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An interview with Dr. Javed Ashraf, Director IBA

Feb 04 - 10, 2002

The only good in this world is the knowledge while the only evil ignorance. The educational institutions which are engaged in imparting quality education certainly doing a commendable job in fighting against ignorance the mother of all sorts of evils especially in the third world countries.

Institute of Business Administration (IBA), pioneer of business education in Pakistan enjoys the distinction of producing business leaders who with the passage of time have grown to the level that they are now at the helm of economic and financial affairs of Pakistan. Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, who has been recently awarded as the best finance minister by the Euromoney, is one of the IBA graduates.

Institute of Business Administration (IBA) which, is so far known for its quality graduates is taking a step with the distinction to have the best and strongest faculty in Pakistan.

Dr. Javed Ashraf

Dr. Javed Ashraf, Director IBA carries a Ph.D. in Economics to his credit. He did his Ph.D. from Northern Illinois University. Prior to his Ph.D., he did his Master's in Economics and in Political Economy from Boston University. Earlier he did his MA Economics from prestigious Government College Lahore.

Before joining IBA, July 2000 Dr. Ashraf held faculty positions at Northern Illinois University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Hartford and the University of West Florida.

Besides the recipient of the E.W. Hopkins Award for the most outstanding faculty member in the College of Business at the University of West Florida, he also won first prize of the National Research Scientists of the year Competition in 1997 by the Ministry of Education in Pakistan.

The institute of Business administration (IBA) is the oldest graduate business school outside North America and was established in April 1955 in collaboration with the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, University of Pennsylvania. Later, it was associated with the University of Southern California.

The dynamism of Dr.Javed Ashraf, Director IBA has given a new composition to the faculty within a short span of 13 months. Out of the strength of 27 full time faculty ten are Ph.D.

In an exclusive interview with PAGE, Dr. Javed Ashraf said that his organization has launched a 3-way strategy to have the best faculty in Pakistan. He said that IBA has hired services of 10 new Ph.D. accompanied 27 new full time faculty members. Rest of the faculty are also being sent abroad for higher training. He said IBA has sent 5 faculty members for Ph.D. courses, which are fully sponsored by abroad. "We will be sending 6 more for higher training every year."

The 3-pronged strategy the IBA has launched to reinforce its faculty include hiring of existing Ph.D within the country. Second, sending the deserving abroad and the 3rd way is to launch our own Ph.D. program.

Spelling out the strategy, the IBA director said, "we had introduced six rigorous courses for the selection of the deserving faculty members eligible to take the higher studies. Out of the six, three were dropped out while the remaining three are expected to get Ph.D. in next 18 months. He disclosed that Commissioner Sukkur is also one of our Ph.D. students. He expressed the hope that six IBA faculty members are going to be recognized as quality product of IBA. He said that there should moral commitment in getting higher education like Ph.D. because taking the course as a part time job cannot justify to the demands of the higher education. Hence, the next induction for Ph.D. would be on full time basis. Part time concept will no more be allowed in Pakistan.

However, changes are taking place in the composition of faculty and are visible in a very short period of time. Henceforth even an assistant professor must be a Ph.D., Karachi University has also decided to introduce this criterion.

To give a new flavour in the teaching atmosphere, "We have started a program something like "America in Karachi". Under this program, "we have started inviting American professors for four-five weeks during their vacations. Last summer we invited 5 professors from top US universities who really enjoyed teaching Pakistani students and Pakistani culture.

This kind of program has aroused a lot of interest among American teachers in Pakistan. They enjoyed themselves in teaching here. Their prime interest in visiting Pakistan was to know about a nation; they are not coming for money. We are targeting the people who are not after money.

Recalling his own experience of teaching for six weeks in Alma Ata of Karghistan, he said that he had gone there to see the former Soviet Union. Similarly, we are inviting those people from abroad who want to come to see the country, which they have not seen before.


Dr. Javed Ashraf said that IBA has led rest of the country by initiating a 4-year bachelor program from next academic session. The next induction of the students for bachelor will for a 4-year duration.

He said that he had strongly recommended 4-year bachelor program in the vice chancellors committee, which not only approved but also decided that all universities in Pakistan will have a 4-year bachelor program from next session. The recommendation has already been approved in the board.

The recommendation was moved with the idea to elevate our bachelor degree in conformity to the education standards already being practiced in India and rest of the world.

He said that IBA's Center for Computer Studies is headed by Dr Saeed Ghani who is the only Ph.D. in IT/ Telecommunications, while another faculty member hired for computer studies is Azhar Mahmood who has been hired from Sir Syed University.

He said IBA is actively negotiating to acquire a new building for MCS program. While CCS program is also undergoing major changes, for which we are trying to get a highly qualified faculty.

Major changes have also been introduced in non-academic divisions to bring a better environment in other sections.

In this connection IBA has hired services of a senior army officer as the Head of the Administration. Another fully qualified chartered account has been inducted as the Director Finance, and to avoid any sort of gossip about our pre-admission testing provision, we have hired a new person Dr. Iftikhar Ahmed Mir for testing services.


IBA is striving for one simple goal and that is to become number one in Pakistan and in the region as well. Dr. Javed Ashraf said with a sense of pride that IBA's greatest strength is its students, who are the best students in Pakistan.

IBA is striving to achieve the target of having the best faculty in Pakistan. IBA has recently hired a faculty member from LUMS and another from LUMS is also expected.

To achieve our goal, IBA is in need of financial support for its ambitious plans. "We plan to embark a fund raising plan for construction of a new building at main campus and another at city campus. It may be a six-storied building for housing library, auditorium, and proper underground parking. "We are encouraged to go for a fund raising campaign as the private sector in Pakistan is always supporting for the cause of education in general and for IBA in particular. The fund raising campaign is likely to be a great success because support from a large number of senior executives who are IBA Alumni.


Responding to a question regarding increasing number of educational organizations in the private sector and the possible competition among them, Dr. Javed Ashraf said that instead comparing things with each other we should see things from positive angles. For instance, LUMS is another prestigious organization and producing good results, however all of us are moving in the same direction and that is to impart quality education for the good of the nation. Instead of taking others as rivals, IBA feels to go together for achieving better results.

Working on these lines, IBA has decided to go for joint education programs in collaboration with LUMS. Citing the example of cooperation, he said that LUMS wants to start Management Development Program, initially we would do this program together.

Another aspect of cooperation can be exchange of faculty and students each year. This would add flavor of other institutions for the faculty as well as the students. While a number of students come from different countries to Pakistan and when it can be done with other institutions abroad why not in Pakistan.

He said that USAID, which had initially provided financial support to IBA in the early years, is again opening its offices in Pakistan. Regarding getting financial support, he said that donor agencies are usually willing to provide financial assistance to the public sector institutions as compared to private sector as the private sector organizations are allegedly operate as profit making organizations.

Saliant features

The prestigious premises of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) the center of excellence is spread over 80 acres of land and is worth well over nine hundred million rupees. The two campuses compare in size and beauty with any campus in Asia and Europe and true to IBA's tradition of achieving excellence, are immaculately maintained.

Ideally located in a serene corner of the University of Karachi, the IBA main campus gives the impression of peace in spite of the hectic atmosphere prevailing all around in this industrial city of Karachi. IBA's main campus is a large complex of buildings spread around lush green sprawling lawns which serve as a backdrop to an extremely conducive environment for academic pursuit. The complex houses the main Campus Program Offices, the faculty offices, a library, an auditorium, a dozen class rooms, three computer labs, spacious car parking and a cafeteria. In addition to the main campus facilities, students have complete access to the facilities at the City Campus.

City campus, is spread over 3.5 acres in the heart of Karachi and is within walking distance from the business and financial nerve center of the country. Apart from 24 classrooms, it houses the Evening Program offices, its own library, an auditorium, conference hall and seminar rooms, four computer labs and a roof top canteen. The campus provides parking facilities for more than 500 cars in an extremely busy part of the city. A new complex for preparatory and BCS program has recently been completed.


The IBA libraries contain more than 60,000 books on business management and related subjects. The libraries subscribe more than eighty internationals and forty-two local journals and periodicals. The libraries maintain copies of three journals since 1962.

Recently, IBA library received 2500 free of cost books from abroad while Asia Foundation also sent several hundred books. In order to further improve the strength of library, IBA has also approached other organizations to send books.

The main campus library has acquired the Wilson Business Abstracts on compact disc which contains over 700,000 references. The reading room at the main campus library has a capacity of more than 200. In sheer size, the IBA library facilities excel other business school libraries in Pakistan and are comparable to those in Asia and Europe. The library also maintains book banks to provide students with textbooks on semester basis at nominal charges.


IBA's state-of-the-art computing facilities are continuously upgraded to keep them in sync with the fast pace of advancement in computing technologies. At present, there are around 150 latest PC Workstations at IBA. The PC's in each of the six computer labs are connected in local area Network (LAN) environment that facilitates sharing of hardware and software resources.

Unlimited e-mail and Internet access is available to students at both the campuses from any PC on the network. Students are not charged for Internet, e-mail or print services. Web servers at both the campuses are connected to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) through dedicated 33.6 KBPS unlimited access telephone connections. There are 200 KBPS satellite links for Internet access available via satellite dish through ZakSat.

The Institute of Business Administration (IBA) is the oldest graduate business school outside North America and was established in April 1955 in collaboration with the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, University of Pennsylvania. Later, it was associated with the University of Southern California. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) spent $10 million on establishing facilities at IBA. Some 50 prominent American professors were assigned to IBA, while 72 Pakistani faculty members received advanced degrees from Wharton and USC. IBA today, is the oldest graduate business school in the developing countries of the world, in 1994 IBA's status was elevated to a degree awarding institution.


IBA believes that the continuous development of professional, dedicated managers is the most important prerequisite for the development of a country like Pakistan. Towards meeting the objective IBA endeavoring to select individuals with a burning desire to contribute positively to the society as a whole and not just themselves. Students thus selected are exposed to a training program that instills in the individual a pervasive habit to act as an agent of change in a stagnant environment rather than being the recipient of change from such an environment. Graduates coming on with such a bent of mind invariably distinguish themselves in catalysts of progress for their organizations and the country.

The institute maintains that education is an essential service and its academic activities must continue even during emergencies or disturbances. As a result of this philosophy, IBA has not been closed out of schedule even once since 1979 and classes have been held in the most difficult situations. Regularity, punctuality and conformity to schedules and deadlines are the accepted norms practiced by faculty and the students religiously. The motive behind all this is to develop a habit among the people having association with IBA to work devotedly and tirelessly and joyously in the practical life. This exactness includes a strong commitment to professional excellence among IBA students, a commitment that forms the cornerstone of IBA's philosophy.

The initial absorption of students through a methodical, merit-based admission procedure, their subsequent training in a rigorous academic environment and the ultimate on-time completion of studies have now become a routine cycle at IBA a ritual that may be termed as IBA's way of life.


IBA ensures that faculty and students get to know each other in the learning process. Students completing their studies at IBA find that in addition to building lifelong friends, they can develop a business network that can serve them throughout their career.


The system of education at IBA is a unique blend of classroom instruction, case method, role playing, business games, class presentations, personal research and practical training in business organizations. It demands total commitment, concentration and self-discipline. An important distinguishing feature of IBA is its adherence to the academic calendar known to students at least 12 months in advance. A detailed program is given to students on the very first day of the semester. Students are required to be regular and punctual in attendance as well as in completing assignments. Classes and examinations have been held on schedule even during curfew, political disturbances, riots etc. Students are evaluated and examined over the entire semester through quizzes, term report, hourly examinations, class presentations and final exams.


Employer's interest in IBA graduates is high and is reflected in the fact that graduates get jobs within weeks of their graduation. A number of commercial organizations place their job offers with IBA's placement office well before a class graduates. Employer's representatives visit IBA to interview the graduating class and students often have to divide their time between their students and appearing for job interviews in the last month of their stay at IBA. Students get attractive job offers even before graduation.

IBA's placement office keeps a liaison with the hiring organizations throughout the year. Graduates directories are sent to prospective employers to give notice of an outgoing batch and to introduce the graduates to the employer's offices.

The office also coordinates the summer internships, which are a requirement for the degree. The internships also provide the students a chance to evaluate prospective employing organizations. It gives them an opportunity to get inside knowledge about the organizations and develop contacts. Students often decide their area of major concentration on the basis of their experience during the internship. Some students go back to their place of internship as full-fledged employees. Students going through the BBA/MBA program complete two internships and, in the process, get to evaluate two organizations.


IBA's goal is to be the number one in Pakistan and in the region. A strong foundation has already been laid to pin the hopes for the future. IBA is certainly doing well and would even better if the policy makers would also spare some space in their spacious and sprawling lawns for the children of the less fortunate to share the real flavour of the community approach.


Professor Dr. Javed Ashraf
(Dean and Director)

Dr. Javed Ashraf earned his Ph.D. in Economics from Northern Illinois University. He also holds a Master's degree in Economics and a Master's degree in Political Economy from Boston University. Prior to this he earned a B.A. and M.A. (Economics) from the Government College, Lahore.

Dr. Ashraf has published more than 50 papers in international journals and research publications. These include Harvard University's Economics Letters, Cornell University's Industrial and Labour Relations Review and the University of London's Applied Economics. One of his papers was published in Women in the Labour Market, part of the prestigious Critical Writings in Economics series. He won the Dyson Faculty Excellence Award for Research four times at the University of West Florida. He was also the first recipient of the E.W. Hopkins Award for the most outstanding faculty member in the College of Business at the University of West Florida. In 1997, the Ministry of Education, Government of Pakistan awarded him first prize in its National Research Scientist of the Year competition.

Dr Ashraf has held faculty positions at Northern Illinois University, the University of Wisconsin, the University of Hartford and the University of West Florida. Prior to joining I.B.A., he was Professor of Economics at the University of West Florida.

Dr. Sayeed Ghani
(Chair, Department of Computer Science and MIS)

Dr. Sayeed Ghani has a B.S. from MIT, and M.S. and Ph.D from Columbia University in Electrical Engineering. His field of expertise is in Telecommunications and multi-media communications. Dr. Ghani has 12 years of industry experience. He has worked as Member of Technical Staff at NYNEX Science & Technology, where he was heavily involved in the Standards process of high-speed data services (SMDS, IEEE 802.6) and ATM networks. He has been employed as IT Head for ABN AMRO Bank and State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan. He has also been a pioneer in introducing VSAT and Internet services in Pakistan and has been involved in various software development projects throughout his career. He has also worked at GTE Labs in the US, Laboratory for Computer Science at MIT and Lever Brothers in Pakistan. He has a number of publications in leading IEEE journals and has presented papers and conducted seminars in various forums in both the US and Pakistan. His current research interests include high-speed Next Generation networks, 3G mobile networks, and Business Process Reengineering.

Dr. Mohammed Nishat
(Chair, Department of Economics and Finance)

Dr Nishat is Professor and Chairman, Finance and Economics at IBA. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics (specialisation in finance) from Auckland Business School, University of Auckland, New Zealand and a Masters in Management Sciences and Economics from the University of Waterloo, Ontario Canada. Prior to this, he was the Project and Co-project leader with teams deputed on research studies awarded to the Applied Economics and Research Centre by international institutions like the World Bank, the Harvard Institute of International Development, IFPRI as well as federal, provincial and local government bodies. He was awarded the Best Teaching Award by the Department of Economics at the University of Auckland in 1994. He is a prolific author with 18 research articles in Pakistan and foreign professional journals. He is also a regular contributor to national and NGOs in Karachi.

Dr. Qazi Masood Ahmad
(Associate Professor)

Dr. Masood completed his Ph.D. from the Centre for Fiscal Studies, Bath, England in 1997. He has ten years of experience in research and consulting in the fields of Public Finance, Agriculture and Trade. He teaches postgraduate courses in Public Finance and Macroeconomics. He has undertaken assignments for several national and international agencies in Public Finance and Policy, Regional Economics and other related fields. He has 16 publications in international and national journals in the fields of Monetary Economics and in Public Finance. Dr. Masood has been associated with the Government of Pakistan in different capacities such as the Resource Person, Mobilization and Tax Reforms Commission, and the member of Task Force, the Tariff Reforms Commission.

Dr. Manzoor A Khalidi
(Assistant Professor)

Dr. Khalidi's credentials include a Ph.D. in Banking and Securities Markets Regulations from the University of Southampton (UK), MSc. (International Banking) from the University of Southampton, MBA (Finance) from IBA Karachi, and BE (Civil Engineering) from NED University Karachi. Prior to joining IBA, Dr. Khalidi served as Research Fellow at the University of Southampton on a three year Economic and Social Council award on the "Harmonization of EC Securities Markets Regulations", during which he published two papers. He also has extensive work experience in the area of Development Banking with Habib Bank Limited and Pak Libya Holding Company Pvt. Limited. His areas of interest include Banking and Securities Markets regulations, International Banking, Entrepreneurship, Globalisation, Regionalisation, Social, Economic and Political Theory, and Postmodern Philosophy.

Dr. Shahid Mir
(Assistant Professor)

Dr. Mir holds a B.E. (Elects.), and a Ph.D. in Management from Adamson University (Philippines). He has also done technical and management courses from France. He has more than 15 years of working experience both in public and private sector organizations. Dr. Shahid Mir is a life member of the Royal Aeronautical Society (UK). He is also an ISO 9000 lead auditor. Dr. Mir's areas of teaching include Research Methodology, Material Management, Marketing Management and other Management courses.

Mr. Shabih Haider

Mr. Shabih holds a BE (Electronics) from NED University and MBA from IBA. He is presently working on his Ph.D. at the IBA. He has spent about nineteen years in the engineering field with national and multinational organisations like International Aeradio of UK, Zelin Pvt. Ltd., NESPAK and Alcatel of France. He has also worked on various projects including Aga Khan University Hospital, Islamabad Hospital, Prime Minister House Islamabad, Jinnah Terminal Karachi and many others. His taught courses at IBA include Cost Accounting and Mathematics for Business.

Ms. Ghazal Zahid Khan

Ms. Ghazal is a Lecturer at IBA. She has BBA and MBA degrees from IBA. She started her career as an Equity Research Analyst. Her areas of teaching are Finance and Economics

Dr. Mirza Abrar Baig

Dr. Mirza Abrar Baig holds Ph.D degree from Indian Institute of Technology, India in Management. He has over 20 years' work experience and has been the head of management functions such as Human Resource, Marketing and Operations in various leading organizations both, in India and Pakistan and is currently member of the Board of Directors in a Pakistani organization.

Dr. Baig has been teaching various management subjects as adjunct faculty at both postgraduate and Ph.D levels. Currently he is teaching Ph.D students at IBA. He has contributed a number of articles both in leading Indian and Pakistani newspapers/journals and is a joint contributor to two books: Human Resource Development for Adjustment at the Enterprise Level (ILO Publications 1999) and Reflections on Human Capital in Pakistan (EFP Publications 2000). On behalf of International Labour Organization he has carried out research in the field of management and presented papers at both national and international conferences. He has conducted a number of Management Development Programs in Pakistan and abroad and has provided Management Consultancy to State Bank of Pakistan on behalf of World Bank. At present he is a member of the Managing Committee of Employers' Federation of Pakistan.

Khadija Bari

Mrs Khadija Bari is a Lecturer at IBA. She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in business administration from Strathclyde University Glasgow. Her credentials include MSc in Business studies from Strathclyde University and M.A Economics from Punjab University. She started her career as merchandising assistant in Levi Strauss Eximco Pakistan. Her areas of teaching are management and marketing.

Mr. Mubashir Humayoun

Mr. Humayoun holds a BE Chemical Engineering from MIT and a Masters degree in Management Sciences from MEI Institute at Arthur D. Little Cambridge, USA. He has worked in Chevron, San Francisco and general Electric New York. He was Management Consultant at Arthur D. Little and worked for clients like Chase Manhattan and Motorola. Mr. Humayoun is a faculty member in Finance Department of IBA. His areas of interest are Corporate Restructuring, Financial Engineering, Islamic Finance and Corporate Strategy.

Ms. Shama Ahmed

Ms. Ahmed has a Masters in Commerce from Karachi University and has completed Professional II of ACMA. She has six years teaching experience in the areas of Finance and Small Business Management. She is actively involved in research and analysis work and has published various articles and analyses in research journals. Her research interests include Capital Structure Decisions, Brokerage Houses and Asset Pricing Models. She has also organised successful seminars and workshops in areas of Risk Management and Corporate Finance.

Mr. Naeem-Uz-Zafar

Mr. Naeem is currently working on his Ph.D. from IBA. He holds a BE Mechanical from NED University, Post Graduation Nuclear Engineering from NED University, and an MBA Finance from IBA. He has extensive work experience as on-the-job trainee at Pakistan Machine Tool Factory, Operation Engineer at Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and Assistant Professor CIBE. His areas of teaching include Financial Management, Economics and Business Maths.

Ms. Semre Qutb

Ms. Qutb is a full time adjunct faculty member at IBA. She has done her Masters in Public Administration with major in Human Resources. Ms. Qutb has previously taught at IBA and at the Department of Public Administration at Karachi University. She has also worked as a trainer with Employers' Federation of Pakistan. Her area of interest is Human Resource Management.

Dr. Naved Ahmad

Dr. Naved Ahmad is Assistant Professor of Economics at Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi. His areas of concentration include development economics and international economics. His papers have been published in the Pakistan Development Review and the Pakistan Economic and Social Review. He received Miss Hina Ahmad Gold Medal in 1990 and President and Chancellor Gold Medals in 1995. He has taught several advanced courses at Applied Economics Research Centre, Karachi. Dr. Ahmad holds an M.Sc. from the University of Karachi, an M.Phil. from Quaid-e-Azam University and a Ph.D. from Northeastern University, Boston, USA.