Grooming business graduates for the tech world

Ehteshamul Arif Anik | Published: October 19, 2017 01:16:11 | Updated: October 25, 2017 05:48:41


Julian Weber, CEO of SELISE, with some of the young recruits

SELISE started off as a small software company in 2011, when its Swiss CEO flew in from Zurich to see what Dhaka had to offer. What initially was a four-member team comprising fully developers, stands tall and strong today in Bangladesh with its youthful and diverse team of developers, designers, testers, and more recently - business consultants. The Swiss-owned company, despite starting some local projects, still focuses primarily on the European market, delivering world-class consultancy and digital solutions to its clients.

Ever since it commenced its journey in Bangladesh, SELISE has caused quite a stir in the Dhaka market with the gradual growth of its core team of business graduates. The impressive growth of this team is incredible - especially because the Bangladesh BBA curriculum contains little to no emphasis on digital transformation or technology in general. So the question arises - do business graduates find themselves out of their depths when joining a software company?

The answer is not a straightforward one.

In most cases, it is always a challenge to join an organisation where majority of the employees speak a different language - quite literally. Such a challenge is likely to present itself to a fresh graduate as well, but perhaps less evidently so. The first question that one should ask, however, is whether it is fulfilling to join a software company in Bangladesh as a business graduate.

The bitter truth? Most software companies are far behind in terms of developing their business and trying to come out of the tag of a 'cheap outsourcing entity'. This is notably where SELISE is ahead and in many cases, establishing itself to be in the same league as the well-known leading global consultants, albeit still being a minnow. While most software companies in Bangladesh hire business graduates to make cold-calls and generate leads, SELISE has been actively propelling its team of business graduates as the foremen of ambitious and leading European projects. The team applies its ability to prioritise or drop features based on the long term strategy of the partners.

Julian Weber, CEO, states that knowledge on how to create, maintain and change technology is by far the most demanded skill in today's digital age and SELISE is right in the middle of it. What makes you unique in this era is your ability to transfer innovative concepts into technology that helps businesses make their customers happy on a daily basis.

Eventually, the ability to fit in and cope up boils down to the person who is willing to dive into the world of digital. It is not always easy - you will continue to face adversaries in the workplace who will not find you worthy because of your non-technical background. At times, all the digital jargons make it immensely hard to make sense of all the information floating around. The key is to keep an open mind and not lose the primary focus which is solving business problems and not technical ones. On top of that, you want to be working with developers who see your potential and understand that you are here to improve their work, and that you are not an ostentatious character placed there to boss everyone around. At SELISE, there are many leaders amidst the developers who will always involve their business stakeholders to explain bottlenecks, frequently educating about the technologies at play - which is crucial to learn and grow in your role of a business analyst or consultant.

As one continues to work with different players across different domains such as insurance, telco, fintech and consumer goods, one continues to expand your understanding of these very different business domains, and it becomes imperative to keep learning. These aspects automatically make this sector interesting and attractive to work in; at the end of the day, a business graduate gets to focus on his/her core areas of strength - be it communication, process optimisation, redundancy identification or the king of all business disciplines formulating and implementing business strategies. Especially with SELISE, the exposure is magnificent, as the company primarily deals with exciting European startups and established goliaths in the telco and insurance sectors.

What makes SELISE a thriving workplace for business graduates is the unique way in which they are groomed from day one. They are pushed out into the technological arena and trained on the go by dedicated mentors, often the CxOs themselves, as they learn to decode real world problems with digital solutions and products. Exposure to the multi-cultural team spread out across four countries along with the different stakeholders of the projects give their business graduates a sense of responsibility, global understanding and edge when it comes to collaborative problem solving. The flat organisational structure further boosts their confidence and openness to approach the CxOs, who are always willing to guide and challenge the graduates.

"Business graduates in Bangladesh are remarkably talented," adds Julian,"There is no reason they should feel shy competing with international graduates. Some of the members of our business development team are from renowned universities such as IBA - DU, BRAC, NSU and AIUB."

SELISE strongly positions itself as a patron of meaningful work and meaningful career. With players such as SELISE in the Bangladesh employer market, business graduates have a unique area where they can specialise in and evolve into global talents.

The writer is a business consultant at SELISE. He can be reached at anik.arefin@selise.ch

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