We launched our Life’s Work interview series in 2016 with a goal to explore and go deeper into the life and work of prominent Bangladeshi entrepreneurs, creative individuals, and professionals from different walks of life. The series features some of our most popular interviews ever. Here are 13 interviews from the series, in no particular order, that our readers loved the most.
In this interview Dr. Syed Anwar reflects on his serendipitous journey to teaching, prior to teaching he worked at BRAC- first as a Staff Economist and later as an Export Manager, his idea of teaching as a profession, shares his thoughts on education, our faltering education system that puts undue importance on grades over knowledge and the idea of marketing and changing landscape of the industry, discusses the idea of knowledge economy, the future of Telecom, Banking and RMG and the traits that separate successful companies and explores the eminent importance of having a purpose in life and why forming an opinion is way more important than having one without proper understanding.
In this interview, Mr. Ali walks us through his early life and upbringing, reflects on his journey to what he is doing today, his several-decades-long career spanning multiple countries, institutions and important roles, trials and tribulations he has had to face throughout his career, shares his thoughts on the state of financial industry in Bangladesh, fin-tech, and the future of financial industry, talks about his work at BIAC, incredible importance of arbitration for the development of the overall business ecosystem of the country and his ambition for the organization, discusses his management philosophy and why investing in people is disproportionately important for organizational success, shares his ideas for building a lasting institution, ponders upon the meaning of life and explores the eminent importance of reflecting on our life and work regularly, staying true to yourself and living your values and the peril of limitless ambition and greed and why we should give without the expectation of reciprocity.
In this sublime and intellectually empowering interview, Dr. Fahmida Khatun reflects on her early life and her journey to becoming who she is today, talks about Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) and its work, the state and future of CPD, how CPD operates as a think tank, how CPD uses research and dialogue as a tool for policy influencing, challenges for CPD, shares how much CPD has evolved over the past decade, CPD’s global ambition, and her thoughts on the future of think tanks and explores why life is a nonlinear journey, and the hardwork and hardships that we desperately want to avoid are universal and are part of our becoming and why we should forget the supremacy of idle talent, actively resist the idea of overnight success and diligently work hard on our goal if we want to make a difference.
Prabeer Sarkar is the founder and CEO of Dhaka Distributions, a cybersecurity company in Dhaka. In this interview, he reflects on how his early life experiences shaped his future, his journey to what he is doing today, the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey, the impetus behind starting Dhaka Distributions, the current state of Dhaka Distributions, its business and ambition going forward, his future plans for the company, talks about his management philosophy, biggest lessons from his journey so far and how he looks at the idea of leadership and life and how a strong sense of our own limitations can help us live a meaningful life.
In this interview, Mr. Chowdhury takes us through his journey to what he is doing today, trials and tribulations he has had to face throughout his career, his strategy for dealing with self-doubt and stress that comes with being an entrepreneur, talks about how mPower is approaching its next phase of growth to how shared autonomy defines its internal culture and why finding right people remains a key challenge for his company to his ambition for mPower over the next few years, shares his thoughts on education, leadership and strategy, discusses the metamorphosis that the development sector is going through and his views about the future of the sector, and reflects on why our deeper meaning and soul-satisfying joy comes from taking the uncharted path and bringing about enduring change and why we should actively resist mere busyness over living and the temptation of pursuing fame or wealth alone over meaningful work.
In this interview, Mr. Mamun walks us through his early life and upbringing, reflects on his journey to what he is doing today, trials and tribulations he has had to face throughout his career, shares his thoughts on the state and the future of financial industry in Bangladesh, talks about his work at PwC Bangladesh, PwC Bangladesh operation, its internal culture of collaboration and his ambition for PwC Bangladesh going forward, discusses how empathy and creating opportunities for people to grow and lead informs his management philosophy, shares his thoughts on leadership and why leadership is not about the self, and growing an organization, ponders upon the meaning of life and explores the eminent importance of gratitude and creating value for others.
In this interview Mr. Ali walks us through his early life and upbringing, reflects on his journey to what he is doing today, his multiple decades of career spanning multiple companies, companies and important roles, trials and tribulations he has had to face throughout his career, shares his thoughts on leadership and strategy, talks about his work at Partex Star Group (CX-1), current state of the company and his ambition for the organization and incredible importance of building a solid culture, discusses his management philosophy and why it is important beyond measure to invest in people, shares his ideas for being an effective CEO, ponders upon the meaning of life and explores the eminent importance of contribution, why our moral authority comes from doing the right thing regardless of our position, limitations of MBAs and why it does not matter where you start and how slow your start, rather it is about persistence and commitment to improving yourself and your life.
Prime Bank Managing Director and CEO, Rahel Ahmed, on his early life, influence of his father on how he looks at life and works, how he started his banking career, his journey to the Managing Director and CEO of Prime Bank, the current state of Prime Bank’s business, how Prime Bank’s plan to diversify its business, why culture is critical for every organization, how team Prime Bank is working on building a culture of collaboration and teamwork, the future of Banking in the age of fintech and how Prime Bank is investing in technology to meet the demand of a changing market, the challenges for Prime Bank and its ambition going forward, why technology will improve the banking as a service, why empowering people is the best form of management, a few sectors he is bullish about, why leadership is all about setting examples for people to follow, and why we all should invest in building meaningful connections with people because people are opportunities, luck, and knowledge.
In this interview, Mr. Islam and I discuss a wide variety of issues including how intense physical training and strict discipline at Cadet College changed his life for the better, the declining importance of values in our society, limitation of our education system which is too occupied with just good grades and better jobs, why we don’t have that many global brands from Bangladesh and how we should deal with our huge young population. We discuss his journey to what he is doing today, the state of BBF today and his plans for the organization. We also talk about challenges for BBF in the coming years, organizational culture, his management philosophy and the importance of building a purpose-driven organization. We cap our conversation with an exploration of the inherently difficult nature of every meaningful journey and why we should overlook the difficulties on our way to achieving our ambition because ‘brick wall is there to keep other people out not us.’
In this interview, Ashraf Bin Taj illustrates his journey to what he is doing today, how IDC came into being, its expansion plans and product strategy to difficulties he had to face due to the lack of support system for early stage companies to how openness and horizontal structure defines its internal culture and why finding right people remains a key challenges for his company and shares his ambition for IDC over the next few years that includes launching its own brand and greater automation and reflects on his management philosophy, hard work of entrepreneurship and why deeper meaning and greater satisfactions of life comes from giving and helping fellow human beings.
In this interview Mr. Azman reflects on his journey to what he is doing today, shares his thoughts on telecom industry, innovation, leadership and strategy, discusses Grameenphone’s digital strategy, and future plans of the operator, addresses questions around net neutrality, quality and cost of data service, how Grameenphone tackles classic innovator’s dilemma when it comes to innovation, future of its digital services, and explores the eminent importance of hard work and incredible power of our action and why it is critical that our work adds value to the lives of others for a fulfilling life.
Ejaj Ahmad is the Founder and President of Bangladesh Youth Leadership Center (BYLC). In this interview, he reflects on how his early life experiences and passion for public service and leadership shaped his future, the impetus behind starting BYLC, the current state of BYLC and his future plans for the organization, talks about his management philosophy and how he looks at the idea of leadership and life and how a strong sense of our own mortality can help us to live a meaningful life.
Life is short and ephemeral in nature, as Ejaj contemplates here, “our life is finite,” then he continues as if it occurs to him that “our impact can be infinite” if only we do things that matter and add value to the lives of others. The entire interview is sublime, insightful, and intellectually empowering. We believe Ejaj’s story will elevate you and inspire you to choose life over mere living.
In an interview with Future Startup, Mr. Khan reflects on his early life and career and how courage and risk shape our life, how he got into accounting and finance, his early career at IDLC and how curiosity, ambition, and hard work drive us, his vision for IDLC now that he is back again, working culture and growth of IDLC and his plans for the fast-growing NBFI of the country, how professional accounts can contribute to the economic development and his plan for ICMAB, the national body for Professional Cost and Management Accountants, of which he is the current President, and why serving others is the most important work of all that can change our lives forever.