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Education
Need to give a new dimension to business education

Column
For the record
Profile
Ibrahim Masud
Education
Hamdard University: Clifton Campus
Asian Management Institute, Iqra University

An exclusive interview with Professor, Syed Fazle Hasan, Dean and Director, Asian Management Institute, Iqra University

By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Jan 31 - Feb 06, 2000

Professor, Syed Fazle Hasan has recently joined the Asian Management Institute (AMI) as Dean and Director. Earlier he had served for nearly three decades at Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi. At the time of his retirement, he was the Director of IBA. He brings to AMI, another fast emerging prestigious institution, the extensive experience of teaching and managing one the most prestigious business schools of Pakistan. As Director of IBA, he also organized a National Conference for redefining the IBA curriculum. This was an effort to understand the changing needs of trade and industry to equip the graduates with contemporary knowledge. A large number of representatives from trade and industry and IBA graduates, occupying key positions in the corporate sector, entered into due diligence for a whole day. Since AMI is a constituent part of Iqra University, his association is expected to benefit both the graduates and the trade and industry. Following are the excerpts of an exclusive interview with Syed Fazle Hasan with PAGE.

My first priority is to further improve the discipline at the AMI and motivate the students to work hard to attain the degree. The various measures being undertaken includes, consolidation of faculty by increasing the full time academicians, introducing the disciplines being demanded by the job providers and making admission procedure further stringent. I am delighted to note that both the faculty and the students are supporting my efforts to make AMI one of the most prestigious business schools of Pakistan.

The real strength of an educational institution is its faculty. The trainers also needs regular training, attending new courses and seminars to keep themselves abreast with the fast changing world and the needs of the corporate world. The aim of an institution is not to produce the highest number of graduates every year but to produce prudent decision makers who have futuristic vision. With the fast pace of globalization, the business managers are required to keep domestic, regional and international scenario in mind to make commercially viable decisions in order to survive in ever increasing competitive market.

Traditionally Pakistani entrepreneurs have been investing in only a few sectors which now face over-supply situation. Many areas were never considered as a potential earner. These include information technology (IT) and other technology based industries contributing highest value addition. In order to diversify and enhance Pakistan's exports, investment in such sectors can play a vital role. While the GoP may be willing to offer any conceivable incentives, such industries can only proliferate if people with specialized knowledge are available. In this respect the business schools can play their due role by introducing new courses, redefining their existing curriculum but more importantly equipping the outgoing graduates with the most modern knowledge and the highest decision making capabilities. This can bring a drastic change in the vision of graduates and result in significant improvement in profit margin of the corporate sector.

There is an urgent need to redefine the curriculum of business schools, both operating in the public sector and the private sector. While the number of business schools has increased manifold in last 10 years, most of them were victim of 'dove tailoring' of curriculum. This include inclusion of some of the stale course outlines and improper sequence of courses.

Another missing aspect in teaching at business schools is ignoring research about local trade and industry and using local case studies. If the trade and industry cooperates with the business schools, they themselves will be the ultimate beneficiary. For example, Pakistan has the largest stake in textile business, but the average unit price realization is even below the world average. It is only due to inability of the industry to adapt to the changing global trends. On the one hand industry is still producing low quality products, and on the other hand, there has been hardly any upward integration. Use of obsolete machinery does not allow the manufacturers to improve quality and diversify the product range. On top of this their inability to use the data/information regarding textiles and clothing trade, available on internet to make timely decisions.

The business schools are required to inculcate entrepreneurship in the outgoing graduates to help them make prudent decisions. The AMI holds regular seminars to keep the students abreast with the local industry. Industry experts are invited to share their views with the students.