Wonder what the best part of being at the centre of the telecom market is? Rubaba Dowla Matin is quick to respond: 'change and constant renewal'. She is not just the mastermind behind all the glamorous shows and events Grameen Phone sponsors. As the head of the Marketing Division of the leading cellphone company in Bangladesh, Rubaba has to be constantly on her toes to deal with business challenges to retain the top position. Her energy and determination have helped in making her one of the leading ladies in the marketing scene of the country. By Nazia Manzoor
Says Rubaba 'I grew up with people of different nationalities'. She had her schooling in Saudi Arabia. The exposure to people of different cultures and backgrounds has contributed to her understanding of people. for a marketing executive, that is a primary asset for understanding consumer behaviour. After secondary school in Saudi Arabia, she enrolled in Dhaka University and finished her BBA. After an MBA from IBA, she was ready to apply the knowledge she had gained in practice. Thus began her stint in Grameen Phone. Why did she choose marketing as her major? 'For the sheer
fun of it and because it encompasses all aspects of life' she declares. And the fact that it combines market research, communication, brand management, customer's and global telecom scenario's point of view etc adds more spice to it. What are the major difficulties she faces in her job? 'Well, I have seen the market grow exponentially every year. And now it is important for us to keep an eye on the ever changing scenario,' she feels. 'Competition is keen and there is no scope for complacency in this job' she adds. Rubaba is well aware of the corporate social responsibility. She is very proud of Grameen Phone's stance is helping rural woman and the way it is focusing more and more on social issues. 'It is very important to contribute to the social development of the country,' she says. She feels that the fact that she leads a very competent team makes her job easier. Being in the eye of the storm can have its setbacks, one may think. But for this feisty young woman, the inclination to learn at least one new thing everyday and to uphold the position of market leader in telecommunication is a challenge. While asked if she faces any difficulty in being a woman in a leading position, she says 'From the perspective of Grameen Phone, the answer is a straight no'. In her assessment, women's representation in the job sector depends largely on them. 'They have to respect and appreciate themselves first and only then can they expect the same from their male counterparts.'
Rubaba has been an action-oriented person all her life. Basketball, badminton, golf, you name it, and she knows her game. To be honest, she could have become a lot of other things besides a marketing geek. Recently, she decided to revive her musical passion. 'I am trying to make my son interested in music as well', says the mother of a seven-year old. 'I think parental influence is decisive in a child's upbringing,' she says while talking about her own mother, who is currently working with the Scholastica Enterprise. Her mother is another confident woman who had completed three masters degrees with outstanding results. No prize then for guessing where Rubaba gets her motivation from! Despite a demanding job she has her feet set firmly on the ground. She married in her very first year of University. 'I had no plans to get married so soon,' she confesses. But it turned out to be a good challenge to juggle studies and married life. Juggling is something she is naturally good at because she conceived the same year she joined Grameen Phone. After just a three-month break, Rubaba was ready to roll the dice once again. Her husband of eleven years is an Electrical Engineer who is involved in the garments business right now. When asked what has inspired her to be so devoted to her career, she says 'It's the support of my family'. But a sense of independence drives her. As she puts it: 'I never expect support from anyone. The main thing is to prioritize and to give in if one can not excel in everything.' Today, she is as busy as ever. This smart career woman has little time for herself but she still makes it a point to meet friends and spend quality time with her son. A woman of style as well as substance, she is someone we have a lot to expect from.