TARIQ AHMED SAEEDI (tariqsaeedi@hotmail.com)
July 27 - Aug 02, 2009

Business administration was probably the only faculty that had achieved a widespread popularity across Pakistan's education spectrum. This faculty is still the most sought-after in Hyderabad. In every academic year, 8000 candidates apply for 3000 to 3,500 seats of undergrad programmes in Institute of Business Administration Jamshoro, said Dr. Anwar Ali Shah Head IBA Jamshoro. There are three applicants for a seat, he succinctly said during an interview. Besides IBA, there are other private institutes in Hyderabad, some of them are affiliated with the University of Sindh, Jamshoro, offering business administration degree programmes. The applicants who miss the admission in the university may enrol in private institutes such as IMSA, CMS, and HIAST.

Private sector institutes are basing their operation on the accreted foundation of degree programmes, diplomas, and short courses in this discipline. While public sector universities are saddled with the task of reforming business management skills of students for long, the all-heard development is actually evident after the advent of private sector institutes. Business administration aims at upgrading different skills and decision-making power of students. Both are necessary to run a business successfully. Like natural sciences, the science and art of managing business requires other things besides strong industrial infrastructure so that learned skills can be applied. Here the doubt over the need of wholesale higher learning in business administration is questioned. Critics argue that market is already saturated and we do not need to burden market with more business grads. They contend that institutes, be private or public, are imitating old market trends, and therefore urge the need to update degree programmes in conformity with the actual socio economic demands. Dr. Anwar rejected such claims as baseless, saying we conduct researches to know the mood of the market. 'There is a demand of business administration courses in the market. We launch programmes based on feedbacks and under the guidelines of Higher Education Commission. Besides, we have to survive in the market.'

We have students from rural Sindh and cities like Larkana, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur, Dadu, Mirpurkhas, Jacokabad, Hala etc. The fee structure is according to ground realities the majority people of these areas are living with. Rs. 25000 per year is, I think, is a nominal cost when compared to exorbitant fees of other business administration higher learning centres in Karachi for instance, he said. They prefer to take admission in IBA Jamshoro because of the very reason. The stark poor conditions are making difficult for them to get higher education with even such low cost, Dr. Anwar observed while referring to remote areas of Sindh.

IBA Jamshoro offers specialization in finance, human resource management, management, management information system, etc. Most preference is given to finance, said Dr. Anwar who is also Dean Faculty of Commerce and Business Administration, University of Sindh. The programmes are designed according to market trends and revision is carried forward periodically as per international standards, he informed. Even foreign students find fee packages quite nominal for graduation in business administration. To a question, he said given the weak industrial infrastructure we had slow induction process. For application of learned skills, students have to accomplish internship in skill-related company. While our students get internship in different service and manufacturing organizations in Hyderabad, he maintained, they happen to go to Karachi for internships and jobs in the end. Indeed, our target market is Karachi as the job market in Hyderabad is damp, he elucidated without mincing a word. 'The output we generate is ultimately for Karachi or Lahore, which is the provincial hub of industries. Brian drainage outside the country is another issue.'

I hope industrialization in rural Sindh would prove a watershed, he added. According to him, insurance sector is growing in Larkana and other parts of Sindh. There is a lack of innovation in approaching techniques. For instance, messages are written in English, which proved futile in past. We recommended insurance agency to use vernacular languages in promotion materials. The idea proved successful. He said the institute focuses to improve linkages with the corporate sector.

Students from Karachi normally join evening programmes, as perhaps they have sufficient buffer in the daylight to travel almost 150 kilometer to Sindh University Jamshoro where IBA is located. To a question, he said we have an accommodation facility for 1500-2000 students and those who are from nearby suburbs are not provided with the facility. IBA Jamshoro comes under the supervision of faculty of commerce and business administration, University of Sindh. The institute was established in 1979. It has MBA programme in morning and evening but up to now, it does not have evening classes for BBA.

Referring to intakes of students, he said the male: female ratio is 65: 35. In evening programme, the female percentage is further low. Although, we want an expansion for instance to diploma and crash courses, now we do not want diversion in our major focus that is on graduate programmes, affirmed the Dean. Referring to the impression that IBA Jamshoro is an extension of IBA Karachi, he said it was wrong.

His stress was on the personality management of students. There is a great need to improve the personalities of the students, he emphasized. 'In classes we must teach students ways of good dress-up, communication and presentation, and other personality building techniques. Among them, communication is an area where we need to do a lot of work.'