choose to read more books by women.
Now before you go on calling me a feminazi and whatnot, I am not claiming that every book ever written by a man is inherently sexist or that men, by some default, cannot create complex female characters. I am only saying that there is an entire realm of emotions and experiences about being a woman that male writers have never experienced and therefore their writing does not reflect it.
Consciously reading books by female authors exposed me to a whole new representation of my identity as a woman. There are tiny bits and pieces of the life that only women know sprinkled into the details of each story that I had never before found in literature.
It was in Esther’s frustration with everyone around her waiting for her to turn her mind around about not wanting marriage and kids, in Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar’. It was in Scout from ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’s constant battle with her neighbours’ expectations of her to wear more dresses and stay in more as she grew older. It was in Francie’s observation of how women around her shamed other women for their sexuality in ‘A Tree Grows in Brooklyn’ – the cold hard reality of how women themselves pose obstacles to other women in a patriarchal society. In Alice Walker’s ‘The Color Purple’, it was the simple remark on how a lot of men talk to women – ‘mansplaining’ – which is sadly still relevant to a lot of our experiences today – “…they listen just long enough to issue instructions. They don’t even look at women when women are speaking.”
The unceasing struggle that I as a woman face against the patriarchal and conventional roles set for me has been experienced not only by women that I personally know but also by women before me – in 1930s Brooklyn, in 1800s England, in pre-Civil War Georgia – this discovery was both painful and wonderful to experience. As if the tiny secrets of survival that I have had to bear my entire life, that I never thought had space in literature, were being spilled out to women from all over the world and all timelines – getting together in solidarity and whispering, confessing, consoling, ‘Me too’. Yes – remember that hashtag? You’ll find traces of it in Austen and Bronte and Woolf and Eliot – forget not that some of these authors had to adopt male pseudonyms to have their work taken seriously, and some, such as George Eliot, are still known by their male pseudonym.
Long before they had the right to vote, these female characters defied sexist social standards in every way, most of all by thinking for themselves and being complex, intelligent, independent characters. In a world where women are still struggling to be heard and validated as full persons – through #metoo and #talkaboutit – I think that being a complex and independent person is the epitome of empowerment, and it is incredibly inspiring to see such empowered women splattered across the world throughout history, as if in some undisclosed unanimity.
If you are female, reading more books by women will connect you to the unmentioned little struggles of women who lived lives so vastly different from you. If you are not female, reading them (which I hope you do with the utmost respect to their experiences as women) will give you some very interesting and crucial understanding of the lives of all the women around you. For the #metoo era, to gain a full understanding and therefore validation of women’s experiences, the effort to consciously read more books by women is one that will move us forward. We must trace back to how the same patriarchal system has been poisoning our lives to as long as women have broken silence through the defiant act of writing.
Other countries get snow and all the wonders that come along with the soft white stuff, but having a mild, temperate winter means we Bangladeshis get a very different kind of experience. We have our own ways of celebrating and staying warm; our own culture and heritage define a lot of what we do in these months.
Dust off the kombol suitcases and bring down the woolen sweaters tucked away in the back of the closet. You can spend away on faux leather jackets and Kashmiri shawls, how more often than not, winter clothing is strictly a fashion statement rather than being absolute necessities. It just doesn’t get that cold. Bangladesh’s mild winters mean the thermal underwear that you’d typically need to not die in the barren, frozen wastes of Canada is not needed. There is plenty of room to mix and match your winter style.
Anything goes—from the traditional shawl wrapped over a suitably ethnic Panjabi, to hoodies emblazoned with the logos of your favorite English Premier League football team. Winter is a chance for already expressive Bangladeshis to show more of their style with each additional layer of clothing. The cold can still get to you (2018 saw the lowest temperatures in nearly 50 years), especially at night. It’s a good idea to cover up and take extra protection in the form of mufflers.
Summer weddings in Bangladesh are a terrible idea. Who wants to see the typical local aunty’s face-paint melting in the sweltering heat? How do you get around that? You shift the wedding plans to the end of the year and minimize the heat. Everyone has the same idea, and as a result, come December, you’re flooded with wedding invites and calls for holud dance rehearsals. It can get chaotic, but the serial wedding invites make winter a festive, happening time.
It’s also prime relationship forging time. The single and ready to mingle crowd emerges. Winter weddings are a fortuitously romantic time to pine after well-dressed people you’ll never meet again. We almost relish the hundreds of hours of ridicule from friends and family as you repeatedly claim that that the good-looking boy/girl totally smiled at you when you looked at them.
The winter sports
The Bangladeshi version of the Winter Olympics consists of hundreds of hours of badminton and some more badminton. People all over Bangladesh take to the streets and the fields, draw up badminton courts and pull out tattered nets, racquets and corks to jump, run and keep their bodies warm.
Like everything else we Bengalis do, access to the court is determined through seniority and how well connected you are with the local boro bhais. If you’re just a young thug trying to make it big in the world of badassminton politics, you’ll probably be banished to a side court with no net and no lights. You’ll be lucky to get your hands on a racquet. Count your stars that you actually get to play some form of badminton each winter. Nonetheless, badminton is more of a community sport than anything else, and the strong sense of Bengali togetherness comes out in full force in winter.
Does anything attain a special corner in Bengali hearts without some mention of food? Winter is no different. Winter means weddings. Weddings mean steaming plates of kacchi biriyani with a mouth-watering aloo on top.
If that doesn’t make your mouth water, how about the plethora of different kinds of pitha? Cooked in oil, dipped in pungent shutki or
wrapped in a sickly sweet coating of heaven, these diverse delicacies are something to look forward to all year. The melting mouthful of gur conjures up images of a simpler time and fill you with an incredible warmth in the winter chill.
Winters in Bangladesh may be mild compared to much of the rest of the world, but it does induce a lot of suffering in the less fortunate. While charity is far from the best method of alleviating that, it does play its part in bringing together people.
Every blanket and donated clothing counts. It might just be the line between someone staying warm or suffering needlessly. So stack up and donate as much as you can, because that’s what we try to do—look out for one another.
People around us tell us to stay away from all kinds of addiction every day. ‘Don’t smoke. Don’t drink. Or take drugs. Stay away from other addicts.’ And so on and on and on. Here’s the thing though, all the while they are telling us these things, they are also telling us, teaching us to get addicted to other things. Things that apparently are not as dangerous. Things that we are supposed to be addicted to. These are some of the things I’ve listed below:
Tea or Coffee:
Sure, keep drinking tea every hour and you will soon find people staring at you with concerned eyes. But think about it. Why is it that something that can kill your liver a part of our everyday life? Every time you go visit your sweet aunt, tea almost always comes up as a part of the hospitality? Why is it everywhere in our workplaces? How is it that something so harmful can be so ubiquitous? For some odd reason, we always overlook our addiction to drinking tea or coffee. We don’t even see it as a problem.
Okay fine. Yes, I’m fear-mongering a bit at this point. I’m making a big deal out of nothing. I understand. Caffeine-related deaths are not as common as many other causes of deaths. Still, you have to wonder, why though?
By the way, I’ve been writing all this with a cup of coffee in my hand. My second one this evening. The irony is not lost on me. But hey, addictions are addictions because they are fun as heck.
I remember when my father and mother used to scold me for watching TV too much. Then they would spend the next three hours watching TV and fall asleep while watching TV. Well, the joke is on them now. I don’t watch TV no more. I only watch quality Youtube videos. Who is laughing now?
Certainly not my grades.
Anyway, TV hasn’t been around for that long in this country. Color TV came to us only very recently in 1980. It may not seem that recent, but in the grand scheme things, it is quite so. In spite of being so new, it has already reached almost every household of the country. There are very few if any, places in Bangladesh right now that doesn’t have a TV and a dish line to provide the people with some sweet Bangla cinema.
Even though I have made conscious efforts to stop watching TV, all I have managed to do is replace one addiction with another. Well, at least I don’t have to get into arguments with my parents about the remote anymore. That’s my little cousin’s job now.|
Let me tell you a story.
I was hard at work. I was typing away furiously at my computer, trying to get this article done in time. My room was dark and silent. Only the sounds of my fan and my keystrokes were around. My whole concentration focused on the words and ideas I slowly forming into coherent paragraphs. Many things were written, then deleted, then rewritten, only to be deleted for good. Many jokes, many ideas, and thoughts swirling away… and…
Sounds of cheering, screaming, and horns shatter all that in a matter of seconds. What happened? Oh, Brazil won a match.
This is some kind of fanaticism. The way we treat sports sometimes seems like borderline insanity. Did you know that a person committed suicide after Argentina losing in the first round? I bet you do. And I bet that if you are a fan of Argentina, you are heartbroken after they lost the chance to progress. But we don’t see sports rehabilitation centers opened up around the country, do we? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. Still, it’s a very prevalent addiction in our life.
I support Brazil, in case you are wondering.
This may sound strange to some people. You don’t see that many readers nowadays. But I promise you, they are there, hidden under their comfy blankets, sipping coffee and reading away at a speed that you can’t even imagine, the bookworms are all around us. And I assure you, it is indeed an addiction.
Be wary of books. They hold wonders that can enrich you, but also consume you to your core.
It’s weird because all our life, books have been held up as something that you should indulge yourself in. Do it a bit too much though, and you will be lost in a world from which there is no escape. There was a time when all I had were books. I enjoyed them immensely. My parents were proud of me too. They probably used to brag to other parents about how much books I read.
Then came exam time. These books became their worst enemy then. I wouldn’t study. I would just keep reading the same books again and again because it was fun. That’s what I wanted to do. I was addicted.
Finally, we get here. The apex of socially endorsed addiction. A thing that we are trained from childhood to pursue. A thing that every one of us craves to some extent. That magical thing. Success.
There are a lot of ways I could go about describing how success is an addiction to you. The thing is though, I feel like this aspect of the world has been so talked about by this point that I can add very little to the discussion that hasn’t already been explored in one way or another. So instead, let me tell you another story.
During my HSC exams, I used to study a little bit the night before and then leave early the next morning because the exam center was quite far. At least one of my parents made sure to go with me every day. We would take a CNG. The CNG would drop us off a little bit away from the center and we would walk the rest.
Every morning, I would walk and watch as my fellow examiners would be absorbed into their mobiles, staring at and solving the leaked questions as fast as possible. The questions would leak every day around 30 minutes before the exam and everyone would solve it before going into the exam hall.
Kids don’t know better, but the parents should
The thing is, they would have their parents around while doing all this. Not one of the parents I saw those days seemed to care about what they were doing. They encouraged and helped their children. They fanned their children while the said children went through the question and books to find the best answer.
Look the bottom line is, these things, hobbies they are all good but when you take them to an obsessive level, it’s bad. Even gaming. I will not get to that point because I love life. But you get the point. Nothing should become an obsession. If you see symptoms of getting obsessed with something then it’s high time you stopped or changed to something different. If you don’t, then at some point in your life it cost you a great deal.
This is not just to tell you why you need to think about what is killing the future of our nation, this is a plea. I, a 21-year-old university student, deal with personal humiliation every other week and survive. However, I have finally found a pill too hard to swallow.
Just recently, we heard about the 10th-grade students of one of the most prominent schools in the capital commit suicide inside the school premises. A few days later, another news report popped up on my Facebook feed about a fifteen-year-old committing suicide. I thought (I hoped) that someone was resharing an old article in the light of recent incidents. However, after spending another minute or two on social media, my worst suspicions were confirmed about the loss of another young life. Not even two weeks had passed since a student at BRAC University took his life. How many more student deaths and how often does it need to occur for our society and our guardians to take accountability. When will they realize that they are doing something wrong?
The lack of diligence in previous incidents
A couple of months ago, I happened to tutor one of the classmates of the deceased student from Rajuk Uttara Model School and College. I found out that students were not even allowed to leave the class at the time of the unfortunate event. Their classes weren’t halted for even a period and they were forced to continue activities as if nothing had happened. Later, the school authorities stated that the student had “accidentally” slipped from the staircases and died. This was a farcical attempt to invalidate the death of a child.
Who can be held accountable?
The child from Viqarunnisa Noon School and College was reportedly expelled from her school due to allegations of cheating in her final exam. This allegation has not been proved. Students have claimed that she was found to be in possession of the cell phone, which is against the rules of the school. Even if you go by the allegation that she was indeed carrying the phone to cheat on her test, would that justify her teachers’ and Principal’s course of action?
In this case, attempts were not made to wait for proof, the school arrived at the conclusion that she cheated. As a consequence, her parent was called to the school and insulted in front of her. Our education system encourages educators to take harsh actions. In this case, the actions were so harsh that a mere 15-year-old child felt compelled to end their life.
No one is condoning cheating by speaking up about this accident. Students are expressing outrage and concern over the fact that our system has placed the power of molding young and vulnerable minds in the hands of people who have displayed incompetence as educators and parents. They have acted without due diligence and treated young lives with callousness.
Corporal punishment might have decreased in schools. However, the crippling lack of absolution from the society and family members if anyone flies off the rails, can be worse. Many families make their children think that their lives are only of worth if they do well in school.
We are left to consider the extent of the pressure the 10th grader felt to think suicide was the solution. Are we part of a system that places so much pressure on children? Do we make childish transgressions warrant a life of shame and ridicule? Can this pressure, aggravated with the lack of awareness and services about mental health, create an environment that is unbearable for young ones?
I am disappointed at those displaying “holier than thou” morality and self-righteousness. We have been nothing but accomplices to a system that has been defended too often, for too long.
If you are a university student, you are familiar with the influx of business competition photos on your homepage every winter. Sometimes they make you feel severely unaccomplished, other times they simply annoy you with the showcase of corporate grandeur- but they are unavoidable. They are even more inescapable if you are friends with business school students. But no matter how you much you dislike those photos, admit that they do make you curious. Why do all these people keep participating in these competitions? They are stressful, and not everyone go home with the prize money- why do they still do it?
Well, here’s why they do it, and why you should too- despite your academic background.
Learning to apply your skills to solve actual problems
As students, we learn a lot of theoretical tools to solve real life problems. Unfortunately, for most us that is the extent of our skills. Attending these competitions helps you realize where you can apply your textbook knowledge, why they are important, and what you should focus on in your work life. This is something you cannot learn in a classroom, and business competitions often provide you with the proper learning environment.
Hands on Experience
While solving these business cases, you need to come up with real, sustainable business solutions to everyday problems. You need to make budgets, talk to professionals, and come up with compelling pitches for potential investors. All these tasks help you prepare for your actual job life.
While having powerful uncles might not help get you a job at the reputed MNCs, having a wide network definitely can. Business competitions help you get this network. While meeting students from other universities is important, it’s more important to meet with potential employers and map what they want in graduates. Attending these competitions will provide you with opportunities to do just that.
For better communication skills
Having “introvert pride” is a beautiful thing. But it doesn’t help you get far in your life. As unfortunate it is, this world is designed for extroverts, and you have to play by their rules. But the good news is, you can learn the art of speaking to anyone, anywhere with sufficient practice, and business competitions provide you with the perfect platform.
Working in teams can be very excruciating. But it is a skill that will be indispensable in your professional life. Companies always look for people who can function in a team, and participating in these competitions will give you valuable insights about how to lead a team that is about to fall apart under pressure.
Potential employers roam the business competitions, looking for smart, talented people that can add value to their company. So if you can set yourself apart in these competitions, there is a possibility that you will graduate with job offers. Isn’t that a decent incentive?
Getting familiar with design trends
The business sector is going under immense renovations. Traditional marketing tactics do not work with people anymore. So you need to know how to grab your customers’ attention, and to do that you need to know how the sector is evolving. Getting involved in the business competitions give you the opportunity to get familiar with the latest design trends, and you can gain a competitive edge over your peers!
Acquiring technical skills that actually matter
Just knowing how to browse the internet does not cut it anymore. To be a valuable employee, you need to have complete knowledge of software like Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher and Word. Knowing software like R and Stata would be a bonus, but having complete control over MS Office is a must. If you start competing, you will be forced to learn these basics- which will definitely add value to your professional life.
Business competitions are not a piece of cake. They are not very easy to win. But what if you do end up winning a few, after all? Of course, you get a decent amount of money as a prize. But the importance of these wins goes beyond the monetary value. They add a lot of value to your job application. And you need to set yourself apart from the crowd. So while you have clear incentives for participation, the incentives for winning are even more important.
Most importantly, they are fun!
Admit it- University is stressful. To survive, you need to find solace in something. Not to mention, the sense of accomplishment after a successful competition is indescribable. So why not have fun while actually learning?
So these were our top reasons why you should participate in business competitions. Did we convince you? Don’t forget to let us know!
Adulting is hard. You have to look after yourself, pay your own bills, and do all the things that your parents have been unconditionally providing you with over the years. To do all that, you need money. And to get the money you need a job. To get a job, you need to be good at doing an interview.
We all know that getting a well-paying, decent job is getting tougher by the day. You don’t know what the employers look for. So every time you get a call for an interview, you start sweating like a pig. Also, you get tiny anxiety attacks and you mess it up. This is standard procedure for a regular, fresh graduate. But luckily, there are a few tips that might save you. And here they are.
1. Be ready for the basic questions.
In every interview that I faced, they always asked me a fundamental question- “Tell us about yourself.” If you think about it, it is a really hard question to answer, and it is enough to throw you off balance. So be ready for it. Before your interview, take a few days to come up with a humble, yet flattering answer. Remember, the first impression is the best impression. So ask around seniors who have faced a ton of interviews, and make a list of questions that you know you will be asked. The rest is simple- come up with witty, smart answers for those.
2. Be aware of your surroundings.
Every office has its own vibe. GP’s corporate headquarter and Go Zayaan’s corporate headquarter will not have the same feel. So keep your eyes and ears open. Try to understand that the people you are surrounded with. Are they all very formal? Or are they laughing and having fun while they work? Try to assess the mood and mirror that. It shows your adaptability, and it is a crucial skill that every employer looks for.
3. Be careful with the dress code.
Speaking of first impressions, you have 7 seconds to make them decide if they actually want to consider you for the job. So dress accordingly. Make sure that your dress is clean and pressed properly. Pay attention to your shoes. If you are a girl, tone down on the makeup. Make sure that the employers know how serious you are about this interview.
4. Be confident.
Your posture says a lot about you. So straighten your back, and maintain eye contact with your interviewer. If you’re too nervous, focus on the gap of their eyebrows. They won’t be able to tell the difference. Square your shoulders, smile, have a strong handshake. Just show them that you are up for a challenge.
5. Turn your weakness into strengths.
Interviewers will often ask you about your strengths and weaknesses. Be very careful about how you phrase the answer. While answering the weakness part, say “I am cautious” instead of “I have trust issues.” Say “I am too determined to see the end of something” instead of “I am stubborn”. Moot point, place yourself in the best light possible and make sure to phrase it positively. You are a smart person, my friend. You get the idea. Now implement it.
6. Do not talk about money.
In interviews, it is common practice to ask salary expectations. Never utter a number when it comes to that part. We all know that you are not fooling anyone, but your attitude should be of someone who is willing to work for free if it means that they can learn something. Industry and willingness to learn while disregarding the monetary return is a rare combination. Be that rare gem, and success will follow.
7. ALWAYS have a question.
At the end of each interview, your interviewer will ask you “Do you have a question for us?” Have a question ready for that part. The question should be regarding the company. It shows that you really are interested in working for that particular place, and you have done your research. It also shows that you keep tabs on what is going on with that particular company. So you never know, this one segment could be the “make it or break it” part of your interview.
I am not giving you the guarantee that you will get the job if you follow these tips. But you will definitely stand out from the crowd, and sometimes that is all that matters. So go get it, champ! I hope you nail it!