By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Oct 11 - 17, 1999
Dr. Matin A Khan is the Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Business
Administration (IBA), Dean of Faculty of Management Sciences and Life Professor Research
at Hamdard University. Hamdard University has also named a Chair after in his name. But
above all he is the most respected person as an academician and for his contribution
towards business education in Pakistan. He served as Dean and Director of IBA from 1972 to
1977 and contributed greatly to the development of academic standard of the Institute.
He did his MA from Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, University
of Pennsylvania and Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) from University of Southern
California, USA. His areas of research and teaching include marketing, market research and
consumer preference. He was associated as Project Director with JRP-IV, a research project
on slum improvement in Pakistan. He was a 'Visiting Professor' at Ahmadu Bello University,
Nigeria. At present he is teaching students doing their doctorate both at IBA and Hamdard
University. Dr. Khan has authored a number of books and written many articles on marketing
and marketing research methodology. One of his books was selected for a cash award of Rs
PAGE: What motivates you?
Dr. Khan: The biggest satisfaction at this age is that I am still
actively involved in teaching and making a contribution to the prosperity of the country.
Shaheed Hakim Saeed had a vision of educational needs of Pakistan. He had been a source of
inspiration in introducing new disciplines at Hamdard Institute of Management Sciences
(HIMS). Great Hakim always professed a strategy to maintain the highest standards in
Pakistan. The pursuit continues through constant improvement in syllabi. At present I have
only two occupations, teaching and writing.
One of my initial research projects after coming back to Pakistan was,
'Consumer Preference for Tobacco in Pakistan'. Whereas the topic of my DBA was, 'How to
raise Standard of Living in Pakistan Through Better Marketing?' At the time of selection
of research topic for doctorate, I had only three days to prepare the outline. But, I
worked for the whole night and the topic and outline was approved the next morning.
PAGE: Do the universal truths ever come in conflict with the
demands of profession that you are in?
Dr. Khan: I joined IBA in 1967 and I was appointed Dean and Director of
the Institute in 1972. From 1972 to 1982 I also held the position of Dean and Director.
University Grants Commission was providing Rs 600,000 annual grant to IBA in 1962 and
there was no increase till 1978. But I managed the Institute very well within this amount.
This was possible only because of strict control on expenditures. To raise the
revenue/income, IBA also started evening classes which were not only a source of income
for the institute but also provided opportunity to those who were unable to attend classes
during in the morning hours. To overcome paucity of funds I also brought a research
project worth Rs 1 million in 1978 for IBA. This was for training of people from all the
four provinces for social research. Apart from every thing while at IBA I had resisted any
compromise on quality, be it admission test or holding of classes during turmoil in city.
PAGE: Do you witness any improvement?
Dr. Khan: Certainly there is a change in attitude towards educational
needs of the country but private sector institutions are in the lead. The objective of
these institutions is to impart education which can make the graduates a productive organ
of the society. With the growing need for professionals and demand for specialists, these
institutions are making constant changes in their curriculum and introducing new
disciplines. The HIMS policy is to produce professionals which are as good as a graduate
from the best universities of the world.
PAGE: In our society exactly the opposite is happening. Why?
A nation or a society is a group of individuals. The norms of society
change when the norms of an individual change. Still most of Pakistanis are honest,
hardworking and dedicated to their profession. Many of Pakistanis are working at
multinational companies and at the same time are role models. Therefore, I would like to
say it is the environment which influences the behaviour of an individual. However, there
is a need to change the culture so that merit becomes the only qualification. With the
growing need for corporate governance, there is a need to improve governance at all
PAGE: What message you would like to give to 'PAGE Readers'?
Personally I believe that both, IBA and HIMS, maintain the highest
level of standard. HIMS constantly improves upon curriculum. I am thankful to my Vice
Chancellor who has been a good adviser. I am also grateful to Great Hakim Saeed Sahib who
always used to say that HIMS graduates should be as good as graduates from any other
reputed foreign university. Therefore, one can achieve success only through hard work and
there cannot be any short cuts.