After moving back from Abu Dhabi in 1990, Ashraf did his O ‘Levels and A ‘levels privately. He has also earned two diplomas in I.T and Law and has a bachelors from AIU in advertising and communication. He is currently a member of Charter Institute Marketing; which is a hub for marketing.
Finally in the year 2010, Ashraf came up with his very own venture “Magnus Communication“. He is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Magnus Communication; which is an advertising, marketing and event management company. Their motto is ‘Branding Pakistan‘ which basically means giving identity and helping promote Pakistan in a positive way regardless of all negativity.Ashraf, a young vibrant entrepreneur precisely a distinctive brand in himself, has experience of over a decade in marketing and advertising. His love for creativity and out of the box thinking has made him unique in what he has to offer to the world.
“It might come as a surprise that Marketing is not a part of my core education.” Ashraf Kalim
Working as a free lance creative locally and internationally, and also dealing in real estate(Dubai) and commodities (part time) grew his network and exposed him to how many businesses work.
I realized early in my working life that there is not much appreciation for creativity here and no matter how grand the idea or concept you have is, there is also a more powerful person ready to turn it down or own it as his . People might be ok with working in such an environment but I couldn’t wait to let go and change the way things work .
When you are in your late teens and early twenties operating a California based mortgage house, dealing in Dubai property and commodities things can easily go to one s head but instead of growing arrogant this motivated Ashraf and made him dream big. At this point he started setting goals in his life. Although this was the I.T and ACCA era when everyone was choosing this field if they were not becoming engineers or doctors.
“Owning a marketing/advertising firm was never my first option but I realized how much I loved persuading people.” Ashraf Kalim
The attitude he developed in all these years grew the fondness for marketing and advertising field. Already full of adventure and passion to learn, he finally knew what he wanted to do for life. His first marketing job was at GFC and later at Inter Globe.
“Pakistan has so much potential, in every field of work especially Arts all, we need is to promote and make our positives visible to the world”, said Ashraf, thoughtfully.
However, for him the best and worst thing about Pakistan is the uncertainty. This is also an advice that he gives to all the aspiring entrepreneurs.
“People like me in Pakistan cannot live with planning their week in advance. Each day brings new challenges. You have an event and the caterers cannot reach because there is a strike call ? Now you need to think and find a solution. This keeps the excitement enlightened.”
According to him people are not happy doing whatever they are doing; whether they are business men or students entering professional lives. The trouble is people don’t explore what they want to do or what they will enjoy doing. There is a certain trend and everyone will start following it. They will not explore the certain talents within.
“I make sure that I take time off every day. I will just sit and listen to my favorite music and think about what I further want to do in life”. Ashraf Kalim
The turning point in his life was his meeting with the fashion pandit, and designer par excellence, Yousuf Bashir Qureshi.
“We were collecting funds for the flood victims, and I see this guy at Park Towers in a dhoti screaming on a mic and asking people to come forward and contribute generously. Yes, that was YBQ“.
Since then, Ashraf never hesitates to associate Yousuf (YBQ) as his mentor for life and the art of giving.
“Yousuf has helped me out a lot from introducing me to the right people and kind of forming a gate way in this field”. Ashraf
Since giving back to the community is something he truly believes in he along with YBQ also formed UNITED PAKISTAN of which Ashraf is also the General Secretary. His focus was never narrow, he actively participated on his own in various activities to help people around him and others.
He stresses on the fact that if we do not connect to people we do not serve the real purpose of life. He strongly suggests that companies should work interdependently to promote each other, Magnus itself is working along the same lines. It runs events, social media and awareness campaigns for global causes such as Anti-smoking, Child labor, Heart disease, Aids, Terrorism, Education, etc.
“If I can I’ll help you. If I cannot promote you then I’ll connect you to the right people. Every time I meet new people I make it a point to sit and try find out what they want” said Ashraf passionately.
While his company is moving towards Sports Marketing and getting more international clients through outsourcing, Magnus is also in collaboration with YBQ studios and the Commune Artist Colony introducing new ventures here in Pakistan such as Lawn News and Photostudio both one of a kind online portals for the fabric Lawn and the other for photography.
The best thing about Ashraf is his proactive and flexible approach to life. Today Magnus has worked with clinets like Arizona Express, Tapal, Engro, CDRS, National Insurance Company Limited, Roasters, Callmate, TDAP, Nokia and many others. His current venture is One Motion Pictures‘ upcoming movie ‘Operation 021‘, a project headed by Azaan Sami Khan where he looks after developing marketing strategies and concepts.
His company is a perfect example of diversity. Hence, Ashraf Kalim’s years of hard work, self sacrifice and patience have made him a successful entrepreneur and an inspirational figure for the upcoming youth of Pakistan.
There is so much pessimism around, one has to be an optimist to survive Ashraf Kalim
This Article Was Published In PM Phegency Magazine 2013