BBF: What was the initial purpose behind bringing CIM qualification in Bangladesh and who are stakeholders of the collaboration?
Tanvir Ahmed: The academy for professional qualification is a collaborative platform. ALIANAz is the authorised provider of CIM qualifications in Bangladesh. We have a partnership with Cambridge Professional Academy, which support us in terms of learning and knowledge. They are CIM’s world’s largest study centre globally with decades of experience. Bangladesh Brand Forum is our on-ground partner responsible for student interactions. This joint effort ensures that our marketers in Bangladesh get provided the very best marketing qualifications without travelling abroad. For any practising marketer travelling for education becomes a big blocker in a journey toward higher qualifications. We wanted to bridge this need gap and establish a travel-free knowledge platform. From that thinking, I alongside Shariful Islam, the Founder and Managing Director of Bangladesh Brand Forum agreed that there is a need, and we must make a difference by providing an opportunity for the marketers in Bangladesh. Then, we had multiple hours of meetings with the CIM. This collaboration ensures that we give the best to our students without making them travel physically to the UK. Thanks to modern technology, our students get virtual classes and have access to the best of e-learning content that we can provide.
BBF: How are the modules structured in each distinguished level of CIM to meet the next-level marketing needs?
CIM has different levels of qualifications starting from level 3 to level 7. Each level is designed for a very specific target audience. Say, level 3 is for those people who want to create a career in marketing without having a university degree. In some parts of the world, many students after finishing college decide not to join university but rather acquire specialised qualifications and start a career in that field. So, this module is specially designed for them. Whereas level 4 is designed for those who have some marketing experience. The more advanced modules start with level 6 which is quite similar to a diploma. There are three different types of diplomas now, which are professional marketing, digital marketing, and sustainable marketing. There are modules such as innovation in marketing, digital customer experience, resource management, managing brands, and other advanced courses. It’s a blended education with both theoretical and practical knowledge.
However, we get most of our students in level 7 from Bangladesh. This level offers a postgraduate diploma in professional marketing which is a UK Master’s equivalent course. Most of our students so far have attended this one and done it brilliantly. All these Bangladeshi students either got a promotion or got a job in another organisation after graduation. Our last three students even passed with distinctions. In short, they all had a step up in their career. This course definitely makes a big difference in strategic skills when managing and creating change for your brand. This qualification will help develop strategic skills in assessing strategic options, justifying decisions including financial assessments, appraising, and managing a corporate brand, and creating entrepreneurial change. This qualification is very appropriate for someone who is working as a Marketing Director or aspiring to become one. Most of our students have chosen their businesses as the case topic. All our past students informed me that this qualification helped them to learn how to evaluate the potential impact of emerging contemporary marketing challenges and apply strategic thinking to develop future strategies. It also helped them manage an organisation’s assets to build and sustain a clear market position to guide, support and implement market-led change within an organisation.
BBF: Upon graduating how can the global CIM community benefit a marketer in professional decision making?
The moment someone becomes a CIM member, they become a member of the world’s top community of marketers with people who have practised marketing for years and reached a higher level in their careers and are extremely knowledgeable. We Chartered Marketers have our common forums. More importantly, we have access to a huge knowledge bank of CIM. CIM continuously arranges lots of learning initiatives like webinars, podcasts, and seminars. It has an extremely rich newsletter as well. We also have access to CIM’s online learning portal. So, that’s how we become a part of a global community.
Now, when I’m working on a project, let’s say for my own business, I’m trying to finalise a strategy for my brand. If I get stuck somewhere, my first go-to place is the CIM database. I go there and check what relevant learning or new publications are out there. Sometimes I find my fellow marketers who are specialised in that area. I reach out to that person asking for suggestions. Sometimes, other marketers also contact me. So, we have this communication channel. It’s a two-way beneficiary situation.
BBF: How can CIM knowledge contribute to a marketer’s personal and organisational growth?
Being one of the advisors of the CIM committee, I have access to all the CIM modules and resources. The biggest thing that I have realised is that CIM knows what’s happening globally in the field of marketing and they are very good at communicating. They pick up cases from all parts of world. So, we get access to all those in-depth analyses which are not always available in the public domain. It undoubtedly helps a marketer a lot. As an example, back in 2005-6, I was trying to start a business. But I had no idea what I could begin with. At that time, I needed data to craft the business strategy. So, that’s the time I started looking into CIM journals, articles, databases, and research findings. While researching I found this huge trend around natural products. That’s when I started looking into solutions and consumer needs and designed a product range accordingly. If I didn’t have access to the CIM database I wouldn’t be able to make my decision to turn my career this way. For a marketer, it’s the most important thing to know what’s happening today and what’s following tomorrow and spend time behind it. That’s how we bring new solutions and solve consumer tensions. We build a business from scratch and services based on consumer needs. That’s the role of a marketer and that’s why CIM can step in and help us.
BBF: So far, we know you are the only ‘Chartered Marketer’ from Bangladesh. How was the journey and how did you achieve that?
It was a very emotional moment for me to be awarded the status of Chartered Marketer from the most prestigious CIM. As you know this is the highest recognition of a marketer’s ability, experience, and qualification to practice. It is the marketing equivalent of other Chartered professions like accounting and engineering. So indeed a very proud achievement for me.
To become a Chartered Marketer first someone needs to become a graded member of the CIM. When someone joins our qualification, we enrol them as a member. Then they must complete two consecutive years of Continuing Professional Development (CPD. While studying for CIM Qualification, they can use the course details as the CPD. Finally, passing the Chartered Marketer Assessment, which was an online test for me. It was not a simple journey, however not too complex as well. I strongly believe that there should be more chartered marketers coming from Bangladesh. If someone is interested, I will be happy to guide them personally. I am reachable at [email protected]
Mr Tanvir Ahmed, a Chartered Marketer, and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (FCIM), whom has great experience in marketing and is originally from Bangladesh who worked for multiple blue-chip FMCG companies internationally. He is presently located in the United Kingdom where he is managing a beauty and personal care company called ALIANAz. ALIANAz specialises in sustainable beauty, operating in the UK & EU and partners with Amazon. He is also the Founder and Head of Student Relations at the Academy for Professional Qualifications. In a recent interview, Bangladesh Brand Forum conversed with him regarding the prospects of CIM qualification for Bangladeshi marketers.