Excerpts from an interview with the leading academician and management consultant

Sep 25 - Oct 01, 2000

Many of us still find it difficult to swallow the bitter pill that the curriculum being followed in a large number of business schools in Pakistan has gone stale. Perhaps the reason being that if the academicians accept the fact then there will be a pressure on them to compile the new syllabus. I, personally believe, that some of the academicians realize the inadequacy but prefer to teach irrelevant courses or outdated material.

It is a fact that other countries in the region are moving fast towards e-world and Pakistan cannot afford to be left behind. While most of the developing countries are way ahead of us, Pakistan has to compensate for the time and opportunities lost. Our corporate sector, the major employers of graduates from local business schools, cannot afford to be laggard in the fast-paced process of globalization. We have lost many opportunities in the past but, mind it, the emerging competition ahead may be killing.

The business schools have to produce business managers for tomorrow which is possible only if we equip them with the required knowledge. This is the age of specialization. These schools have to impart industry specific knowledge. Our traditional MBA programme is too biased towards producing graduates who often find themselves misfit in the job market. For example, one finds only a limited number of MBAs working in local commercial banks. The reason being that most of the functions performed at a commercial bank are hardly taught at most of the business schools.

Apparently, this seems to be due to the design of the MBA programme. Out of a total of 20 courses only 3 pertain to banking. I believe that the number of total courses should be increased to 30 out of which half, at least, should cover various functions of banking, i.e. treasury, international trade, etc.

Similarly, the corporate sector needs specialized programme MBA in logistic. Companies manufacturing and selling consumer goods and oil marketing companies spend millions of rupees on freight. If a company is able to organize its logistics, it can also cut down inventory level, avoid no-stock situation and curtail financial charges. All these contribute towards cost optimization and cost competitiveness.

I have been associated, in the past, with some of the leading business schools of Pakistan in connection with preparing their curriculum. While I was there I also made efforts to ensure development of industry specific curriculum but the idea did not get much appreciation. Realizing this, I joined hands with some like-minded professionals and established Institute of Banking Finance and Management (IBFAM). The concept behind IBFAM was not that of 'just another' business school but that of a business school of a 'different breed' altogether.

IBFAM aims to bridge the growing demand for specialists in their respective areas with skills that would enable them to take up leadership roles in the fast changing, globalizing and highly competitive business scenario of today. IBFAM currently offers Postgraduate Diploma, Bachelors and Master level programmes in some of the most sought-after areas of banking and finance, MIS and marketing. It also offers short course, certificate programmes, research and consulting and corporate training services.

The MBA-IT programme offered by the IBFAM caters to both ends of the industry the employers and the job seekers. The programme is geared towards conceptual knowledge and its real world application making it industry relevant and employment focused. Like other programmes offered by the IBFAM, the course methodology and curriculum backed by superior quality faculty helps students attain their professional targets.

We also realized the need for imparting superior quality education in information technology (IT) in Pakistan. Instead of reinventing the curriculum, we have joined hands with the world leaders in IT education APTECH.

APTECH has operations in 33 countries with over 1500 centres including Pakistan. Six centres have started in the country and nine more will be opened within next three months. We aim to open 25 new centres in year 2001 and 60 in 2002. We estimate, all our centres put together will be able to train 50,000 IT proficient annually.

You must appreciate the fact that IT education and keeping abreast with the latest introductions, hardware, software, operating systems etc., is the key to success. Since all the industry leaders work in close association with APTECH, it gets a chance to train people on new software and get them acquainted with upcoming technologies/operating systems before these are actually launched. Through APTECH varsity on-line, complete faculty certification and upgradation programme is offered. This is constant training of trainers.