It was an evening of dazzling talents. As the black gowns ornamented the venue with the impression of elegance and majestic gravity, the graduation ceremony of IBA's 37th batch MBA and 9th batch BBA was truly a occasion of highest accolade for the students. The students of Institute of Business Administration (IBA) gathered at the TSC of Dhaka University to set another instance of excellence that IBA has been presenting since the last 38 years.
In the gathering of graduates, guardians, guests and volunteers, there was many things for the inquisitive eye to experience and comprehend. The speeches from the dais expressed more than the words could articulate. In their speeches, the top scorers of BBA 9th and MBA 37th batches represented their groups. A.T.M. Monirul Islam was the top scorer of MBA 37th batch. He was a star who entertained the audience.
Amun Mustafiz topped all scores of BBA 9th batch with a CGPA of 3.84. The excitement of the students touched the guardians, as they smiled and wept remembering the joyful moment of their lives.
To greet the graduates of the most reputed business school of the country, there were professor S.M.A. Faiz, vice Chancellor, University of Dhaka, Ms. Hua Du, the country director for the Asian Development Bank in Bangladesh, Mr. Sanjeev Mehta, Managing Director, Unilever Bangladesh and Professor Iftekhar Ghani Chowdhury, Director, IBA.
As IBA emerged with its legacy of producing the 'best of the bests', the celebrities of the corporate world focused their attention on the 'IBA products'. Professor Iftekhar Ghani observed, "…. The demand for the students graduating from IBA is increasing even in this era of domestic and global competition. The ADB commented that producing 60 business graduates is inadequate. They are insisting for more…".
Mr. Mehta, MD, Unilever Bangladesh, admired IBA's product saying, "…. there is nothing more appealing than a 'can do' attitude…about one third of Unilever's executives are IBA graduates…". Along with valuable pieces of advice, the corporate leaders expressed their high expectation about the graduates.
When Hemayatuddin Himu enrolled in the MBA program with 37th batch, he was already an assistant director of Bangladesh Bank for two years. Himu completed his MBA while working for Bangladesh Bank. His multidimensional endeavours have blessed him with a CGPA of 3.10 in MBA.
"What's your feeling after getting an MBA degree from IBA?" I asked. "It's great to be an IBA graduate. Anywhere you go for a job, you will definitely get priority over graduates from other business schools. The name IBA carries an immense exposure in the job market."
Then I got introduced with Monirul Islam, the top scorer of MBA. was my first question to Monirul was: "What contributed most to this gorgeous 3.80 CGPA?" He said, "It's the unique IBA culture, I'd like to give the most credit to. IBA has an academic tradition where students share each other's strength. If anyone is found to be good at something his or her strengths are shared by others." This sharing of expertise, which is an indispensable part of winning teams in practical working arena, is seen everywhere in IBA's academic atmosphere. "My 3.84 wasn't my sole performance. There were lots of collective efforts where we shared each other's ingenuity," said Amun Mustafiz, the BBA top scorer.
"What more?" I asked Monirul. "The immense pressure from the faculties came with the assignments, exams and so on. The workloads have forced us to become corporate commandos". This immense pressure is a built-in attribute of IBA. Many students are afraid of it. Some say it's bit too much for the students as it makes things more difficult than needed. But today's IBA graduates see it from a different viewpoint. While Munir was asked what part of the thorny road he would like to see improved or changed, he said "Nothing! I would like IBA exactly the same way it is today. The autocratic faculties, the workload, the pop-up quizzes… I think all this contributes to the ripening of a student to become what is expected of an IBA graduate."
In keeping with the past records of IBA, the graduates are contracted for jobs by different companies. As soon as their final exams were finished, eight BBAs of 9th batch were absorbed by BATB (British American Tobacco Bangladesh). "Who can wait for the results to be published? You're IBA graduates!" was perhaps the impression BATB gave. Reshad of BBA 9th batch has a score of 2.75. He along with Amun Mustafiz and others of his batch is working for BATB. "After working for a couple of years for BATB, I will go abroad for my MBA. I do not know how much I will be able to do, but highly reputed institutions like Sydney University or IIT in India's Ahmedabad will be my targets." Amun's career plans are almost identical to those of Reshad's.
Munirul has more sophistication in his career plan. As a major in finance, he, instead of a large firm, has chosen a smaller firm to work for. "We are supposed to be business executives. In larger firms you do mostly the 'paper work' and hence the chance of executing your decisions and skills is hardly there. Working for a smaller firm in a higher level of hierarchy gives me the opportunity to learn more by executing my academic learning". After a few years of corporate work, he wants to complete his FCA and PhD. However, Monirul also plans to become a faculty of IBA.
But how does the director visualise and foresee the present and future of IBA? "…. These graduates are created with uncompromising care on quality. Our confidence stems from the design that we continuously endeavour to improve, taking cue form the best practices around the world…". Talking of resources IBA has, he said, "IBA is one of the few places where faculties are evaluated alongside the students…Many of our young faculties are past students who insist on raising the standards they themselves maintained. The senior faculty with greater exposure to education in cross-cultural environment has the unenviable job of taming this enthusiasm against the rising corporate hunger for better products as they turn global. "
But the biggest impetus to improve quality comes from the competing spirit of IBA. This is how Dr. Iftekhar puts it "…. We are thankful to the growing number of competitors that forces us to continuously reexamine our theory of business with regard to our products, services and customers…".
Being competent to serve multinationals is good for the careers of IBA graduates.
Undoubtedly, IBA graduates are contributing a lot to the country and society as a whole. It is also time to look for rooms for improvement. With the usual tendency to serve the multinationals or corporate giants, more entrepreneurial inspiration will raise the success rates of IBA.