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A Commitment to Innovation

Aug 13 - 19, 2001

The Graduate School of Business Administration of the Lahore University of Management Sciences came into being in 1986 when a handful of young people put their trust in a fledgling institution which only had the business community's commitment to its credit. Since then, LUMS has covered lot of ground. Today with a total student body of over 1200, the University has become an icon of quality education for Pakistan by setting standards not only in Business education but also Computer Sciences, Economics and Social Sciences. A BSc program followed by an MS and most recently, PhD programs has brought LUMS to a level where it has become one of the reference points for excellence. By 2015 LUMS plans to have a balanced world-class portfolio of teaching and research programs with more than 200 full-time faculty and nearly 4000 students.

Recently Dr. Syed Zahoor Hassan was appointed the Pro Vice Chancellor of the University. Dr. Hassan has been associated with LUMS for the past 14 years, as Professor of Management of Technology and Information Systems. During his tenure he has also managed the MBA, BSc, MS and Executive Development Programs. Most recently, he was the Dean of the Business School. In response to a few questions on LUMS as an institution and the direction in which it is headed, he highlighted a few salient facts. He defined the mission statement of LUMS as being "a preeminent academic institution, serving as a catalyst for economic prosperity and social development with a focus on management of resources". In this regard core values to be upheld at the institution and disseminated to the students are merit, integrity, academic freedom, tolerance, diversity and excellence.

The advantage LUMS offers over other Business Schools in the region is a highly relevant curriculum with emphasis on the Pakistani setting so that business managers get the right blend of skills, attitudes and local perspective. The case method of teaching gives a practical, experiential approach to the absorption of management concepts. To keep the curriculum's relevance to Pakistan high, LUMS has developed almost 400 local cases to date. In addition to this the business community is closely associated with the teaching process as they are invited frequently to share their insights with the students. The faculty on the other hand is also involved in research and consulting work for the local corporate sector, government and international organizations. LUMS has also established a number of joint research and teaching collaborations with some of the leading institutions such as McGill University of Canada and Essex University of UK.

Another strength of the LUMS MBA program is the focus on continuous development and redesigning of the curriculum in line with changing market requirements. Recently, an MBA with IT concentration has been initiated to bring our managers up to date with the pervasive thrust towards Information Technology. A four year project aimed at developing the management capability of the NGO sector has been recently launched in collaboration with McGill and with the financial support of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). More area-specific concentrations are planned for the future to give specialized management education in textiles, banking and other areas. Further, a doctoral program in Business Administration is also planned.

LUMS has also made a substantial contribution towards the education and training of the middle and senior level business executives through its various short duration programs offered through the Rausing Executive Development Centre. This Centre offers state-of-the-art custom-built training facilities. It has, to date, trained 9,000 managers at different levels coming from businesses spanning small and large business enterprises. The Centre offers both customized as well as public programs that are aimed at developing managers in line with changing times and needs.

At a personal level, Dr. Zahoor pointed out that leaving Stanford University and 'Silicon Valley' in California to return to Pakistan for an institution that was yet to establish itself, was primarily motivated by the urge to contribute to the socio-economic development of our people. LUMS appeared to be giving an opportunity to make a difference and it has proved to be a highly fulfilling and rewarding experience. Dr. Zahoor believes that LUMS is faced with several challenges as it embarks on its next phase of growth and development. The key challenges are to maintain an unrelenting focus on excellence while enhancing the portfolio of program offerings, promoting a culture of research and continuous innovation, and making LUMS' offerings more accessible to the underprivileged sections of our society. However, with the keen devotion of a well-knit team of colleagues in faculty and staff, active support of trustees and governors and most importantly the enthusiastic support of the students and alumni, he feels confident that LUMS can fulfil its mission of playing a pivotal role in the overall development of our country.