INTERVIEW WITH IZHAR HUSSAIN, DIRECTOR CEE IBA KARACHI

KHALIL AHMED
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Apr
18 - 24, 2011

PAGE: TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF.?

IZHAR HUSSAIN: At present, I am with Center for Executive Education (CEE), Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi. My job title is Director CEE.

Before IBA, I was with Abbott where I had a regional responsibility for business excellence. Korea, India, Pakistan, Gulf / Levant countries, Saudi Arabia and Egypt were in my area of responsibilities. During three decades with the industry, I worked in training, business excellence, business development, marketing, sales, corporate branding, advertisement, supply chain, manufacturing, and project management. During this period, I looked after corporate ethics and compliance and exports to Bangladesh and Afghanistan. I did M. Pharm. & MBA, certified Six Sigma Black Belt, and got certification as Auditor for ISO 9000, and a fellow of the Institute of Marketing Management, Pakistan. I'm also serving on the advisory committee for Asian Consortium of International Society for Pharmaco-economics and Outcome Research - (ISPOR - USA). I'm member of American Quality Society (ASQ -USA), Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD - USA), Marketing Association of Pakistan and Management Association of Pakistan. Besides experience of working in corporate sector, I have two decades of teaching and training experience. I review conference papers for Academy of Human Resource Development. My articles on healthcare and management related subjects were published in leading dailies and magazines including PAGE.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ABOUT BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION EDUCATION IN PAKISTAN.?

IZHAR HUSSAIN: We have institutions, which have been imparting world-class education. Most of the graduates from these institutions have been holding key positions not only in local companies but also in MNCs and other international organizations. Some of the leading entrepreneurs have come out from these institutions. As business education is a cash cow for many institutions, you may find many institutions have started MBA/ BBA programs without adequate facilities. Degrees from such institutions are being awarded with high social cost without much benefit to the individuals and society. There is a dearth of qualified and committed faculty of high caliber. This has provided opportunities to 'Flying Teachers' who hop from institute to institute. They have little time for preparation for the lecture. They cannot afford to stay after the class for interaction or discussion with their students. They do not have time for writing business cases from local business and industry. It is very important that we should promote evidence based management. For that, faculty has to devote more time for research and knowledge creation. Frequent and regular structured interaction between academia and practitioners is lifeblood not only for better quality of business education but also for increased profitability in business.

Having PhD on faculty is one of the important needs of the institutions of higher learning. It is recognized and the point is widely accepted. Another point that is rarely discussed is involvement of undergraduates in quality research. We have a culture of working in silos but we have to change this culture; and should start collaborating with leading institutions within and outside Pakistan. We should give high importance to leading institutions particularly in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and China. Both practitioners and faculty should actively participate in international conference as well.

PAGE: WHAT SHOULD BE DONE TO PROVIDE QUALITY TRAINING TO THE WORKFORCE?

IZHAR HUSSAIN: Action leaning is increasingly important for betterment of individuals and organizations. The days have passed when job security was guaranteed by the employers. Now, it is imperative for individual to keep enhancing his or her employability. Good HR professionals in corporate are cognizant of changing business needs and skills to succeed in the current and emerging environment. Quality training is important. It is required to fill the gaps in skills and facilitate behavioral change amongst individuals and organizations. If you ask one most important point for quality training, it would be "structured academia - business & industry close collaboration". Although much is said and written on academia-industry linkage, a lot has to be done. Here is a wide gap with the magnitude of "dream and reality". Two simple things are to be done: Input should be current, relevant, and applicable, and output should be measurable in terms of return on investment (ROI). Please remember the adage: "what can't be measured can't be improved".

PAGE: HOW WOULD YOU COMMENT ON EXECUTIVE EDUCATION AND STRATEGIES USED BY MAJORITY OF PAKISTANI COMPANIES?

IZHAR HUSSAIN: Some Pakistani companies are doing fantastic job in this area. However, majority of companies do not have proper learning and development strategies. There is no proper training need analysis of their human resource. The staff is sent for training but they are not provided adequate space of training in their working conditions.

PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON MANAGEMENT SYSTEM.?

IZHAR HUSSAIN: Overall management system in Pakistan needs massive improvement. Most of the organizations are running on top-down and ad hoc decision-making. Decisions are made on top man's whims. People are not empowered to make any decision. Policies and procedures either do not exist or are not followed in business decision making. Most of business organizations lack succession planning and global perspective.

PAGE: WHAT INCENTIVES DOES EDUCATION SECTOR NEED FROM THE GOVERNMENT?

IZHAR HUSSAIN: Good governance is basic need of national economic growth. For this government functionaries at all levels need to be trained. Only properly trained bureaucrats can understand importance of education and there is a need of greater investment in education sector. At current 2 per cent investment in education sector, we can only dream of private - public sector cooperation in the field of education. In education sector, there should be availability of fund for research and participation in international conferences. There should be tax relief on investments and profits and income tax relief for teachers and researchers.

PAGE: WHAT SUPPORT DO YOU NEED FROM THE CORPORATE SECTOR?

IZHAR HUSSAIN: Business community should start sharing best estimates of their business operations with academia fearlessly. They should also invest in research projects of the institutions of higher learning. They should hire more and more undergraduates as internees who would provide them out-of-box solutions to their problems.