The gap between academic theories and practical applications has always been a concern in this aggressively competitive world today. Many different methods have been approached and embraced in an attempt to bridge it, ranging from case studies of real life examples to constructive seminars and workshops. But none have quite the impact of an actual hands-on experience, witnessing the implementation of the concepts and business models studied within the four walls of a classroom. That was the very notion that encouraged the Faculty of Business Administration [FBA], create opportunities for the students to be taken out on corporate visits.

During the final term of the semester, students undertaking the core course of ‘Principles of Marketing’, from Sections C and F, participated in an in-class competition where they were assigned to present a case study on Integrated Marketing Communications. The groups were graded on their visual creativity, innovative solutions, and overall performance of the case analysis. The submissions ranged from PowerPoint slide decks to colorful posters and flipbooks. Students scoring the highest marks were selected as the winning teams of the competition, the prize for which was a corporate visit to one of the top ad firms in the country, Bitopi Advertising Ltd., an affiliate of the global network of Leo-Burnett.

On the 4th of May 2014, arranged and accompanied by the course instructor, Miss Shama Islam, Lecturer of the Department of Marketing [FBA] and Special Assistant to the Office of Student Affairs [OSA], the students of the winning teams were taken to the Bashundhara office of Bitopi. The general session was conducted by the Director of Planning, Mr. Farooq Shams, who introduced the students to the basic idea of an advertising agency, elaborating on the business of communication and the core processes of the firm, relating the textbook theories to their real life applications in the corporate world. The students were explained the grass-root levels of consumer behavior, market segmentation, targeting, and positioning, using local and global examples of relevant brands. After the initial session, the students were given a tour of the premises by Mr. Imran Ahmed Saudagar, a member of the Account Servicing department, showcasing the organizational structure, corporate culture, and work environment. The students also had the privilege to have a meet-and-greet with some other members of the top management of Bitopi, namely Ms. Sarah Ali, the Managing Director, Mr. Kaniska Chakraborty, the Executive Vice President, Mr. Shakib Chowdhury, the Executive Creative Director, and Mr. Nausher Chowdhury, the Digital Communication Director. At the end of the visit, all the members of the top management were presented with gift bags from AIUB as a token of appreciation.

The students were not only excited about the trip but also overwhelmed by the warm welcome and hospitality of all the members at Bitopi. It was an experience that motivated them to look forward to pursuing a career in the corporate world, intrigued by the creative energies of Bitopi. All in all, everyone’s enthusiasm made the trip worth it.