With the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) knocking at the door and the fast-changing behaviour of consumers, market research should be the priority for survival, experts and industrialists from different countries including Bangladesh have observed.
"Due to information and technology, the world is changing so fast," said Aminur Rashid, chairman of Edison Group, at the two-day South Asian Academic Leadership Dialogue 2022.
"We have to think about how to be more creative and how technology can be turned into effect. We have to change variations in our work. We have to shift to a new curriculum model and focus on research to dominate the market."
The Association of Management Development Institutions in South Asia (AMDISA) and the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) of Dhaka University arranged the dialogue from 13-14 November for the first time.
Professor Mohammad A Momen, director of IBA and president of AMDISA, said, "We are going to face some challenges in the future due to the shift of global politics and global warming, and the industrial revolution. We have to make those kinds of business people fight the challenges and focus on such kinds of curriculum."
The agenda of the first day was to initiate dialogue on "Rethinking Business Curriculum in the context of 4IR, Sustainable Development Principles and Global-Economic Shift".
Members of academia from major South Asian countries, industry-experts from 30 major corporations including Grameenphone, M&S, Edison Group, BdJobs, Berger, GiZ, BAT and Unilever, among others, took part in the event.
Rupali Choudhury, managing director of Berger, said, "We don't have enough data in our hands. There is not sufficient data on market size and many companies are not listed. This approach must be changed and we have to be involved with trends of the global market."
Professor Sheikh Morshed Jahan, chair of South Asian Academic Leadership Dialogue, said at present consumers don't even buy a packet of chips before they do their research on the internet.
Among many other qualities, such as good citizenship, drive for continuous innovation, and prioritising sustainable growth, future managers should also be brave enough to embrace the uncertainty in the marketplace and endure. For inclusive economic growth of any nation, human capital development should be its top priority, he added.
The title of the second programme held on 14 November 2022 was "Mapping South Asian Agenda for Academic Collaboration and Leadership in Business Education".
Through the discussion, it was identified that collaboration between institutions requires cooperation between both institutes as both sides need to help each other. For instance, it was suggested that exchange programmes should be included where teachers of one institution will visit and take classes in other institutions and vice versa. Similar opportunities for students can also be created.
Speakers also identified that a lack of research culture is one of the key reasons behind not having more productive and meaningful research. It was suggested that case studies and inter-country research should be conducted by institutions instead of relying on lone research institutions only.
At the same time, they also focused on industry and academic collaboration to fight the upcoming challenges in near future. They said that it is important to ensure diverse collaboration among university and university, university and government, and university and industry to gain sustainable development.
Dhaka University Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Maksud Kamal and Treasurer Professor Mamtaz Uddin Ahmed were present as chief guests on the 13 and 14 November events respectively.
Facilitated by Professor Sheikh Morshed Jahan, chair at South Asian Academic Leadership Dialogue, the programmes were presided over by Professor Mohammad A Momen.