A candid interview with Imran Batada – Director, ICT & CICT IBA
PAGE: Tell me something about yourself and your institution:
Imran Batada: I have been associated with Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi for more than a decade. I am currently working here as Director ICT Department, which primarily functions to provide and manage IT facility across IBA Karachi. I am also Founding Director of Center for Information & Communication Technology (CICT) which aims at imparting education and training in the ICT field.
IBA has established itself as a premier business school in Pakistan with a strong track record of over sixty years of producing quality undergraduates and post-graduates in Business Administration, Computer Sciences, and Social Sciences & Liberal Arts.
PAGE: Why did you join IBA Karachi and what impact, being Director of ICT, have you created so far?
Imran Batada: After returning from California, I have been working at IBA Karachi from the year 2006. At that period in time, IBA Karachi had been managing its critical functions ranging from admissions to the issuance of transcripts manually. With putting efforts day and night, we automated the whole procedure by implementing campus management system. The major challenge that we faced during the implementation process was the non-existent Data Center of IBA. We launched the system with the data being stored on the cloud, making IBA the first university to do so! Catering to the connectivity-related needs of 3500-3800 plus students, faculty members and staff is a tough row to hoe. However, with hard work and unwavering determination of our team, we are able to provide them with high-speed internet 24/7 and other state-of-the-art IT facilities.
PAGE: Please tell us about CICT IBA
Imran Batada: The Center for Information & Communication Technology (CICT) is one among different centres of IBA Karachi. CICT offers diploma programs and short courses of a wide range related to IT field. Some of our diploma programs include Big Data Analytics, ERP, Digital Marketing, Information Security etc. The centre has also been engaged with private and public sector to provide training to their workforce. We have also been managing a couple of Sindh-wide programs of youth development.
PAGE: What differentiates you from others in your field is your keen interest in imparting training among government officials. What is the rationale behind it?
Imran Batada: I have been very keen after training government officials as they are the ones who provide services to the nation. The primary aim of imparting training among them is to make them better at serving people. Currently, we have been working with Departments of Information Science & Technology, and Services General Administration & Coordination, Government of Sindh which has a target of training around 1500 Sindh Government officials in a wide range of IT trade.
PAGE: What have you been doing for young people of Pakistan especially those belonging less-fortunate socio-economic strata?
Imran Batada: Pakistan is quite a young country being 64% percent of its total population comprising people below 30 years of age. Unfortunately, this blessing in disguise has become a major problem for the country because of growing unemployment. I had been, since quite a long time, thinking about initiating a program to train this precious yet unexplored asset of our country in order to make them employable. I really would like to mention here two government-funded projects, which have been run and managed by CICT IBA. These are Prime Minister Youth Skills Development Program (PMYSDP) Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Youth Development Program (BBSYDP). Up till now, we have not only trained free-of-cost around 2000 students through these programs but have also created job opportunities for a good portion of them. Just to tell you, a handful of students have been offered internships in IBA Karachi, which later converted into regular jobs.
PAGE: What has been your motivation behind promoting freelancing?
Imran Batada: I have always promoted youth to become freelancers. Currently, Pakistan generates revenue of over US$0.5 billion from the freelancing industry. If we produce one million freelancers in the next five years, we can add US$1.9 billion in the economy. I am sure that the projects of PMYSDP and BBSYDP will prove to be quite instrumental in producing freelancers.
PAGE: What has been contribution towards promoting entrepreneurship?
Imran Batada: Entrepreneurial activities are extremely important for the thriving economies like Pakistan. I would like to mention here two projects that we have been carrying out. The first one is Sindh Research Incubation Center (SRIC) which is a Sindh Government’s project managed by and at CICT IBA. Through this project, we have been providing incubation services. Secondly, CICT IBA offers a diploma program titled ‘IT Entrepreneurship’ which aims at training students to become experienced information technology entrepreneurs.
PAGE: You have also been a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines. What has inspired you to do so?
Imran Batada: I have been writing articles for local newspapers and magazines on wide range of topics. The mere purpose of writing these articles is first to educate people about the growing trends in the IT and education sector. I have also personally written several research papers/case studies and have presented in peer reviewed international conferences.
PAGE: What inspires you to strive more?
Imran Batada: I am a doer, a dreamer, a thinker. I see possibilities everywhere. Napoleon Hill a world-famous American self-help author once said, “The number one reason people fail in life is because they listen to their friends, family, and neighbours.’’ What I believe, is if you do your job 100 percent then you are not answerable to anyone. Doing what is in your hand makes you fearless. Once you’re done with your part, the rest should be left on God. Indeed, He is the best planner.