Outlook

Q & A Ask Alumni

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Haseeb Alam

Haseeb Alam, who returned to his native Bangladesh after he earned his degree in marketing in 1998, remains an enthusiastic supporter of his alma mater. He has recruited siblings, friends and relatives to follow him to SCSU.

What has your life been like since graduation?
It’s been work, work and work – and in Bangladesh the working norms are a little different than USA, especially when someone is holding the decision-making seat. It’s a 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. work day, every day, six days a week. But I like being busy. In between I’ve had the experience of becoming a father in 2001.

I’ve had the privilege to form the first private-sector company that created a platform for Bangladesh apparel manufacturers to showcase their production capacity in international trade fairs like the ASAP (Apparel Sourcing Association Pavilion) Trade Show in Las Vegas, of which I am regional head. I’m also the regional head for the largest European apparel and fashion trade fair organizer and for the Prime Source Hong Kong Show. Mine was the first company to bring 12 U.S. buyers with a net purchase capacity of $6 billion to the Bangladeshi Apparel Producing Community, which was never organized before. I own an apparel supply company for North American and European buyers and I have a human resource development firm that trains local people and finds them suitable skilled industrial jobs overseas.

Why did you choose to come to SCSU?
I picked Minnesota for college because I thought it was like Switzerland. I got the snow and the lakes – but no snow-capped mountains. But it was a beautiful area and a wonderful experience. Why SCSU in particular? Because SCSU took most of the credits that I completed back in Bangladesh. At the end of the day, I thank SCSU for choosing me and giving me this wonderful experience.

What did you enjoy most about campus life?
Every day I thank my lucky stars for taking me to SCSU and St. Cloud – I saw firsthand what the real America is and I had the wonderful opportunity to meet nice, warm and friendly people all over.

What were some of the biggest challenges of studying so far from home?
Obviously it has to be the same for all international students – not seeing my family/loved ones for so long. When I came to St. Cloud I paid $2.50 a minute to call home, but by the time I left it was $0.79 a minute. So, over time – home sickness also got better.

Who were your favorite or most memorable professors, and why?
One was my first and only advisor, Professor Kenneth Miller in marketing, who gave me the best suggestions to get through my schooling. I would add Jerry Pasela, the Center for International Studies, who was there for every international student on a 24/7 basis.

Do you ever get back to campus?
I come to St. Cloud about twice a year. My sister graduated from SCSU and now my brother is going to SCSU. Since I’m running out of siblings, I’m trying to gear up my association with alumni to find further avenues to develop my active participation with SCSU. So far I have brought eight students to SCSU over the years and have offered to explore ways to promote SCSU here in Bangladesh.

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