Winning business competitions is a sincere dream of all business students. Participants compete furiously, all coming up with unique ideas and all believing in the solutions they offer. They imagine holding the final trophy and make all possible attempts to brand their business model. Being the champion is definitely worth all the hard core effort by the participants, but are business competitions actually helping students in their individual growth and development?
With all the glory that business competitions bring, there come a lot of consequences if time is not managed properly. "While business competitions help you gain tons of experience and make you feel like you're utilising your time to the fullest, these experiences certainly come at a price. If you go all out to win business competitions more often than not, you will find yourself working at ungodly hours with little to no sleep. Consequently, your grades slowly slip away unless you can plan and prioritise your studies simultaneously," said Kazi Raihan, a final year student of IBA, University of Dhaka and the champion of Rise High Bangladesh in 2016. Moreover, he said that contestants may have to give up on precious hangouts or social events with friends that the contenders may look back on and regret, especially if the competitions do not yield the desired results.
Mir Saklaine Iqbal, currently studying at IBA, University of Dhaka and a member of the winning team of Dysin Texbiz in 2018, also protested by putting himself in the shoes of a freshman in university. He professed, "The juggling of time between finals and competition is a hard feat for at least the first year students. As a result, the first year basically gets wasted trying to understand how to participate and which one to prioritise, whereas this year should be used to have a go at everything with ease."
Competitions are meant to bring out excellent performance and innovation out of the contestants and business competitions do exactly these. They challenge the contenders to think uniquely and put them in the position of real-life business thinkers. The solutions proposed by the participants can be simple or outstanding and the ultimate goal of the judges is to select the best model that will, without doubt, solve the current issue at hand. Mir Saklaine Iqbal stated, "Time is a luxury that corporate world hardly gives you and the competitions remind you just that. Secondly, they remind you that every problem has a solution but all solutions do not need to be new and groundbreaking. Rather it needs to be simple and wrapped in innovative ideas. Lastly, the first-hand knowledge acquired through this process really helps the corporate workers to solve the jigsaw puzzles of everyday work."
Besides teaching future potential employees about time and innovation, business competitions also enhance collaboration, a vital skill needed while doing group work in educational institutions and workplaces. Durdana Mahfuz, a student of IBA, University of Dhaka and a member of the first runner up team of Econthon in 2018, said, "Business competitions effectively teach you how to work under pressure within a limited time with other people." Many past contenders have also claimed that the competitions build and strengthen leadership skills which are important traits when it comes to becoming managers.
A member of the winning team of the globally acclaimed intern competition, Battle of Minds, in 2018-a student of BBA programme of IBA, University of Dhaka- stated, "You learn the theories in books and get to have a practical experience when you do internships or jobs. Business competitions allow you to get a taste of practicality and apply techniques yourself to test your problem solving skills in the real business environment."
As it can be observed, the cons of business competitions basically address time management as a major issue. On the other hand, the pros all indicate how important, not mandatory, business competitions are if one wants to excel in the corporate world.
At the end of the day, it depends on the individual participant's capabilities. It is very natural for people to have varying strengths and weaknesses and only the ones who can overcome their weaknesses can obtain a good grip on their strengths. For example, if a person can handle all aspects of his/her life along with doing business competitions, time should never be an issue for this human.
Business competitions, initially, are all about promising oneself to remain dedicated and fully concentrated throughout the course. This is because a positive outcome can only be achieved when a contender remains positively consistent throughout the entire period. A finalist of the competition ‘Get in the Ring in 2015’ simply stated, "Business competitions help you to prepare for real life situations and dilemmas but it's not something that is essential for the development of an individual. Do it if it gives you pleasure."
Apparently, achievements can never be made if it does not provide one with inner satisfaction. Business competitions do have its dark sides but they definitely give a person an edge in any corporate profession and in today's competitive world, having an upper hand can always make employees' lives easier in workplaces.
In order to win, a person must be driven and must begin with a fierce passion. If one wants to do business, he/she must take business seriously from the start. And who knows? The secret to a successful business career might just begin with doing a single business competition.
The writer is a first year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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