Top Business Competitions in Bangladesh and everything you need to know

If you are a university student in Bangladesh, Business Competitions are not new terms to you. There’s a chance you know about most of them, there’s a higher chance you might have participated in a few of them. Why you should take part in one, is a discussion for another time. But for now, here’s everything you need to know about the most prestigious competitions in Bangladesh and how you need to prepare for them.

1.Battle of Minds by BAT

Battle of Minds, organised by British American Tobacco is one of the most prestigious and most rewarding business competitions in the country. Every year BAT holds Battle of Minds where university students who are in their final years get to participate for the highest glory. You face off the bests of the bests in the field and upon winning, you get a head start towards a rewarding career path.

Rounds: 4 (Online Exam-Focus Group Discussion-Business Pitch-Case Solving)

Team Members: 4

Awards: A Crest and a headstart in the recruitment process.

2. Bizmaestros by Unilever

Similar to BOM, Bizmaestros is arranged every year by another one of the corporate giants, Unilever. It has challenges and rewards similar to BOM and the competitions themselves are often competitors to each other. However, winning Bizmaestros also lands you a trip abroad to Unilever Future Leaders League, where you compete against international teams.

Rounds: 3 (Online Submission-Practical Marketing-Practical Marketing)

Team Members: 3

Awards: Certification along with a trip to Unilever Future Leaders League.

3. Telenor Youth Summit

The last one in the trio of Corporate giant competitions is the Telenor Youth Summit. Unlike previous ones, TYS accepts individual submissions. And as you can guess, the challenge is tougher, obviously. Subsequently, the reward is also higher. A trip to Norway sounds magical, doesn’t it?

Rounds: 3 (Idea Submission-Screening Round-Final Presentation)

Team Members: Individual submission

Awards: Trip to Norway.

4. Brandwitz by IBACC

Brandwitz is one of the most prominent students run business competitions in the country on University level. Organised by IBACC (IBA Communications Club), every year, Brandwitz sees the best minds of the country battling each other for a prize money of BDT 2,50,000. But the money is a minor factor here. You’ll be benefited most from the experience, the certification and the networking that you make.

Rounds: 4 (Case Solving-Product Branding-Practical Marketing-Idea Branding)

Team Members: 4

Awards: BDT 2,50,000.

5. CreAdive by BUP BCC

Creadive is another of the students run business competitions in the country organised by BUP BCC. The competition offers a unique approach to its rounds where it engages participants in direct ATL and BTL campaigns, requiring them to actually take part in fieldwork. The experience is certainly one of a kind.

Rounds: 4 (Case Solving, ATL Campaign, BTL Campaign, Product Branding)

Team Members: 4

Awards: BDT 3,00,000.

Why networking is important and how to do it right

Networking isn’t too difficult despite what some of us may think. It’s all about getting out of your comfort zone and venturing from one social circle to the next. Eventually, you will come across people who share the same interests as you.

It’s pretty straightforward. The more you connect with people the more your network grows. And so do the perks that come along with it. When you see an opportunity to foster friendships with people from the same career path, just take a deep breath and go for it.

If you’re still not clear on what do, here’s a quick starter’s guide to get things moving.

1. Establish a rapport

Networking is essentially all about building genuine relationships with people within the industry. It makes life easier when you’re able to “click” with someone instantly without too much effort. And that’s always a great confidence booster.

You can break the ice with anything that comes to mind; it doesn’t necessarily have to be a work-related topic. Just be yourself. Make each other feel at ease by exchanging jokes, talking about hobbies or other common interests. Try to eliminate as much awkwardness as possible.

The whole point of networking goes beyond making good impressions. It’s about forming lasting friendships so you don’t end up becoming just another name on a business card.

You want the person to remember you wholeheartedly so grab every chance when it comes to mingling; whether that means a lunch invitation, a meeting over drinks or something unexpected. Like, a random encounter in an elevator.

2. Keep in touch

Keeping in touch with your contacts is a vital element of networking. Once the foundation is laid you want to retain and strengthen all those new relationships you just built. And that’s best done by maintaining active communication.

Reach out to your new friends every so often with the occasional phone call, text or e-mail. Interact with them on social media. Post on their wall, comment on their status updates or drop a quick “Hi!” in their inbox every once in a while.

Once all the formalities are out of the way you can plan more personal meets. Like a coffee date or brunch that can help create a closer bond. This will ultimately grant you more insight into the world you work in.

If you fail to keep in touch then there’s no point reading the next chapter. Your story ends right there.

3. Helping hands

Networking is basically a two-way avenue. The more you help out the more favors you’ll get back in return.

It’s like playing a co-op video game. You can’t complete certain missions without a partner providing occasional assistance to help you along the way. By the same token you want to help out when your partner is in need.

In a professional context always offer before you ask and take a genuine interest in other people’s projects.

Reach out from time to time and ask your friend if he/she needs a few helping hands; this will greatly enhance your reputation and credibility as people will start to observe a more attractive personality in you.

If you don’t have intimate knowledge in your friend’s project, provide a contact that can out help out instead. Having a contact in your pocket that can help a friend is synonymous with helping them yourself.

Words can have a powerful influence on people. Remember to thank or show gratitude in any shape or form when your friend agrees to help you.

4. Bring a wingman

Attending an event alone can be daunting when you’re in a crowded room full of new faces.

Having a buddy by your side when you’re networking will boost your confidence and help take away some of the awkwardness. Bringing a friend from a different company is even better. It’ll break the ice more quickly and will stir up more interesting topics to discuss.

Finally, a friend can help take some of the load off if you notice the conversation is becoming one-sided. Talking about yourself all night can get a little redundant. That’s when your friend enters and spins the conversation and stops you from bragging about your own agenda.

5. Mix and match

Make an effort to attend a variety of events as much as possible.

Going to summits and seminars allows you to connect with influential people on a more personal level. The more you explore the greater access you’ll get to people from other relevant fields in the industry. That’s a valuable asset to have in your arsenal.

Speaking out at different summits and seminars gives a platform to offer your thoughts and ideas to others even if it’s an event you wouldn’t normally consider attending.

Doing all this strengthens your reputation and eventually, you’ll be able to influence others to join your cause.

RECAP

All in all networking is a make-or-break game, but once you’ve mastered the ropes it’s a lot less intimidating.

There is no substitute for relationship building. Think of it as a long-term investment, the more hands you shake the more benefits you’ll receive in return.

Be confident and come dressed with a smile. And as long as you have this basic toolkit the rest will come naturally.

How to write a cover letter that will stand out

1. Identify a problem in the company. Then tell them why you are the one to help solve the problem

Research the company and the industry. Suggest one thing you would change or problem that you would solve if you came on board. Your challenge is to identify a potential pain point and how valuable a solution can be. Demonstrate that you can help them run their department more efficiently and successfully than what they can achieve with their current hires.

You need to make it clear that you’re approaching this organization for very specific reasons. And ideally, your specific reason should not be the same specific reasons that all other candidates are giving.

Don’t say, If you’re looking for someone who can turn around projects quickly…” Say “I can deliver posts that are more SEO friendly in less time and a website that explains your services more clearly”. Use examples that are relevant to the job you are applying for.

And if you’re new to the industry or the role? Just ask current or former employees. Go on informational interviews and inquire about the company’s challenges.

2. Be the best match to the job description

Going into the room saying “Hey, I’m great. I promise!” is not enough. You need to scrutinize the job description, determine the key requirements and responsibilities for the job, Make it clear to the reviewer that you can deliver the goods on these key things.

Look for the keywords in the job description (they’re typically listed first on the job description or mentioned more than once) then talk about your strengths in connection those priority requirements.

Start sentences with “I have direct experience with…” or “The first reason I want to be in [role] is because I learned [directly related skill] in [experience in it]” or “I am fascinated with [skill included in job description] because of [something you have already done]”.

3. Tell a story, one that’s not on your resume

Do not repeat all the facts in your resume. Use the space to be more personable. Talk about what brings you to the company. What motivates you?

Shohoz plans to go big with $15M investment. Can it keep up?

Shohoz rides, the latest addition in the ride-sharing industry of the country, has pulled in $15M worth of investments as a part of its round B investments. Singapore based Golden Gate Ventures led the new investments round. Linear VC of China, 500 Startups and Singapore based angel investor Koh Boon Hwee were also associated with this investment.

With this investment, Shohoz rides becomes one of the heavily invested in businesses in the country and looks steadily set in their goal of expanding their services in the future. Shohoz’s closest rival, Pathao, has also recently raised $10M investment from Indonesian ride sharing giant, Go-Jek.

Steady growth

Shohoz raises $15M
Shohoz started with online bus ticketing

Shohoz has remained a trusted name in online sales for bus tickets since 2014. After its initial success, it soon expanded to selling ferry tickets and very recently, tickets for events and movies. After the ride-sharing industry in the country saw a boom in the latter half of last year, Shohoz started out its ride-sharing services, Shohoz rides, this year in January.

With its ride-sharing services rapidly gaining traction, it does not, however, mean that the platform will move away from its bus ticketing services. “Bus tickets will remain an important part of our business, [there’s] lots of synergy with ride-sharing,” she explained in an interview with Techcrunch. “Dhaka has a super dense population with bad infrastructure. If anything, there’s a better case for ride-sharing than Indonesia. There’s no subway and transport is a horrid nightmare.”

Shohoz started its ride-sharing services by adding motorbikes to its platform. It recently added cars to it and hopes their overall service will ease the traffic situation in the capital city.

Keeping its feet on the ground

Shohoz raises $15M

Despite having shown promising prospects, Shohoz has apparently been taking things slow. It hasn’t yet shown any initiative to grab iOS users in the country but recently underwent a massive rebranding to appeal to new customers. It is unclear if they’re planning to launch an iOS app any soon.

Shohoz plans to tap into the groceries and food delivery market soon. It aims to model itself after the “Super App” style most southeast Asian tech giants usually go for and something Pathao has recently ventured into.

It doesn’t plan to go global anytime soon but is surely set to expand its services outside the capital city of Dhaka, as explained by the CEO in a recent interview.

Is three a crowd?

Shohoz raises $15M

Currently, three ride-sharing platforms, including Shohoz, are doing steady business in Bangladesh.

Pathao has skyrocketed with its constant influx of investment, aggressive market attitude and expansion beyond the country. Uber, although lagging a bit behind in the local market in comparison with Pathao, is on stable grounds. With its UberEats service soon launching in Bangladesh, its competition with Pathao is not dying down any soon either.

Can Shohoz keep up with aggressive Pathao and international giant Uber with its laid back but organised market strategies? So far, they’ve been doing good for themselves. Only time will tell what the future holds for this ride-sharing rising star.

Samsung launches a giant white board: The Flip

Samsung just launched one of its latest innovations in TV technology, the Flip, in Bangladesh. The digital board is designed to be used in businesses, or if you like your TV viewing to be vertical.

Why Flip

The Flip is specially designed to make meetings, collaboration, and brainstorming easier. It uses top of the line tech and connectivity. Shahriar Bin Lutfor, Head of Business of Samsung Bangladesh, said that it is a digital and versatile replacement of traditional whiteboards. He added that it is an ideal tool for businessmen trying to reach another level of productivity. He hopes to see the Flip become a popular product in Bangladesh.

Details

The new Flip is made of trademark Samsung UHD. It’s a 55” behemoth that can be used on both sides, horizontally and vertically. The user can do whatever is possible with a whiteboard. There are a couple of stylus-like pens that can draw on the board in any colour the user desires. Just like a whiteboard, Samsung’s latest device can have things deleted off of it by simply wiping the screen with the users’ hand. It can have up to 4 people writing on it simultaneously, making brainstorming sessions more effective (or chaotic, if you work at HiFi).

Connectivity

The Flip enables teams to work faster by letting them take notes digitally, save files in onboard storage, send emails and even print directly from the board. The device has WiFi and NFC, giving it great connectivity.

The Flip is almost exclusively made for businesses where every millisecond counts. That’s why you won’t be surprised to learn that it is priced at a premium. For a stoutly 360,000 BDT, you too can own one. To do what is a question that you have to answer. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that it is a very cool device to have.

Pathao is going global! Launching services in Nepal on 15 September

Pathao, popular Bangladeshi ridesharing and logistics service, is set to launch its services in Nepal. They confirmed long-standing speculations through social media posts. The startup has also been actively hiring employees in Nepal using online job vacancy platforms like Merojob (as reported by a Nepal based tech news site). This is the first time a locally grown ride-sharing platform is expanding beyond Bangladesh’s borders.

Humble beginnings

Pathao was founded in 2015 by Hussain Elius, Shifat Adnan and Ahmed Fahad. The early days involved bootstrapping from a small office in Banani and being a consumer-facing on-demand delivery service. That expanded to ride sharing and food delivery. Their latest venture goes into cashless payments, demonstrating their aspirations to create a full ecosystem. Launching in Nepal said to be the first stage of Pathao’s planned global expansion.

Nepal ride share
Nepal already has quite a few ride-sharing platforms like Tootle and Sarathi.

“Pathao has built a platform that enables employment for thousands of drivers and a product that millions of customers use in Bangladesh. We are excited to take our Pathao platform internationally – starting with Nepal. We have already started to get riders on board in Nepal, and plan to launch in the next few weeks. The Pathao team is inspired to be #MovingNepal and working closely with the local ecosystem,” said Pathao CEO Hussain M Elius.

Pathao has competition

Nepal already has a few ride-sharing platforms like Tootle, Sarathi etc. However, Pathao believes it will be a strong contender once it gets a foothold in the local market.

“The Pathao team is inspired to be #MovingNepal and working closely with the local ecosystem,” said Pathao CEO Hussain M Elius.

Global investors seem to share this conviction in Pathao’s potential; Pathao is one of the country’s most invested-in startups. In November 2017, Indonesian ride sharing giant, Go-Jek, reportedly invested around US$ 2 million as part of its Series A funding.  This was followed up by raising another round of investment at a valuation of over $100 million in April this year.

“Pathao will be launching its ride-sharing service at first in Kathmandu and gradually move on to its other services like food delivery and cashless payment,” said Sayeda Nabila Mahabub, Lead Marketing Manager of Pathao in a recent conversation with HiFi Public.

Growing fast, moving safely

Pathao is also facing increasing concerns about the safety of the millions of people they are moving. In order to ensure ensure the safety of its riders and passengers, Pathao is running the #MovingSafely campaign. Initiatives include distributing two sets of helmets for its registered riders. Additionally, the ride-sharing service introduced an insurance policy for its users. Pathao is expected to maintain these safety policies in Nepal, as well.

“We want to create a safe ecosystem to solve everyday problems, starting with traffic and transportation,” said Kishwar Hashemee, Vice President of  Pathao, about its expansion in Nepal.

Pathao will have a soft launch in Kathmandu on 15th September. They will go into full operational capacity from 1st October 2018.