Excerpts from an exclusive interview with Dean and Director, Institute of Business Administration

Aug 26 - Sep 01, 2002

Any product or service which is needed has a demand. When there is no demand the product has no worth. However, the professional managers are always in great demand even in developed countries. According to a professor of Stanford Business School, "This is a great time to be in business education. There is plenty of money and technology but shortage of good managers." Therefore, the question of over supply does not arises. Employers are always in search of quality professional managers.

The objective of Institute of Business Administration (IBA) was never to produce large number of MBAs. It has always emphasized on quality and it is committed to follow this motto. Only a few business schools are producing quality graduates, not enough to meet the growing demand. It is a very serious issue originating from low literacy in the country and poor quality of education. The apparent over supply is also due to employers funding higher education of their employees. Some of the employees prefer to join those schools where they do not have to work hard.

Since its establishment in 1955, Institute of Business Administration has produced slightly more than 4,000 MBAs including those specializing in MIS. IBA graduates are working at key positions not only in Pakistan but also abroad. Two of the present ministers, Shaukat Aziz and Khair Mohammad Junejo are IBA graduates. I believe that IBA graduates have the ability to face professional challenges.

Japanese say that a new product is like a baby who needs attention. In the earlier days IBA used to get ample funds from USAID. It had affiliation with a leading business school. Instructors used to come from the USA and the same curriculum was followed. They also used to train local faculty. Subsequently IBA was affiliated with University of Southern California. In early sixties local case studies were prepared. However, once IBA became part of public sector university, the remuneration of faculty did not match with what they could get by serving in private sector.

An effort was made to ensure additional income for the faculty. IBA allowed them to conduct various types of tests for different organizations. This helped them in raising additional money. However, this practice diverted their attention from teaching. At times out of 52 Sundays of a year, they were conducting test on 32 Sundays. This was beyond their physical limitations.

Two years ago the Board of Governors chalked out an elaborate plan to restructure the Institute. Some of the key decisions made were: payment of salary to faculty at market rates, induction of new faculty with doctorate qualification and a plan to mobilize endowment fund. Even in developed countries universities get grant from government and mobilize funds to meet their expenses. I can say this confidently that now IBA faculty is getting remuneration which is comparable or even higher than that is paid by the corporates.

One of the prime responsibility of business schools is to carry out extensive research to improve corporate working, minimize wastage. In Pakistan it is often believed that we are doing the right things but hardly any effort is made to find out how the others are doing. We give attention to improving quality, optimizing cost and reducing wastage. A lot of people do not have comprehension of Pakistan's potential. If we wish to live with respect, we have to strengthen Pakistan's economy. This can only be achieved by exploiting all the available resources. We must work hard with clear head and should not shy away from making experiments/innovations.

To give a new vigour to IBA, special attention is being paid to strengthen faculty. Currently we have twenty two Ph. D.s, fourteen full time and eight part time. During the current financial year we intend to raise the number of full time Ph. D.s to twenty. Last year six faculty members were sent for doctorate programme. Out of this three are expected to return next year after the completion. Next year another four members will be sent for doctorate programme.

We wish to make IBA the hub for business education. After September 11 it has become extremely difficult for students to go to the US for higher education. Not only that IBA can become a preferred place for higher education for Pakistanis but also for the students of other countries in the region. IBA intends to introduce new programmes as well as update the existing curriculum. For example BCS prrogramme of IBA include business courses which makes the graduate more articulated in profession.

We want to give a futuristic vision to our graduates whereby they can think independently, with an open mind, and make the right decisions. We wish to concentrate more on quality.