Zamilur Rahman Shuvo
In this day and age, a business can thrive only when it embraces the blessings of technology. For most companies in our country, this digital transformation has not been as smooth of a transition as one would expect. And this is where Ernst & Young comes in. One of the top 4 business consultancies worldwide, EY has been actively contributing to the development of a Digital Bangladesh, among other things. The company has been operating under the astute supervision of its Associate Vice President, Mr. Md. Muiz Tasnim Taqui. In this candid conversation, Mr. Muiz talks about the past, present, and future of business practices in Bangladesh.
- So, how did you start your professional career?
So, I graduated from Ahsanullah University, majoring in Computer Science & Engineering. After that, I started my career with SAP practice and began by working for a partner company in Bangladesh. During my tenure there we worked on multiple projects from both private as well as government sectors. After that, I joined Ernst & Young. Initially, my job responsibility was to oversee the business side of SAP and other technological business practices in the private sector of Bangladesh. At present, I am heading the market of EY Bangladesh as an Associate Vice President.
- Great! And how did your responsibility at Ernst & Young evolve over the years?
I moved on to work in the Private Sector Technology division as a Consultant. I have also been in charge of overseeing the Banking Sector while working on the Technology Division of the Government Sector horizontally. All in all, at Ernst & Young I look after the market of all the functional sectors in Bangladesh.
- While we are on the subject, can you give us an idea of EY’s business practices?
Yes, with pleasure. So Ernst & Young is one of the major business consultancy firms that provide services related to Technology and Auditing. In fact, we are one of the Big 4 Audit Companies worldwide, as we say it in the business consultancy arena. We have 5 primary business practices. First, we have our Financial Services Assurance practice, which is built around our core audit delivery while encompassing services across our multiple sectors. Then come to our Advisory services. We have over 40,000 EY advisory professionals around the world. Then we have Tax services where we create strategies for our clients to help them manage and meet tax obligations whilst enhancing their financial performance. We also provide Transaction Advisory Sales (TAS) by working with people from varied disciplines to help large clients manage and execute high-profile transactions. We mostly handle transactions of Venture Capital and Merger & Acquisition under this service. Lastly, we provide Core Business Services as well that looks into multiple layers of Financial Services of an organization altogether. Globally we are operating in more than 150 countries right now. And my job is to align the practices of Bangladesh with that of other countries globally where EY is operational as well. We have very bilateral communication in terms of cross-country business practice, where EY Bangladesh can utilize resources from other global branches and vice versa.
- It took you less than 3 years to get promoted to Associate Vice President at EY. What are the challenges that you’ve seen your company face during your rise to top management?
To be honest, we’ve had to face quite an uphill battle when we started off in Bangladesh. The most prominent challenge was to establish the practice of business consultancy and offer Value Propositions for companies to work with us. We started at a time when people hadn’t yet accustomed themselves to our form of business. So we had to bring people up to speed. We took the initiative to educate and aware of the endless possibilities of technology. On top of that, since we are a global company, we have to balance the financial side between local client expectations, while maintaining consistency with our international rate. Scouting for local employees with consultancy expertise was also another big challenge. Companies were reluctant to make this drastic change initially, so it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing at the beginning for us. We had to persist through quite a few hurdles to get to the position we are at now.
- How do you feel witnessing EY’s growth under your watch?
(Laughs) As I said, we had a lot of basic yet complex challenges initially. At first, we had to depend on foreign resources for projects because we did not have sufficient local expertise at our disposal. Fresh graduates didn’t proactively seek a career in this when EY started. But things have changed now. People are more enthusiastic about acquiring relevant expertise and diligently apply those in the consultancy sector. Over the years, we have worked hard on setting up our team, handpicking talented prospects, and grooming them to develop into a future leader. We started off at an 800 sq ft space but now we own an office of more than 8000 sq ft. It has been a bumpy ride for sure but I wouldn’t trade it in for anything less.
- That’s quite a big leap. So moving on, what/who has been your source of motivation regarding your career so far?
Well, my father has been my biggest source of inspiration, from day one. I have learned some valuable life lessons from him, both as a person and a professional. My father was a government service provider, but he was far from the usual concept the role entailed generally. He was immensely passionate about his work. His focus was always to provide a better experience, better services to the people. He lived to serve his people. Apart from that, I have also learned that the key to staying committed to your work is by owning your position in the company. You have to fall in love with your work, with the company. Representing your employer with pride and confidence can reap rewards while dealing with clients. I consider our local companies as Country Developers. I want to instill a company culture within EY that even long after Muiz is gone; we continue facilitating our own local talents.
- That’s an inspiring thought! So how do you think companies in Bangladesh should set their sustainability frameworks in the New Normal?
We must look into the future without losing sight of past experiences. Companies have to move forward with lessons learned during this pandemic crisis and come up with solutions, fixes that will sustain long after COVID-19 phases out. We cannot just turn a blind eye to the way of operating in the present and closet them post-pandemic. Companies must find the right balance between strategies that were operational pre-COVID and those in practice now.
- As a Vice President of a Multinational Business Consultancy, what suggestions do you have for the students?
In this instance, I would suggest everyone focus on the lessons we have learned so far during this pandemic. We have been hearing about layoffs, job cut downs for months now, so much so that it has manifested a sense of distress among graduates. To them, my advice is to observe the job market. Who have been the survivors of these layoffs, these cutdowns? Evidently these are people who have successfully created a position for themselves in the organization. As a fresh graduate entering the job market, your first priority should be to present your worth to the employers. Organizations will take you in if you can convince them that you will be a valuable addition to their team. They want to see what you can bring to the table, what you can offer to the organization that will prove to be a game-changer in the current market. My suggestion is, do your research, plan a concrete idea that you can sell in front of the interview board.
- Any last words of advice for our Torun readers?
Focus. Focus on your dreams, on your work. But most importantly, focus on the positivity around you and uplift yourself to do better everyday. Do not lose sight of your goal. You can be successful but only after you figure out the lengths you are willing to go in order to achieve it. There’s nothing as sweet as hard work paying off. So never take your foot off the pedal. Success will follow suit sooner or later.