Interview of VC, Syed Zahoor Hassan

May 22 - May 28, 2006

The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), in barely over two decades of its inception, has carved out a niche for itself as a unique center of excellence, and today it is being rated amongst the leading universities of Asia. Its impressive 100 acre campus is spread near the periphery of the posh locality of D.H.A. residential area in the historic city of Lahore. It currently has a student body of 2400, including some foreigners, mostly from central and south Asian countries.

It boasts of a faculty of about 125 members hailing from the top institutions in the world such as Stanford, Yale, Harvard, MIT, Oxford, Imperial College, London School of Economics, Wharton etc. The aim is to increase the student body to 4000 and triple the faculty strength by 2015.

LUMS started in 1985 with just an MBA programme and today, it is already branching off in different disciplines namely business administration, law, computer science, social sciences, economics, mathematics and pure sciences. By year 2015, the University would have under its purview the following schools; a) Suleman Dawood School of Business b) School of Humanities and Social Sciences c) School of Science & Engineering & d) School of Law & Policy. The focus is to inculcate a research culture in the country and give broad-based, multi- disciplinary and relevant education to its graduates.

A visit to LUMS and a chat with its Vice Chancellor, Professor Dr. Syed Zahoor Hassan, is both most revealing and highly educational for someone like me who lives in close vicinity but is hardly aware of the scope and the magnitude of this elite institution. The genial and scholarly Vice Chancellor talked to me at length about the vision, the philosophy and the mission of LUMS, which makes it stand apart from all other institutions in the country that have been created in the private sector.

The LUMS VC traced the history of the University. Its first batch of MBAs rolled out in 1988. A lot of developments and changes have come about since then, he explained. LUMS has steadily grown by first introducing its undergraduate programme and then has expanded its scope into many other areas. He explained that LUMS has endeavored to stay relevant to current and emerging demands and trends in the market.

He also talked about Visiting Advisory Committee, whose role in shaping the destiny of LUMS has been quite immense. Consisting of eminent foreign academics and personalities, the Committee's observations and inputs have enabled LUMS to grow into the shape and size seen today.

He proudly talked about the innovative approach and style adopted at LUMS, which encourages its students to fully participate and come prepared to the class room. The "Case Method" approach, the VC explained, enabled students to discuss and tackle problems among themselves. The students, he added, develop their own ideas, discuss them and follow it up with group discussions in which the role of teachers is to assist them and constantly monitor their progress.

The class rooms and the university have a unique ambiance, equipped with all the modern facilities to help develop the students grow rapidly into first rate professionals in their chosen discipline. It is, therefore, not surprising that LUMS' reputation as well as that of its graduates, has been firmly established both in Pakistan and abroad, as a centre of excellence. .

The Vice Chancellor, in particular, talked about two most significant initiatives taken by LUMS recently. One is at a local and the other at an international level. LUMS has started to tap about the top 200 local students from each BISE annually at the matriculation level. The idea is to help, guide and assist bright and needy students from underprivileged areas to gain admission in the LUMS undergraduate programmes. These students are prepared for the LUMS admission test and those successful in it are offered admission on full scholarship. A nation wide hunt by LUMS has already been initiated under the "National Outreach Programme".

On the overseas front, LUMS is reaching out for linkages and collaborations with the best institutions in the world. These include student exchange programmes, study tours, internships and other such schemes. A concerted effort is being made by the University to attract quality applicants from central and south Asian countries. The thrust of all this is to enrich the learning experience at LUMS.

LUMS is also seeking to firmly establish its credentials through foreign accreditations for its quality education programmes. Already LUMS has been awarded with such accreditations, South Asia Quality System ( SAQS), from the Association of Management Development Institutions in South Asia. It is now reaching out for such recognitions in Europe, America, and other regions.

Professor Dr. Zahoor, in conclusion, summed up the core values of LUMS, which have guided its policies and future growth throughout. These, he said, are based solidly on pursuing the policy of merit, integrity, academic excellence and freedom, diversity, cultural tolerance and quest for excellence in every field. Since day one LUMS has been committed to the idea of need-blind admission and provides generous financial assistance to deserving students in all its programmes.

According to Dean of LUMS Suleman Dawood School of Business, Dr. Jawaid Abdul Ghani, the competitive edge of LUMS lies in its unmatched faculty, close linkages with the local industry, merit-based philosophy and high quality education.


The Association of Management Development Institutions in South Asia (AMDISA) has awarded the South Asian Quality System (SAQS) accreditation to the Suleman Dawood School of Business at LUMS. This award, valid for 5 years, will entitle the School to use SAQS Accreditation Quality Label, signifying the continuous quality improvement system at LUMS.

AMDISA, located in Hyderabad (India), was established in 1988 with the initiative of leading management development institutions in the SAARC region, where it is recognized as a professional association for consultative purposes. It is the only association that networks management development centres across seven nations and promotes partnerships between business schools, business leaders and policy administrators for enhancing the quality and effectiveness of management education in South Asia.

As of now, the award bestowed upon SDSB stipulates that the School will need to prepare an institutional development report to be submitted by June 2008 and through it seek accreditation in January 2011 for the next five years. In the meantime, Suleman Dawood School of Business is expected to uphold the quality standards enunciated by AMDISA.

The AMDISA-SAQS award will be formally given to Suleman Dawood School of Business in a public ceremony at a later date.


LUMS MBA students, Faisal Saleem and Mian Usman spent two semesters at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. This is the first time that Pakistanis have come across the border for an exchange programme. Referring to the Business School there, Faisal said, "You have the best professors teaching. I don't see why anybody would want to go to Harvard or Stanford." According to Usman, "The amount of business opportunities between the two countries is immense once borders open."


The Business School has been successful in attracting students from China, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmanistan, Kazakhstan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Srilanka. This has been a result of consistent marketing efforts and the excellent placement record of our alumni in these countries.


Indian School of Business
Copenhagen Business School
Stockholm School of Business
University of Uttara, Malaysia
FH Joanneum Institute of Management
Waseda University, Japan

The workings of an exchange programme with Austrialian National University is under way.


* McGill University (CIDA)
* University of Essex
* Harvard
* University of Chicago
* University of Sussex
* Management Development Institute, Gurgaon
* Institute of South Asia Studies, National University Singapore


"We will be a pre-eminent academic institution, serving as a catalyst for economic prosperity and social development with a focus on management of resources."


* Develop high quality professionals and scholars who are committed to the pursuit of excellence, and are endowed with vision, courage, and dedication.

* Improve academic and management practices in the country through the generation, assimilation, and dissemination of knowledge.

* Make a significant and meaningful contribution towards the social and economic betterment of Pakistan through development of its human resources.

* Serve as an intellectual resource base in the region.



LUMS adhere to merit as the sole criteria in it's decision making. This applies to all aspects of its operations, from selection of faculty and staff, to admission and evaluation of students.


We believe that sustained hard work provides the underpinning for the socio-economic development of a nation. LUMS academic programs help develop the stamina and diligence essential for success in the increasingly competitive international environment.


Our programs are structured so that every activity enhances student learning and individual development. All activities are thus designed with definite learning objectives.


The programs offered at LUMS not only require the capacity to work hard, but also the ability to think analytically and to solve problems. The mental strength that comes from a rigorous academic program prepares the participants to perform demanding intellectual tasks.


We consider character building to be an integral aspect of our programs, as learning without personal integrity will be of little value to the individual and the society


The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) is a national university, established by sponsors belonging to the country's leading private and public sector corporations. The goal of the sponsors was to develop an institution, which would provide rigorous academic and intellectual training and a viable alternative to education comparable to leading universities around the world.


President of Pakistan


Syed Babar Ali


Abdul Razak Dawood

Vice Chancellor

Syed Zahoor Hassan

The National Management Foundation, the sponsoring body of the University, was incorporated in November 1984 and was granted a charter by the Government of Pakistan for establishing the University, in March 1985. Through this charter, the University was given the legal right to establish degree-granting programs. The Board of Trustees, the policy-making body of the University, comprises leading members of the business community academia and representatives of the government. The principal functions of the Board are to set broad policy guidelines and to review the operations of the University. The Board of Governors, being the sponsor of LUMS, raises the necessary funds for the University's operation and maintenance. Many board members are representatives of the business community and form a crucial link between the University and the business world.

After two decades of relentless effort, LUMS now has two schools: the Suleman Dawood School of Business and the School of Arts and Sciences through which LUMS is producing experts in Business Administration, Computer Sciences, Economics, Social Sciences, Mathematics and other disciplines. The various academic programs presently offered, include MBA, BSc (Hons), BA-LLB, MS & Ph.D. in Computer Sciences, MSc in Economics, the Executive MBA and Ph.D. in Mathematics. It also provides executive development education through its Executive Administration Centre (REDC).

In addition to the academic programs, LUMS also undertakes research work and offers consultancy services. Research projects under the Centre for Management and Economic Research (CMER) primarily deal with major economic and management issues faced by Pakistan and the region. The Small and Medium Enterprise Centre (SMEC) investigates the role that government policy and socio-political influences play in the development of small and medium enterprises. It also caters to the training and development needs of small and medium scale enterprises.

Over the years the University has established a reputation for academic excellence and has received accolades for its program

Ever since the first MBA batch graduated in 1988, there has been no looking back as far as job prospects for LUMS graduates are concerned. Our graduates have established their reputation as extremely competent individuals who have the ability to think out of the box and also the capacity to deliver under pressure. Such attributes make them the prime choice of employers both in the profit and not for profit sectors. Every year employers actively participate in on-campus recruitment drives and normally within a month and half of graduation, all MBA graduates are absorbed in the market. Employers of LUMS graduates include multinationals like Unilever, P&G, Citibank, ABN-Amro, Nestle; local companies like MCB, Habib Bank, Haleeb Foods; NGOs like Kashf; multilateral agencies like IMF and so on. Increasingly companies from overseas like Mckinsey, JP Morgan and others are also coming to LUMS to tap the talent here.