The university years are usually filled with exam stress, assignment deadlines, club activities, trips, hang-outs, and several other activities-- making it one of the most memorable periods of our lives. Graduates then embark on potentially the longest journey of their lives known as career. And due to immense competition, they may not always have the luxury to choose an industry or a specific career. However, having a mental roadmap about a career is always beneficial. The telecommunications industry of Bangladesh can be a good starting point. It is characterised by powerhouse firms like Grameenphone, Robi, and Banglalink-- all of which feature multinational grooming environments. The writer has gathered insights from human resource (HR) departments of these companies which could give a picture about this industry and career prospect.
Telecommunications have different starting points where graduates can apply according to their ambition, strength and interest. Tanzina Giash Tanni, the talent acquisition lead specialist of Banglalink, believes that telecom is excellent for initial grooming as it features dynamic work opportunities and enables individuals to become adaptive. She said, "Banglalink offers multiple options for fresh graduates like advanced internship programmes for fulfilling the academic internship requirements. As for entry-level roles, there are different options like the Strategic Assistant Program which is the flagship management trainee programme, the Territory Officer position, and Specialist positions in different functional teams like technology, research, finance, etc." She elaborated that the Management Trainee programmes groom incumbents to take on managerial positions in the future. Strategic assistants work in rotations across the business functions for 18 months in Banglalink and then subsequently get placed as full-time managers in the departments they are interested in. The territory officer is a sales role featuring core sales, indirect sales, etc. The specialist roles involve different projects, strategy buildup, and idea execution. International assignments may also be available depending on company requirements in overseas operations.
Telco is fundamentally a very fast industry with new products such as talk time packages, internet data offers, SMS bundles, etc. being released daily. Therefore, career prospects are bright for people starting here. Arunima Hassan, senior executive-HRBP of Grameenphone believes that evolving technology makes unlearning and relearning to build capabilities mandatory for staying relevant. Furthermore, the industry accommodates employees from engineers to UX experts, brand managers, territory managers, finance experts, HR specialists, etc. For long-term career prospects, she adds, "Building a career in this industry can be very rewarding for those who are looking for challenges and willing to adapt as the need arises. As for switching to other industries, the job nature and product features are quite different than others. Nevertheless, I am sure the experience of working in this challenging environment of the telecom industry will equip fresh graduates early in their career to think with ingenuity and push themselves to excel in any industry they wish to pursue their career in."
The work culture of a company or any industry should be a factor of consideration before choosing it as a career path. Graduate Trainee at Robi Ms Nuzhat Ahmed, who works in the HR function says, "Telcos have a very warm and friendly culture. When it comes to work culture Robi puts a lot of emphasis on learning and empowering people. Great emphasis is given on the job learning." A unique selling point of telco, she adds, is that employees get a lot of work opportunities outside their departments, for instance, a software engineer may get a stint in Finance or even HR. The work hours are so flexible that Robi employees can start anytime from 8 am to 10 am. Travel requirements are also not much as everything is automated, enabling all processes and requirements going smoothly without the employees coming to office in the middle of a pandemic.
Considering the prevalent learning opportunities, workload and work culture-- telco may be a very suitable starting point for a graduate's career-- despite the industry being significantly different from others. However, getting a place in this industry is easier said than done. In this context, Ms Tanzina of Banglalink said, "We look for people who were invested and busy with meaningful activities during their four years of university. Candidates who had meaningful contributions to their university life endeavours are a good fit for Banglalink and the people we want."
The writer is a third-year student of BBA programme at the Institute of Business Administration
(IBA), University of Dhaka.
He can be reached at