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Role of universities in igniting the entrepreneurial spirit

Shanjida Hossain | Published: November 07, 2019 11:33:18 | Updated: November 13, 2019 12:55:29


Global business is changing today at such an alarming rate that professionals rarely get time to acclimatise to the new environment, new people and new operational requirements. The problems arise mainly due to the intense level of complexity in business environments and lack of experience in the corporate field.

In Bangladesh, another problem exists in the root of adaptive work by employees in organisations. Alongside high uncertainty avoidance traits in Bangladeshi employees, universities to a significant extent fail to deliver the proper skill set to overcome adaptive challenges in organisations by simply binding their students to theoretical knowledge of textbooks. Universities in Bangladesh, in general, lack in multiple aspects in providing its students with the proper practical expertise they would require for developing leadership skills, teaching adaptive capabilities and grooming entrepreneurial spirit.

This article discusses how Bangladeshi universities can build entrepreneurial spirits among its students.

Invite business executives to

deliver lectures

In Bangladesh, only certain business schools follow this rule by consistently inviting many entrepreneurs and executives to deliver lectures on contemporary business phenomena.

Muhammad Asif Khan, co-founder and CEO at Alpha Catering, has suggested how universities can make students embrace entrepreneurship. He said, "Universities should start offering entrepreneurship as a major, and include modern courses on startups, valuation, fund-raising, formulating business plans, etc. These courses should preferably be taught by relevant resources."

Develop mentorship schemes

What educational institutions can best do is gradually eliminate the fear that one nests in their minds of starting his or her own business. Many potential entrepreneurs have their plans formulated in their minds but they are unaware of the implementation process such as how the financials must be handled.

Ishmam Shafi, management trainee at a renowned fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) multinational company, commented, "If you are an entrepreneur with a startup, your university could help you by giving more training or guidance. They can invite a range of expert professionals once a month to sit down with you and answer all your queries and perhaps even tell you how they overcame their barriers. This way, even students who agonise over lack of funds for their startup, can benefit by acquiring knowledge of how to get their way into business."

Collaborate with businesses

Many renowned universities around the globe have partnership agreements with several businesses whereby they regularly send students to work as interns in specific organisations that match the respective student's interest and personality. Students should be able to comfortably apply to ongoing summer internship programme and gain firsthand experience and knowledge about the challenges in corporate houses.

Jannatun Nujhat Oeshi has started a recent startup of clothing line named Elbise Coutre that delivers a wide range of modern attire for young people. She, along with her other co-founders and co-owners, explained how difficult it was to gather authentic information regarding the entire execution, especially the supply chain operation. "Universities can encourage future entrepreneurs more by increasing their collaboration with business incubators such as GP Accelerator (GPA). This can aid early stage entrepreneurs to present their idea, validate it and persuade people to invest in their projects."

Promote case studies in coursework

Kazi Fatin, management trainee of a private bank in Bangladesh, stated, "Incorporating case studies with regular studies in universities should be the aim of business degrees. The thinking pattern a business leader develops by analysing a situation, evaluating alternatives, choosing a solution, and tracking progress over time can only be developed if ample case studies are discussed in classrooms."

The entire curriculum system in Bangladesh from early stages of education does not promote practical thinking and creativity. But these two aspects are extremely crucial for creating entrepreneurs who take initiatives of growth. Rahnuma Ahsan Raima, co-founder at Newton's Archive, said, "From the get go, all the universities, especially those with a BBA/MBA programme, try to create corporate employees instead of breeding creativity. It's like a factory where each person is shaped to be the perfect "corporate professional". Instead they could teach students to do something on their own, help them envision an entrepreneurial future, teach them to take risks and most importantly, realise that each student is unique with different talents and capabilities.'

The writer is a second year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. She can be reached at shanjida7f@gmail.com

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