CDEMIA MEETS CORPORATE
Interestingly, organizations are recognizing that if they are to attract the best and brightest talent, they must create purpose-driven organizations aligned with values like meaningful work and social utility. Academia and industry can share a strong synergetic relationship here. Research work in universities is taken up by the industry and turned into products and services to market. Industry, on the other hand, looks to academia for solutions to their concerns. However, practically, we have seen there is a huge gap in academia about how markets work and the ability to analyze this independently.
Both industry and academia can benefit from long-term cooperation. Most importantly, society will help in social sciences, engineering, marketing, branding, communications, environmental sciences, artificial intelligence, and more that will vastly improve everyone’s life if the two work towards a similar goal. Colleges and universities teach us theoretical knowledge of markets and trends in the industry. But not very much practical experience is taught about marketing strategies to compete in competitive environments or to meet the demand.
Students think a degree is sufficient to get a job, sometimes unknowingly set up unrealistic expectations in terms of salary, timing, and mobility. Knowledge earned from a degree is not enough to survive in the corporate world nowadays.
The industry wants a robust work attitude, analytical, listening, and communication skills. It also looks for a team player who is motivated by a collaborative approach, dedicated, has a basic understanding of the business and its processes and an ability to learn and unlearn. This industry needs to learn a lot about modern market mechanisms, which are not in place in many organizations. So, freshers could learn from the organizations.
We learn in higher education, mostly theoretical knowledge tried and tested skills and methodologies to solve problems. However, in real corporate life comes with challenges every day, for which a work attitude needs to be cultivated. Theoretical knowledge gained cannot be applied to practical applications every time.
Also, for fresh graduates, expectations in terms of the work environment, salary, and job profile are not realistic. They face harsh situations at the workplace due to a lack of bad employer attitude and unorganized process orientation in many companies. In a few cases, there is no such job description at all.
Industry expert interaction should, therefore, be increased. More and more workshops and seminars should be planned. Professors should base their courses on practical necessities from industry experts.
It’s a worrying sign that a large number of graduates are produced every year without any employable skills! It brings to light the issue that students are getting degrees, but not being taught to think independently.
Our education system continues to be pulled down by conventional learning concepts and a shortage of faculties in many universities. Poor language skills and communication, body language, self-confidence, analytical ability, personal grooming are the effects of these inadequate facilities.
The industry and academia must have productive discussions about the areas where they can work for mutual benefit. To discuss the current need of the industry in terms of competent workforce and how academia can help them to inculcate the desired skill set.
The companies must also be transparent by conveying properly what their expectations are from marketing graduates. They need to create avenues for close academia and industry interaction through all the phases of modern technology in marketing. They must create a proper corporate culture and positive work environment so that fresh graduates and human talents can cope.
The industry has the highest expectations for newly hired MBAs. Let them hire people for knowledge and attitude and train them for their skills and give time. Corporates should bear in mind that for growth and development, they need to provide adequate time for learning and constant learning and updating their knowledge to match changing environments and market realities. These learning and development programs like induction training programs, refresher training programs need to be available in the workplace through which they are conversant in practical knowledge.
Due to these unrealistic expectations and poor work culture and environment, new BBA/MBA graduates get easily frustrated. If they cannot perform up to expectations, they start looking elsewhere. This leads to several newly hired employees to jump from one organization to another in hopes of getting the job that meets their expectations, even if that job is not available to recent graduates.
The recent slowdown in job creation in the private sector should be treated as a looming threat to the economy.
Academicians and corporates need to reinvent themselves in new ways on a systematic platform that creates value for prospective employees. They need their training and development infrastructure if needed customized modules. Students need to engage themselves with the corporate environment and need to understand the difference between job and career; they should involve extracurricular activities or various events with corporates.
Involvement of industry across the value chain, and not limited to the placement process to ensure employability, curriculum balance in business knowledge and skills, with leadership and soft skill development ,industry exposure through live projects, internships, and case studies on real business can be beneficial for both the employers and potential employees.
A NEW WORLD HAS COME
The Third Industrial Revolution was the digital revolution, which gave birth to the new knowledge economy. It has created thousands of new businesses and job opportunities and laid the foundation for sustainable economic globalization.
However, we are currently experiencing a Fourth Industrial Revolution, the most deep-seated concerning its predecessors. Previous industrial revolutions resulted in more significant social and economic disparity, so we need to make sure the same does not happen again. This Fourth Industrial Revolution (4thIR) is so different because we are developing the ability to design and engineer the world around us.
Bangladeshi corporates need to formulate policies in advance to face the challenges of the impending 4IR.
We think jobs will never reduce. Instead, 4IR will create more jobs for high-skilled workers.
Are we ready in terms of soft skills and a changed mindset in the corporate world for this? We need to formulate a strategy along with an implementation plan to connect the future. Those who seize this opportunity will see an ample of opportunities.
With the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution era, we need to consider knowledge, education, and skill development to be at the forefront of all skill development. In this context, enhancing the skill base of the young workforce to make it compatible with future demands is necessary. Currently, there is a huge skill shortage in the country when it comes to strategy, technology, and marketing analytics. We have put a lot of emphasis on skill development, exceptionally soft and technical skills, but we need to develop a proper ecosystem to foster such transformation.
It is high time for the authorities to take strict policies to transform this vast young population into human capital and to promote technology-driven marketing jobs. Otherwise, 4IR will be a curse instead of a blessing for us. Policy-makers, the public, and private sectors, trade organizations need to work together.
Every one of us must get ready and must move fast. We need to employ imagination, creativity, and strategic innovation without delay, where education is critical. Quality education ensures that the population has a high chance of success in today’s fast-changing environment.
Now the time has come to nurture an ecosystem that creates affordable and value-added products and services for ourselves and the world through Value Creation in Corporate Marketing & Industry-Academia Cooperation.
*THE WRITER is a marketing professional. He can be reached at