Retail Banking, Fin-tech, and Career: An Interview With Gazi Yar Mohammed, EVP & Head of Retail Banking, ONE Bank and Author of Master Password

Retail Banking, Fin-tech, and Career: An Interview With Gazi Yar Mohammed, EVP & Head of Retail Banking, ONE Bank and Author of Master Password

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Gazi Yar Mohammed, a retail banking leader, career coach and fin-tech analyst, is the Executive Vice President & Head of Retail Banking at ONE Bank Limited. Prior to joining ONE Bank, he worked at Eastern Bank, The City Bank, and Mutual Trust Bank in various positions including retail credit, cards business, contact center, managing retail branches and product development.

He started his career at Eastern Bank Ltd. (EBL) in 2003 as Management Trainee. He was recognized for his outstanding performance and got promoted as the youngest AVP at EBL. During his time at The City Bank, he was instrumental in launching retail finance center and AMEX Customer Service Center at City Bank. At ONE Bank, he leads 29 retail branches, cards, contact center, and other value pillars of Retail Banking. Mr. Gazi Yar is considered as one of the youngest EVPs and Retail Banking leaders in the banking sector.

Mr. Gazi Yar is also co-author of “Master Password” – a personal and professional development book for young and aspiring professionals. He is a certified trainer with extensive training experience on Service Excellence, Leadership for Managers and Sales Excellence.

In this interview, Gazi Yar Mohammed takes us through his journey to what he is doing today, his strategy for dealing with challenges and stress that comes with his profession, talks about ONE Bank’s retail banking operations and state of overall retail banking in the country, illustrates his take on fin-tech and the future of retail banking, blockchain and digital payment, shares his thoughts on what young people need to thrive in today’s workplace and why young people should pay attention to building right attitude and developing life skills, discusses his personal development book Master Password, shares his thought on management and challenges of building a meaningful career, business education in Bangladesh and reflects on why passion is overrated, a mindset for solving problem is the best skill one can develop and why our enduring motivation comes from taking action.

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Blockchain can facilitate payments process. It would enable higher security and lower costs for banks to process payment between organizations and their clients and even between banks themselves. You can now start gambling with bitcoin with ArmyOfBitcoin.com and potentially increase your bitcoin investment. Blockchain would allow the independent verification of one client by one organization to be accessed by other organizations so the KYC process wouldn’t have to start over again.

Future Startup

Please tell us about your background and your journey to what you are doing.

Gazi Yar Mohammed

I passed my HSC from Chittagong Commerce College. Like many other students after college, I appeared at University admission test and got into Chittagong University where I studied BBA (Finance) for a year. Session jam was a huge problem at that time and a 4-years undergrad program used to take way longer than that. After a year, disillusioned, I decided to quit the program and instead enroll myself in a B.com pass course.

This was a rather radical idea. Naturally, my family and friends did not support it initially. But I came to realize that as long as I do an in-demand postgraduate degree like MBM from BIBM or MBA from IBA, my B.Com or BBA would not be a matter. While my B.com result came out and I was little surprised to see my name in merit list. I secured First Class 7th position. This was back in 1999. My target was to get into BIBM’s MBM program which I came to know through a newspaper advertisement.

After completing my B.Com, as planned I applied for MBM program at BIBM and luckily got the chance. It was a 2-year long program – intense and rigorous in nature. It was worth it because demand was high for MBM graduates. We used to have a job fair on BIBM campus at the end of the program where most of the banks would participate.

The year we graduated, we participated in BIBM Job Fair. Toppers got multiple job offers from different banks. So did I. I was not sure which one to join. The then Director of MBM Program Dr. Toufic Ahmad Choudhury was encouraging me to join Eastern Bank Limited (EBL) because Mr. Kazi Mahmood Sattar was the CEO of EBL at that time and he was bringing wholesale change to EBL. He launched major rebranding initiatives at the bank including process re-engineering and started to introduce innovative banking solutions in private banking sector. I started taking preparation for EBL Management Trainee program. I am grateful to the then MBM director and present BIBM DG Toufic sir for his invaluable guidance. He has turned MBM into an in-demand degree as well as a prestigious brand. Now a lot of MBM graduates are doing good work in the banking sector making a significant contribution to the industry.

However, the assessment process of EBL for their Management Trainee position was quite comprehensive at that time and comprised of a host of tests including a written test, campus interview, primary interview with management, assessment center, and final board interview. While the process was taking some time, I decided to join Prime Bank in the meantime since appointment letter had a tight deadline. I joined there for a brief period of time while participating in the EBL recruitment process.

After a couple of months and going through a couple more tests, I was selected for EBL Management Trainee program. I joined EBL in April 2003. It was the 8th batch of EBL Management Trainee program and 13 Management Trainees were hired. We got rotation program of nine months covering all major business and support divisions. It was a great learning experience.

I was at EBL for about 4 and half years. I was lucky to make fast progress at EBL. While working at EBL, I contributed to some interesting projects including the restructuring of retail credit risk management tools and launching of a good number of consumer banking products. At EBL, I, in fact, got the foundation of my career.

In 2007, Mr. Mahmood Sattar moved to The City Bank Limited with an ambition to transform the bank. After a while, I left EBL along with some core team members to join the City Bank as the Head of Retail Credit and Collections. It was a challenging move as my role was to centralize retail loan approval and operating function taking away from branches and launch retail loans products too. It happened smoothly.

During my time at the City Bank, I was part of the some of the major initiatives of the bank. I was one of the core team members of AMEX Card launching project in 2009. I was Service Quality lead and in charge of setting up a call center and online service desk for The City Bank AMEX Card service.

The call center was not a common thing in the banking industry. Only two other banks probably had call center facilities at that time. I put myself into work to understand the details of the call center management. We tried to stand out from other call centers and set up online service desk to sort out any customer complaint faster regardless of compliant source.

We also launched call back policy where call center executive would call back to any clients who called during rush hour but could not speak with an agent due to busyness. This callback policy was a new idea and it became a quick hit in the market helping us to unleash a word of mouth.

AMEX was a big project and many bankers considered that the project would be a failure because by the time AMEX was launched there were already 18 to 20 big banks with credit card facility. Many thought we were late to the party. But we had worked hard to ensure right USPs.
We had introduced many new and interesting offers, innovative propositions; cash back at superstore, free theme park coupon, free air tickets, first airport lounge and a great call center experience that eventually led to a hugely positive feedback from the market. In simple, we managed to offer a great customer experience.

After working for City Bank, I got an offer to move to Mutual Trust Bank Ltd as the Head of Retail Business. It was a tough decision to join MTB as I was enjoying my journey at The City Bank a lot. It was an equally challenging decision to go to a bank which was not retail focused at that time and launch retail value pillars. But I thought that I should take the risk as this was an opportunity for me to move to business from support office. I wanted a career in core business area and hence I made the choice.

I worked at MTB for three years. During my time at MTB, I built all value pillars of retail banking like Products, Retail Finance Center, Cards Division, 24/7 call center and privilege banking in Mutual Trust Bank Ltd. MTB Management was very supportive and embraced all the new ideas that helped the business grow.

I joined ONE Bank Limited in July 2013 as the Head of Retail Banking. This time it was again a challenging job. When I joined, we had a high Retail NPL and few weak retail products in the market. My primary focus was to reduce the NPL rate while growing the day to day business as well.

When I started, our NPL was around 14%. Within a very short time, we managed to bring it down to 5% and currently it is just 1.5%, one of the lowest in the industry. We have significantly grown our retail lending portfolio and savings as well. This is a wonderful place and I’m enjoying my work here.

After a year, disillusioned, I decided to quit the program and instead enroll myself in a B.com pass course. This was a rather radical idea. Naturally, my family and friends did not support it initially. But I came to realize that as long as I do an in-demand postgraduate degree like MBM from BIBM or MBA from IBA, my B.Com or BBA would not be a matter.

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Future Startup

Why did you choose to bank as a profession in the first place?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

Of course, banking is one of the sought-after careers for graduates in Bangladesh. I studied business and did an MBM from BIBM; I had a fascination for this industry. Moreover, I saw that there is an opportunity to build a meaningful career in the financial industry and I decided to pursue it.

I later also did an MBA from IBA, Dhaka University. I always had a fascination for branding and marketing. I got into IBA for MBA while working at The City Bank. It was a little difficult for me initially to cope up with course load and assignments as I was then working on important projects at City Bank. However, despite the challenges, I managed to complete the program successfully with good standing.

Future Startup

What are some of the biggest lessons from your journey so far?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

You can make your job interesting regardless of your industry. For instance, in banks there are two aspects to any job: one is the routine work and the other is project work. If you continue doing your routine work and don’t seek to do extra project work, you may end up feeling monotonous.

I suggest you get involved. If you have some new ideas about products, functions, process or the industry then share those with your management. There can be two potential results: either you will get some helpful feedback or you will be allowed to implement your idea. Either way, it is an excellent outcome. The project works offer incredible opportunities to learn and develop oneself.

Skill is critical regardless of your title. It feels good to have a nice title, but if you don’t have the skills, it would be difficult to deliver. There is no alternative to personal development.

It is important that you learn from your competition and the international financial market. Today, the world is very fast-paced and international developments travel fast to all over the world. What is happening in the US takes almost no time to be a reality in Bangladesh.

Working directly with your customers is incredibly important for understanding your trade. For bankers, it is working in the branches. I push people to work in branches rather than just in Head Office. I do that because young employees will never learn the real banking business unless work in the branches.

Working directly with your customers is incredibly important for understanding your trade. For bankers, it is working in the branches. I push people to work in branches rather than just in Head Office. I do that because young employees will never learn the real banking business unless work in the branches.

Future Startup

Can you give us an idea about the retail lending market in Bangladesh as well as an overview of ONE Bank’s retail banking operations?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

When I took over the division, it was not structured and portfolio was relatively small. We had launched reward driven campaign for our team to push the growth. We launched team engagement campaigns such as a ‘Thank You’ program by the Managing Director for someone who could make a difference in the retail business.

We had also arranged coffee with the Managing Director for the high achievers. We have tried our best to engage our branch officials in various campaigns to drive the goals. It has worked and our retail business has grown significantly.

Our retail loan portfolio has grown by 300% over last 3 years.This year too we are going to have a significant growth. Our home loan portfolio occupies around 70% of total retail loan portfolio keeping NPL at 1.50% only. This is one of the lowest retail NPL in the industry.
The retail deposit also has grown by 200% over last 3 years. We have over BDT 5,000 crore as a deposit in the retail division. It is about one-third of the total deposit in the bank.

Now we are focusing on the cards business. We launched EMV cards and our cards are going to have 100% profit growth this year over previous year. The card is being used by different customer segment. We did well in Hajj Cards too. Hajj Agents and pilgrims now highly depend on prepaid Hajj Cards. This year in Hajj Card, our market position was second in terms of issuances and offering pre-paid limit on Hajj card.

The market is competitive and home loan rate got slashed significantly, we strive to offer quick decision on loan proposal as it has become one of the key benchmarks for clients as to which bank to adopt. We are investing in customer experience for building a long-term loyal customer base.

We have a couple of departments in retail banking division. These include retail branches, cards division, direct sales, Remittances, Recovery, and call center. Our entire retail banking comprises of 450 people and growing.

We have a robust credit recovery system. From Day one, we start giving payment reminder to our users that help them to be mindful of the development. We have 3 strategies for recovery namely ‘Soft Bucket’, ‘Medium Bucket’ and ‘Hard Bucket’. Moreover, we have credit recovery agent responsible for direct communication. We put a rigorous communication and monitoring process to ensure proper recovery.

If you look at the overall industry, total retail loan outstanding including credit cards and home loans is around Tk 77,000 crore and this is 10% of overall loan and advances of the entire banking sector. Out of this, Tk 29,000 crore was disbursed for residential home loan and flat purchase. It indicates home loan market is on the rise and it will grow further.

Structured retail business is difficult. Only 6 to 7 banks are doing structured retail banking. It is a scientific strategy where you have to build building blocks one after another and you have to ensure proper monitoring and collection. You cannot just launch it without prior planning and strategy.

There has to be a seamless connection among all the branches, card division, call center, relationship management team and direct sales team. These are the pillars of retail banking and you must come to retail banking only when you have taken care of these pillars. Overall the interest rate is higher in retail since risk is considerably higher.

Our retail loan portfolio has grown by 300% over last 3 years.This year too we are going to have a significant growth. Our home loan portfolio occupies around 70% of total retail loan portfolio keeping NPL at 1.50% only. This is one of the lowest retail NPL in the industry. The retail deposit also has grown by 200% over last 3 years. We have over BDT 5,000 crore as a deposit in the retail division. It is about one-third of the total deposit in the bank.

Future Startup

We are seeing a steady growth of ecommerce and digital shopping in the country. That said, digital payment has not grown that much. What do you think about the phenomenon?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

Trust is still a relative disadvantage for most online sellers. Most people don’t fully trust online vendors yet. It should get better over the next few years. That said, genuine efforts should be made from the stakeholders in order to improve the situation.

For instance, escrow payment is yet to be implemented by ecommerce vendors. One of the early days success factors of Alibaba was escrow payment – they call it Alipay. With escrow payment, marketplaces can hold the money of buyer till the product is delivered in good shape and upon getting feedback of buyer, marketplaces then release the payment to the vendor. This gives buyers extra confidence and can contribute to the reducation of cash on delivery.

Since we don’t have escrow payment, 80 to 90% of ecommerce transactions take place in the form of cash on delivery which is not efficient. There is a huge market and escrow payment and innovative solutions can be a game changer.

Things will improve rapidly once we have more options and other fin-tech services in place.

Future Startup

Do you think that bKash and other fin-tech options pose a challenge for the card business?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

Yes and no. There are segments where bKash is dominant but that are mostly non-card users segment, at least in our case. The market is big and still different smart wallet can evolve.

There is a big potential for p2p lending which is one of the fast-growing fin-tech phenomenon globally. There are 32 p2p platforms working in India now. Informal lending is being captured by p2p lending. Fintech can handshake with banks and it can be a win-win situation for both bank and fin-tech.

Secondly, the number of credit cards is very low in our country. We have only 800,000 whereas Malaysia has 6 million and India has 30 million credit cards in use. Similarly, we have around 7 million debit cards and India has more than 880 million. It means 60% of total population use debit cards while only 5% people of our population use a debit card.

Despite the challenges, this card segment has a huge room for growth over the next couple of years. We are a young nation in every way, our median age is 26.3 years and generally, young people are receptive towards technological changes. Overall, there are huge potentials.

Future Startup

What are the roadblocks to increasing card usage in the country?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

Non-performing Loan (NPL) of cards is high which discourages the banks. That said, this challenge can be addressed by putting systems and strategies in place that take customers transaction patterns into account and deals accordingly.

For users, there is tax issue as well. Trust is also a factor for a group of users who don’t feel safe.

Future Startup

What do you think about competition in the retail banking space?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

Competition is there and will always be, our job is to be the best at what we do. We have a strong customer base who love us and we try to serve them as best as we can.

We specifically focus on some particular areas such as reducing the time duration of the entire process and make it faster. In retail, there is a very little scope of changing your product offering. Everyone offers home loan and credit card and others products. One area we are focusing on is delivering the best possible experience to our customers.

Future Startup

How do you think technology is going to change retail banking in the coming years? In many ways, fin-tech poses a competitive threat to retail operations of conventional banks?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

There are a couple of ways to look at the matter. One is banks can collaborate with fin-tech companies which should be a positive thing for any fin-tech company given the reality of the market.

The second aspect is that although banks are not a core technology company, it is not impossible to develop fin-tech capabilities. And banks should look into the matter how they can take advantage of the technology.

The advantage banks have on the retail side is that we have a huge customer base who trust us. This is an important point because finance is a business of trust. Unless your customers trust you, you have no business. Banks can play on this strength.

Future Startup

In your retail banking operations, how are you using technology?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

We have launched our mobile wallet platform which is doing quite well. We are in the process of revolutionizing our entire internet banking system with an ambition to make banking super simple for our customers. We are in process of adopting a few CRM systems in our overall operations.

Although banks are not a core technology company, it is not impossible to develop fin-tech capabilities. And banks should look into the matter how they can take advantage of the technology. The advantage banks have on the retail side is that we have a huge customer base who trust us. This is an important point because finance is a business of trust. Unless your customers trust you, you have no business. Banks can play on this strength.

Future Startup

How do you think about the prospects of fin-tech in Bangladesh?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

Blockchain will be the future driving force for banking and banks should collaborate with fin-tech companies to thrive otherwise fin-tech will take on the banks and eat away its share of the pie. Banks should invest in innovation, build innovation lab to create an ecosystem to bringing customers, employers, fin-tech and strategic partners in a single hub.

We have seen the phenomenal growth of mobile financial services (MFS) over the past few years. Today, over BDT 700 crore worth of transactions take place through the medium per day. This is inspiring. There is still a big untapped market for the smart wallet. Upper middle and urban middle class who use cards and internet banking can be tapped for a smart wallet.

Our mobile handset market size of Bangladesh is around Tk 10,000 crore and right now around 25 million mobile subscribers use a smartphone and this number is growing fast and will be manifold soon since SKD and CKD import tariff has been reduced by the govt. significantly to support local manufacturing of mobile phones.

This will slash the smartphone price too. Hence smart mobile wallet has the big market by which user can tag debit cards, credit cards, bank accounts and shop or transfer fund wishing wallet or 3rd party bank accounts. This will revolutionize payment system too.

Blockchain will be the future driving force for banking and banks should collaborate with fin-tech companies to thrive otherwise fin-tech will take on the banks and eat away its share of the pie. Banks should invest in innovation, build innovation lab to create an ecosystem to bringing customers, employers, fin-tech and strategic partners in a single hub.

Future Startup

As you were talking about blockchain, how this can help banks?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

Future Startup

What are the qualities that you look for when you hire someone?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

Attitude, passion and skill set are winning combination. Having right mindset/attitude is incredibly critical because once you have the right mindset; it is relatively easier to cover the other areas. Candidate’s grooming, the presence of mind, industry knowledge, and communication skill carry weight in interviews. We sort our candidates based on these.

A limitation in skills can be fulfilled through training but often the attitude is hard to change. Young people should pay attention to how they think and approach things and nudge their thinking towards a more productive direction.

Future Startup

Since you work with young people, what are some of the biggest skills that our young people/professionals lack?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

First of all, let me make it clear that there are young people with excellent professional skills, but there are also people who lack basic functional skills such as preparing a good presentation and using excel.
These are pretty rudimentary skills that students can easily learn themselves from friends and others or self-taught using YouTube and other platforms. In short, there is a general lack of competency in many young people that is quite fundamental.

The other thing is that many people lack proper self-knowledge. They don’t know why they want certain things. I do agree that it is not possible to figure out what you want in life at such an early age but it is important that you have a sense of why you are investing yourself in doing something.

For instance, if you want to work in the banking industry, you should have a reason for it. This is not about the purpose of life; this is rather a practical thing like it offers better learning opportunities.

Many youths today lack a vision for the future. They spend huge time on social media. We should lead social media; social media shout not lead us. It is true that life does happen according to any plan or map always, but we should have vision and razor-sharp focus so that you can at least have direction.

Fourthly, having a story of your own is important. It is unrealistic to expect that a fresh graduate would a have a great portfolio of work, but the university does offer opportunities to explore life, explore those opportunities and build your own story to tell.

That said, I routinely come across young people with enviable credentials. There are people who seek to do things from an early age and learn thing either through internships, part-time jobs, and extracurricular activities or starting small initiatives.

Today’s management thinks differently and they prepare people who have a story to tell and are capable to take initiative and can push the organization forward.

The other thing is that many people lack proper self-knowledge. They don’t know why they want certain things. I do agree that it is not possible to figure out what you want in life at such an early age but it is important that you have a sense of why you are investing yourself in doing something.

Future Startup

You have written a book called Master Password; please tell us more about it.

Gazi Yar Mohammed

The book came out in this year’s Amar Ekushey Boi Mela. The objective of writing such a book was to facilitate personal development of young people, students, and professionals, in the context of Bangladesh. The book is available both in Bangla and English.

It is a two parts book, eight chapters in each part. Part one, which discusses life skills, deals with how to set life goals, achievement roadmap, happiness factor and passion in life.

The second part is about career skills where we have touched upon more practical skills like mastering the presentation skill, networking skills, job interview tips and tricks, sales skills, public speaking skill and how to be a management trainee etc.

We have also included digital toolbox for interested readers where they can find further resources and references. Apart from regular chapters, there are also interviews with entrepreneurs and professionals that add a different dimension.

Future Startup

What was your inspiration behind writing the book?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

I and two of my friends have started a platform called Talent Hub – a not-for-profit initiative that helps young people with skill development and career coaching. We have 2 batches that graduated from the program. We are inspired to see what a difference a two months program could make in our alumni. Almost all of them got opportunitiesa job at good organizations like Decathlon, H&M, Asutex Spain, Epyllion Group etc. after the completion of the course.

After a while, we realized that we only allow less than 20 people in a batch for a roughly 3-months program and but there are thousands of young people who may need similar guidance. In order to make a meaningful difference, we have to find a way to scale our program along with the physical education. That’s when the idea of writing a book came, essentially to take our service to a larger group of young people. It has been a good experience for me. I would be happy if the book makes a difference in the lives of young people.

On a separate note, I think young people should work for at least 2 years before starting their own business or whatever independent thing they want to do. It allows one to gather enough organizational experience to put it into work. When you work at a company, you get to learn how they run the business, how finance works, distribution works, how to build a culture, and most importantly, you learn how to manage people. All of these may come handy when you embark on your own journey.

Future Startup

What is your management philosophy?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

Over the past years of my career, I have been lucky to be able to learn from a host of exceptional leaders in the industry. I have learned a lot from my past bosses Mr. Ahmed Rashid Joy who is now GM of IDLC, Mr. Mashrur Arefin who is now AMD of City Bank, and my current boss Mr. M. Fakhrul Alam, the MD of ONE Bank Ltd.

We have something to learn from every individual. All these lessons inform my management philosophy.

I believe in the idea of engaging people in order to drive the result. While I maintain an open-door policy, I also allow my people to make decisions independently. My branch managers and department heads directly report to me. I always try to help them and learn from them.

I’m a voracious reader, so to say, and I make it a point to share interesting readings with my team.

The extent of our relationship with others determines who we are. I believe that employees do not leave the organization, they mostly leave boss. I make it a point that I genuinely care about my people, their personal and professional growth. I think that helps both the people and the organization.

Future Startup

What books have you been reading lately?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

Leadership, branding, customer experience, technology are some of my favorite topics. I loved reading The Lean Startup’ by Eric Ries and ‘Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies’ by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras.

Lately, I have been reading ‘Thrive: The Third Metric To Redefining Success And Creating A Life Of Wellbeing, Wisdom, And Wonder’ by Arianna Huffington. It is a good read.

The extent of our relationship with others determines who we are. I believe that employees do not leave the organization, they mostly leave boss. I make it a point that I genuinely care about my people, their personal and professional growth. I think that helps both the people and the organization.

Future Startup

How do you deal with stress and challenges that come with your profession?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

I try to change my focus for time being. Stress often comes from our inability to accomplish, achieve something or meet or from a momentary setback. Naturally, you can’t fix it immediately which we try despite the fact that it seldom bears fruit other than creating extra pressure.

When you take your focus off of the problem or your source of stress for a while, it allows your brain to work on the problem subconsciously. I try to engage in other activities such as reading, social work and going out with friends etc.

Future Startup

What advice would you give to people who are just starting out?

Gazi Yar Mohammed

Maintaining a problem-solving attitude is critical. Every problem is a potential opportunity. I would suggest that you start with identifying problems that you personally face or people around you face and start solving it. The world will always need a problem-solver.

Finding passion is overrated. It is unrealistic to expect that you would find your passion first and then only will start working on it. I would rather suggest that you start working on something, start solving a problem, and in the process, you will find out what you love.

Try things. There is no harm in trying new initiatives and opportunities and the likes. It is said that passion is not that easy to find when you have only a limited taste in life. You have to broaden your horizon in order to understand what you like and what you are good at.

Invest your time and effort in learning new things. Personal development is indispensable in today’s world. Unless you invest in yourself on a regular basis, you will become irrelevant.

On a separate note, I would like to touch upon the unhealthy trend of pursuing BBA without any understanding of the implications of it. BBA has become a by default degree in our society. Every year, more and more students are opting for BBA and universities are also offering this program at a disproportionately higher rate.

This is an outright wrong approach and will create a disaster in the near future.

The demand for business graduates is waning fast. We are already seeing the consequences in the rising graduate unemployment rate and the rise of a generation that will be incompatible with the rising technological changes.

I would suggest young people should study emerging fields like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Ecommerce, fashion design, culinary management, interior design, UX design and so on. Technology is taking over almost every industry. I believe there is a huge opportunity there but we are not paying attention to it.

Finally, never be average, be amazing.

Action always outweighs motivation. As Chuck Close famously said, motivation is for amateurs, the rest of us just get to work. It takes 30 seconds to be motivated: just type keywords “Refugee or Sickbed” on Google and see the images. You will feel blessed and lucky as you are in better state than millions of people. Being alive with sound health itself is a big motivator.

Slow and steady does not win the race anymore in this era; you have to be consistent, agile and innovative. We witnessed how Google, iPhone, Netflix, Uber ousted Yahoo, Motorola, DVD, old taxi services respectively. Life is short; we should live it with a sense of urgency.

I would like to touch upon the unhealthy trend of pursuing BBA without any understanding of the implications of it. BBA has become a by default degree in our society. Every year, more and more students are opting for BBA and universities are also offering this program at a disproportionately higher rate. This is an outright wrong approach and will create a disaster in the near future. The demand for business graduates is waning fast. We are already seeing the consequences in the rising graduate unemployment rate and the rise of a generation that will be incompatible with the rising technological changes. I would suggest young people should study emerging fields like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), Ecommerce, fashion design, culinary management, interior design, UX design and so on.

(Interview by Ruhul Kader, Transcription by Md. Tashnim)

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