University curricula should be based on market demand, he says

Universities in Bangladesh should formulate curricula based on market demand and real-life situation as 36 percent of employers in the country are now facing the shortage of skilled manpower, says Syed Alamgir, a renowned marketer and Managing Director of ACI Consumer Brands Limited.

In an interview with UNB, he also said the universities need to build a strong rapport with industries and devise a framework for students to build experience while studying.

Alamgir, who won the first-ever 'Channel I Bangladesh Brand Forum Marketing Superstar Award' this year, suggested the young generation interested in taking up marketing as their profession to enhance their ability to understand people's need and mindset to have a success.

"Around 36 percent of employers in Bangladesh are facing the shortage of skilled manpower which is a leading reason for entry-level vacancies," he said.

Alamgir said a company wants to hire a complete (ready) person, but the universities now only focus on education ignoring the issue of developing skills and mindset of their students. "University graduates should be taught the real-life situation instead of giving them knowledge on some theories and theses. Curricula should be linked to careers as well."

The ACI MD said there should have coordination between the industries and the universities to produce ready graduates with practical knowledge.

"Industries asses a newly graduated student based on education, set of skills and mindset. So, the universities should give importance to improving skills (relevant transferable experience and qualities) and mindset (attitude, interests and initiatives) of their students for producing ready business graduates," he said.

Mentioning that a very few partnership projects are in place between the universities and businesses, the renowned marketer thinks constant collaboration and mutually beneficial projects and study need to be designed and implemented by the universities.

"Our current practice needs to change as four-year business study and three-month internship gives very little to graduates for skill development. Students should be involved with the business right from the beginning of the study," Alamgir observes.

Marketing in digital age

Alamgir said four things--good marketing strategy, product quality, innovation and premier services --are necessary for having success in marketing in this digital age.

"Good marketing strategy doesn't mean deceiving consumers, rather giving them good and quality products and persuade them to accept those," he opined.

Besides, the marketers need to know people's mindset and their need, but there should not be any falsification. "You'll be able to do many things if you don't resort to falsification."

"The main reason behind my success is that I roam around all regions of the country, including the remote ones, to read people's mind and know their needs. I talk to cross-sections of people to know them and their requirements. A marketer needs to know the needs and mindset from the wealthy to the bottom of the pyramid," he pointed out.

Before launching any product, the ACI senior official said they think two things -- need gap and replacing any current product with diversification.

For example, he said, there is a huge demand among people for real juice in Bangladesh, but there is no real juice here. "Real juice is available all over the world. So, if any company now comes up with real juice product with affordable prices, it will evoke tremendous response from consumers."

About his much-talked-about marketing concept 'halal soap', he said it gets remarkable success in the country as well as the globe as it is now being used by many multinational companies, including McDonald'. "Philip Kotler, a famous professor of marketing, included a case study on my concept halal soap in his book titled "The Principles of Marketing" describing it a smart and clever idea."

Difficult job

Alamgir said the modern marketing began in Bangladesh in the 80s while nearly 55 lakh people are now engaged in this profession who are working for development of the business through which the country will be developed.

"Marketing is not an easy job. It has a lot of challenges involving values and morality. I'll have to take your hard-earned money from your pocket by satisfying your need with honesty, but I can't take it through depiction. There's no scope for deception in marketing for success and sustainability. It's not possible to survive in the market with deception."

He suggested the young marketers to try to be focused on their jobs. "They must learn their consumers so that they can understand the need gaps and also can find out what the message the consumers should be given to pursue them."

Alamgir said Bangladesh's most of the businesses are now covered by international companies. "We, the local companies, have to fight and outsmart them with quality and strategy. When I introduced halal soap, it outsmarted international soap brands."

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