1st International Conference on Business and Management (ICBM 2017), the two-day International Conference, Organized by BRAC Business School (BBS), BRAC University, Bangladesh, focused on the theme of ‘Global Contemporary Practices in Business and Management’. The conference arena turned into a knowledgeable learning environment by the presence of prominent practitioners from different parts of the world such as Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Sweden, China and USA. This event enhances its momentum through the Keynote Speech Session where academicians from different countries shared their thoughts and experiences on the conference theme.
Keynote Session 1 and 2
First keynote session of the day had been chaired by Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam, Former Adviser of Caretaker Government, People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Professor of BRAC Business School, BRAC University. Prof. Dr. Mark GOH, National University of Singapore, was the keynote speaker for the session. Prof. GOH delivered his speech on ‘Emerging Technologies, Global Contemporary Practices in Business, and Supply Chain Management: What Do They Have in Common?’ He also discussed about how emerging technologies will change the contemporary business practices globally and how it will affect supply chain management. He highlighted on the imminent issues like artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning and technological advancement which has countless contributions to make our lives easier.
He further emphasized on the fact that disruptive technology has changed our environment, society, economy and lives, especially the way we conduct our day to day activities get highly influenced by all those. According to his opinion, the world have already experienced major technological advances and will experience many more in near future, but the only thing that has been and will always remain constant is the status quo.
Prof. Dr. Syed Saad Andaleeb, Chancellor, BRAC University was the keynote speaker in the second session of the day. Dr. Salehuddin Ahmed, Former Governor of Bangladesh bank (The Central bank of Bangladesh) and Professor of BRAC Business School, BRAC University as the session chair. The topic of the keynote speech delivered by Prof. Andaleeb was ‘Building a Research Culture’. To clarify the current world scenario he cited the example of California where the first tier of research universities have faculty members who are expected to just create knowledge and who pass sleepless nights to get their works into reputed journals at the year's end.
He further added that the national education policy for 2010 of Bangladesh espouses the need for quality research for finding solutions to problems of the state but there is a general lack of interest among teachers to conduct research. Moreover, referring to Asian Universities he said they are now being considered as the next higher education superpowers with Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong already in the competition for research supremacy with policies designed to promote world-class universities, now it’s our turn to promote the research based culture to compete successfully with the developed nations of the world.
Keynote Session 3 and 4
Prof. Dr. Iftekhar Ghani Chowdhury, Dean, BRAC Business School, BRAC University chaired the third keynote session, where Prof. Dr. Prem Kumar Rajagopal, Vice-Chancellor of Malaysia University of Science and Technology (MUST), was the keynote speaker. Prof. Rajagopal delivered his speech on ‘Industry 4.0 and Supply Chain Responsiveness’. According to his opinion, industry and academia are not going hand in hand. The industry has already started to produce forth computing technologies where devices make decisions rather than sending it to any CPU, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a big role in it, whereas academia seems to be lacking that buzz and only talking about matching with the fourth industrial revolution whilst doing nothing significant to keep pace with the change.
He then stressed on the fact that there is a wide disparity between the industry requirements and skill set offered by students, that’s why students are not being able to solve problems and communicate in accordance. He remarked ‘Smart Data’ and ‘Internet Industry’ as the key to “Industry 4.0”. His session made audience think to re-consider the overall operational process of academia and how it can be upgraded.
The fourth and the final keynote session had been chaired by Prof. Dr. Saiful Majid, Director of Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. Dr. Pairach Piboonrungroj, Associate Dean, Maritime Studies and Management, Chiang Mai University was the keynote speaker in that session. He talked about ‘Globalization or Delocalization? - A Supply Chain Perspective’ and demonstrated the mechanism of conflict between these two. The topic on which he focused on was quite a diverse one compared to rest of the keynote speakers.
Some countries have seen the peak of globalization whilst some suffered to a great deal, he added. In light of both situations, he presented illustration of Facebook- bridging globalization while country like China is staying out of it. Dr. Pairach concluded the session beautifully where he tried to analyze the overall situation through the lens of supply chain and showed how we are adapting to such changes gradually.