Upholding its legacy, Battle of Minds stepped into its 15th year - a concept that originated in BAT Bangladesh with a vision to establish a world class platform where university students from Bangladesh can showcase their talents and receive the recognition they deserve. After overcoming the challenge of winning the finale rounds in their respective countries, followed by the Regional round; the winning teams have made it to the global round in London to clinch the ultimate glory.
The team 'Je Ne Sais Quoi', from Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka; comprising of Sourodip Paul, Arijit Angshu Saha and Ramim Ahmed won the National and Regional rounds and are now all set to combat at the global stage representing Asia Pacific and the Middle East taking place on June 14, 2018.
We took the opportunity to talk to team representing Bangladesh before the global finale in London:
SHOUT: What was the process of the competition until now?
Ramim Ahmed: It all started with an idea submission, along with a video – just like the ones submitted by teams from 42 Universities across the country. The shortlisted teams were invited to the boot camp. In the boot camp, the song “Cholo Bangladesh” got us goose bumps; synced us for a common purpose – the pride we take as a citizen and that we must do something exceptional. The grooming sessions with our mentors shaped us to gather insight on various topics. We also had a focused group discussion, which was quite challenging. Coming up with solutions to practical life business scenarios, managing time, working together with the other members, etc. were some of the crucial things we learned.
In the semi-final round, we had to show how our solution meets sustainable development goals.
We were twelve groups, comprising of 36 students who were fortunate enough to attend an exclusive session held at a2i programme office at the Prime Minister's office. It was exciting to learn from Mustafizur Rahman, the Project Director and other officials regarding the projects that are ongoing and in the pipeline, how they facilitate innovation by the youth of our country. We had no idea that they fund select projects from conceptualisation to developing prototypes for pilot launch etc. This experience certainly ignited our passion for innovation even more!
In the grand finale, we had to activate our idea both online and offline and show that it can succeed in Bangladesh. The competition as a whole, was challenging and undoubtedly offered all the participants a unique learning opportunity.
SHOUT: How was the Regional round?
Ramim Ahmed: It was an honour to have been able to represent Bangladesh in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regional battle. We knew that our opponents will be different and we needed to prepare accordingly. We put in a lot of effort to enhance our solution and make it better and we ended up making it through.
SHOUT: What would you say set you apart from the rest of the teams so far?
Sourodip Paul: I believe it is the originality of our idea – a ride-hailing platform for auto-rickshaws that allows users and riders to negotiate fares they feel are optimum. The app we developed has other features such as caller ID masking, ride schedules, and even hiring a Tryke. We feel that from the context of Bangladesh, there is a strong need and scope for the growth of such an application.
Arijit Angshu Saha: The teams that made it to the final rounds were all great. But I guess ultimately, it boils down to the nuances of your plan and how you convince the judges that your idea has the greatest potential to be profitable in the context of Bangladesh.
SHOUT: What significant preparation are you taking for the global finale round in London, UK?
Arijit Angshu Saha: We aim to make our solution cater to the requirements of other countries, not just Bangladesh. This involves identifying different target groups and analysing the perspective of users and riders of other countries. We will also examine other underlying factors that might impact the performance of our services. The preparation needs to be solid so that we can be at our best on the global stage.
SHOUT: What would be the biggest take-away from BOM?
Sourodip Paul: It has been a roller-coaster ride for us and throughout the competition so far it has been truly enlightening and exciting for all of us. The way we think about businesses and how they operate has evolved as we propelled through each phase. We received a lot of exposure from the corporate culture and learned the importance of passion and perseverance.
As of now team Je Ne Sais Qoui is prepping for the global finale with the hope to bring the championship trophy home and make a mark for Bangladesh in the global stage.