16 May Dynamic You
Dynamic you, an eminent initiative under the Professional Development avenue, was organized with the aim of creating an opportunity for the passionate youth to get a glimpse of potential career pathways available in different industries. This was initiated as two virtual informative sessions which took place on two consecutive days. Sessions were streamed live via Zoom and Facebook platforms on the 20th and 21st of November 2020 with the presence of six esteemed guests from the fields of Telecommunication, Entrepreneurship, Education, Retail Marketing, Hospitality and Tourism, and Banking and Finance.
The eminent guest speakers were Mr. Harshana Ranmuthugala, HR operations Deputy General Manager of Sri Lanka Telecom PLC representing the telecommunication industry, Mr. Dulinda Perera, Founder/CEO of IKON Group of Companies representing Entrepreneurship and Prof. Arosha Adikaram, Senior lecturer, the Head of HR Department of the University of Colombo representing the field of education, Ms.Sudarshani Basnayke, Industrial and Employee Relations Manager of Jay Kay Marketing (Private) Limited representing Retail Marketing Sector, Mr.Kasun Abeynayake, Secretary-General/ Vice president of International Tourism Leaders’ Summit and Tourism Research Conference representing Hospitality and Tourism Industry, Ms.Apeksha Jayaweera Manager and a trainer of Bank of Ceylon representing the Banking and Finance Industry. These interactive virtual sessions were moderated by Rtr. Afkar Saleem and was commended by the guest speakers for his proficient manner of conducting the discussion.
1. Telecommunication Industry
Joining as the first guest speaker, Mr. Harshana Ranmuthugala started off the discussion with an insightful answer to the question that was directed at him on what telecommunication is and how it has evolved in Sri Lanka. “For the past five years the main concern was on providing uninterrupted connectivity (internet) and the next five years will be focused on ‘Internet of Things', where it is about bringing technologies to the households. AI (Artificial Intelligence) is the future of Telecom” he stated. Adding on to the discussion he pointed out how the traditional telecommunication service provider’s role has transformed from a basic communication service provider’s role to a digital service provider’s role due to the rapid changes in the industry. Commenting on the career opportunities available in this sector he pointed out that the jobs have also evolved with the emerging technologies where skills and capabilities that are required for modern jobs have advanced along. According to Mr. Harshana Ranmuthugala, basic skills are required for every job, yet it is important to improve our capabilities through continuous learning given that the current environment is quite unpredictable and dynamic.
Further sharing his opinion with us, he stated that if management undergraduates were to enter the telecommunication industry, business analytics and data analytics are the most recommended areas to pursue given that currently, Bigdata is playing a vital role in the industry whereas in any industry information is power. After having such an insightful discussion with Mr. Harshana Ranmuthugala, he added the following three advices to wrap up his part of the session.
- Be brilliant on your basics; in the short run improve your skills and competencies and in long run broaden your capabilities.
- Master the ability of learning, unlearning, and relearning as it is the key to the success.
- To avoid work-related stress in any given job, be smart enough to stay passionate and to pursue innovative approaches in problem-solving despite whatever the fields that you are engaged in.
Next in line was the discussion session with Mr. Dulinda Perera on entrepreneurship, which was kick-started by Rtr. Afkar by directing the first question to him.
"What does multitasking mean to you?"
Giving a quite interesting answer to the question he said,
“Fundamentally I believe that you have to be a jack of all trades rather than a master of all, the world evolves really fast and if we don’t know which talent/resource of ours would become obsolete tomorrow”
With that golden piece of advice, he started off by discussing the importance of multitasking and how it opens doorways to do a lot of different things which makes multitasking quite vital for everything in the current world. Sharing his opinion on what exactly entrepreneurship is, he stated, “entrepreneurship is a personalized topic and what entrepreneurship is for you might not be the entrepreneurship for me, entrepreneurship is about drawing lines, ability to connect with people, ability to define new status cores and the ability to create something out of limited resources". Further discussing on this he pointed out that it is fundamentally wrong to define entrepreneurship as the ability to start a business on our own. On a broader definition of entrepreneurship, it can even be seen in people who are in corporate establishments, yet practice entrepreneurship as employees. It is what is defined as intrapreneurship or corporate entrepreneurship. He added that he humbly believes that entrepreneurship is not a cup of tea for everybody, as it is not a pathway that is so easy. Encouraging the viewers he added,
Commenting on an unpopular opinion about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the businesses and the entrepreneurs, he stated that there are a substantial amount of industries and businesses that have done really well and have boomed because of the pandemic whilst everything going digital in the given circumstances. Adding on he stated that this is the ideal time for passionate entrepreneurs to lay the groundwork (project their business) and to start off later on at the right moment despite what kind of a business it is, as the entire world is now coming into a new normal. Moving on with the discussion Mr. Dulinda Perera brought forward the fact that how COVID-19 has overnight wiped out certain skill sets and has brought the need for a new skill set to the table.
“If you are not tech-savvy and IT savvy, the chances are high that you will soon be irrelevant in your specific space under the given circumstances. Everything and anything that is related to the digital space has a crazy potential right now.”
After such amazing words of wisdom, “Sometimes you essentially don’t need to start a business at the highest scale, you can scale it up as you move on, you always have that option” Mr. Dulinda Perera lastly added as a closing remark.
3. Education Industry
The final guest speaker for the day was Prof. Arosha Adikaram, who was not a new face for many of the viewers. Answering the question ‘how has the pandemic affected the usual order of things?’ (the quite common question during discussions these days) she stated that “Work-life boundaries have become blurred with the current situation. Teaching-learning theories now have to be revisited under the given circumstances.” Moving towards the main topic, education; she pointed that despite the high competition, undergraduates have a wide range of opportunities in the job market if they make the right decision on where exactly they want their career pathway to be directed at. She also mentioned that when someone is deciding on which professional area to specialize in, it is vital to avoid misconceptions. She recommended the viewers to seek advice from the specialists/the right people and to make a conscious rational decision that is unbiased. Furthermore, the importance of improving soft skills along with technical skills was emphasized throughout the session. In order to achieve the desired state of success in one’s career, it is quite important to improve soft skills along with the qualifications and it is also important to become a good communicator with confidence, personality, and professionalism. Voicing her opinion to viewers, she stated the importance of taking a break and enjoying life while stepping out from the current ‘rat race of piling up education qualifications’.
Prof. Arosha Adikaram stated the following as the ending note;
4. Retail and Marketing
Day 02 of Dynamic You was started with the presence of Ms.Sudarshani Basnayake. She started her session by giving an idea of how the retail sector revolution happened to start with mama and papa boutique to supermarkets. When it comes to a career as a young graduate in the retail sector, she mentioned that “Young graduates can keep their first step as a management trainee of Keells outlet. This manager acts as the CEO of that particular outlet therefore that person will be able to gain his or her conceptual, human and technical skills”. Next, she answered the question raised by the moderator regarding what's happening in the sector during this pandemic, she answered question mentioning how the staff has been provided with health and safety guidelines as well as with the safety equipment and she explained how they treat their staff on-site and off-site during this pandemic.
She concluded her session with the ultimate message of
5. Hospitality and Tourism
Next Mr.Kasun Abeynayake was on-screen answering the very common question which was about the new normal life. He specially mentioned that this is a blank stage for all. This pandemic will not last forever, this is a good time to research, invent the strengths you have, and make life a successful one. Then this will be a remarkable one for all.
When it comes to starting a career in this industry, he emphasized that you don't need to be specialized in this field, the only thing needed is the right attitude. The next question was how the pandemic affected this industry; He mentioned that World Labour Organization has mentioned that 90 million people have lost their jobs. Mainly this affected tourism but after the pandemic era, this industry will be the prosperous industry in Sri Lanka and will be the most important industry as well.
His message for the audience was “Life is a journey; tourism is not a job it’s a passion which comes from you.”
6. Banking and Finance
The next session was regarding the Banking and Finance sector, Ms. Apeksha Jayaweera was on screen to explain about this sector. She started her session by answering the question raised regarding the importance of the Banking and Finance industry.
“Banks are the Agents of the economy; the economy won't survive with this sector since there will be an imbalance between deficit units and the excess units of money. This sector is the key player in the Economy"
When it comes to career paths available for young graduates and undergraduates, she mentioned that the best way to enter into this field is as a management trainee. Then, you will be able to go up in the hierarchy as assistant manager, manager, senior manager, etc. As banks have a tall hierarchy the exposure, the experience you get as a banker is unmatchable. In addition, she explained that you do not need to be a graduate in the finance field; other areas will also be helpful to work in prestigious banks.
Winding up the project ‘Dynamic you’ one of the co-chairpersons of the project, Rtr. Venuri Wijesooriya delivered the vote of thanks where she took the opportunity to appreciate the valued participation of the viewers and also to thanked everyone who put in their effort in order to make the event a success. Throughout the overall session, viewers were given the opportunity to get a better outlook at potential future career pathways and the success of the event vividly showcased the immense effort of the project team.
Rtr. Gihini Gunawardena
Member – 2020/21
Rtr. Venuri Wijesooriya
Member – 2020/21