Can debating help you in your career?
Of all the things Bangladeshi students have been excelling at, debating is among the most notable. Recently, Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) and Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka (IBADU), contested the finals of United Asian Debating Championships 2018 in Indonesia, turning the final into an all Bangladeshi affair. In addition to being a moment of national pride, it is worth mentioning that this activity can do wonders for you as an individual and your self-development.
Firstly, even before getting to your CV, remember that debating is an activity that combines two things; impressive presentation skills and quick thinking. Both of these things are great assets to have during any interview or recruitment process. Given that most recruitment drives are becoming more and more activity driven, being able to talk smoothly and think quickly will set you apart from the get go. Years of university debating will set you up nicely for that.
I spoke to Rawnak Zaheen Wasi, a recent graduate of IBA and someone who recently joined British American Tobacco Bangladesh. Rawnak is an accomplished debater, being one half of the IBA team that became Asian Champions at the Asian British Parliamentary Debating Championships 2017 (ABP) in Thailand. In his words, debating has a number of uses.
“While its one overarching activity, a number of things go into it," Rawnak said. “Firstly, if you are a successful debater, you are obviously someone who can develop a competitive attitude and be a hard worker. But additionally, debating can include things such as coaching and organising, both of which give you different skill sets.”
During his University days, Rawnak trained the Bangladesh National Team for World Schools Debating Champions (WSDC) alongside training schools such as Mastermind International School and Rajuk Uttara Model College. “It showed that administrative bodies trusted me to train their students, which shows that you are someone who is not just skilled individually, but can help others grow. This can set you apart as a leader and organizations look for leadership skills quite a bit these days.”
It is worth noting that debating success can come at two levels; national and international. Achievements at International level can set you apart as someone who is capable of competing with and overcoming international competitors. This is a unique advantage of doing something at an international stage as few other activities let you judge yourself at an international level.
Debating can also include organising. Most universities organise debate competitions, generally known as Inter-Varsity Debate Tournaments or IVs. The holistic organising experience requires balancing budgets, man-power, guests, time, administration etc to create a complete experience. Basically, challenging your management skills. The several high-pressure situations that you can encounter during the organising process will give you solid training for professional situations.
Additionally, being in and around the debating circuit gives you a chance to network with similarly driven people from other universities and institutions, alongside with debating alumnus from your own university, who are likely to be well positioned in the professional sector. While this is not something you can put in your CV, knowing smart people always helps.
The benefits from having a sustained stay in debating are manifold, ranging from essential professional skills to a diverse CV. It's probably worth a shot to drop by your university debate club and see what it's like to talk your heart out for seven minutes. You might just find a new calling that also boosts your CV while you're at it.
Adiba is a junior at IBA, DU.
Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.