"RESPONDING TO THE NEEDS OF BUSINESS COMMUNITY", DR. JAVED ASHRAF
Excerpts from an interview with Director Institute of Business Administration
By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Aug 13 - 19, 2001
The Institute of Business Administration (IBA) is the oldest business school in Pakistan. The graduates from IBA are serving in local, multinational and transnational companies and even abroad at senior positions. Most of the fresh graduates, when they begin their professional career, are offered better salaries and more responsible positions as compared to the graduates from other institutions. This is a clear demonstration of the faith of employers in IBA graduates. The Institute has often introduced some of the courses in Pakistan for the first time. This has been made possible only because the employers have been helping the faculty in preparing improved course outlines. Not only that corporates are the biggest employers of IBA graduates, these companies also support the institute financially. Therefore, IBA has a greater responsibility and has to work harder to come up to the expectations of the students and the corporates.
In the recent past, after the establishment of a large number of business schools, it has been said that these schools must address 'quality' issue. I appreciate that PAGE has also highlighted this in its cover stories published in last two years. In my own humble opinion, quality of graduates depends on a combination of a number of factors. These are: quality of entrants, academic qualification and experience of faculty and curriculum. An elaborate infrastructure also has a role to play. IBA has a glorious past which also demands that enormous input must be made to maintain the highest level of dissemination of knowledge. Learning is a two way process. Even if an institution has the best of faculty and infrastructure but students are less efficient or have lesser quest for knowledge, the results cannot be very encouraging.
Fortunately, the students joining IBA have more vivacity, get the guidance of qualified and experienced educators and the Institute provides them better exposure to the real life. The natural impact of all the above mentioned factors is superior quality of IBA graduates. The constant interaction of graduates with the Institute, their suggestions and recommendations help in knowing our strengths and weaknesses. Based on this constant feedback the faculty members have been improving upon the courses being taught and IBA has been able to offer new courses.
As I have said earlier, IBA's emphasis has been on dissemination of superior quality education in all the disciplines. To further consolidate its position, IBA has prepared an ambitious programme with specific attention on improving the quality of faculty and improving infrastructure. IBA has already acquired full-time services of 15 Ph Ds and sent another six of its faculty members for doctorate programme abroad. IBA plans to send at least six faculty members for doctorate programme every year. At the same time IBA's doctorate programme is being revived. We aim at producing 15 Ph Ds, under this programme, in next couple of years. This summer we invited 5 professors from the USA to teach at IBA and we will continue this practice.
IBA has the facilities and it also emphasizes dissemination of quality education in Information Technology (IT). We are upgrading our Centre for Computer Studies and inducting additional faculty for this purpose.
IBA is blessed with adequate financial resources. We have been supported by a number of corporates including Citibank, which is also the biggest employer of the MBAs specializing in banking. Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) supports IBA financially as well as in developing course outline and material for Export Marketing programme.
To conclude I will say that IBA has embarked an ambitious expansion plan. We wish to make IBA a leading Think-Tank of Pakistan. We have already received 22,000 books from the USA, free of cost, and much bigger shipments are expected in near future. We are creating the facilities and infrastructure for the students. I, personally, do not wish to treat the students like school going children. They are grown ups and know their stakes in life. It is up to them to make the best utilization of their time and resources at their disposal. If they spend more time on acquiring knowledge and equipping themselves better to face a very challenging tomorrow they themselves will be the biggest beneficiary.