An exclusive interview of Dr Ishrat Hussain, Dean and Director of Institute of Business Administration.
Educational and Professional Background:
Dr Ishrat Husain, the current Dean and Director of Institute of Business Administration (IBA) has received an M.A in Development Economics fromWilliamsCollegewhich continued to a Ph.D. degree in Economics fromBostonUniversity. He has received the International Student Award for outstanding academic achievement. He is also a graduate of the Executive Development Program jointly sponsored by Harvard Business School, Stanford Business School and INSEAD.
He became the Governor of State Bank of Pakistanin December 1999. In recognition of his meritorious services, he was conferred with the prestigious award of “Hilal-e-Imtiaz” by the President of Pakistan in 2003. He received the Central Bank Governor of the Year award from “The Banker” magazine of London and the life long achievement award by the Asian Banker.
Dr.Ishrat Husainwas selected to the elite Civil Service of Pakistan in 1964 and also served in the field. He held mid-level policy making positions inBangladesh(thenEast Pakistan) and in the Finance, Planning and Developing Departments in the Government of Sindh until 1979.
For over two decades (1979-1999), he served in various capacities at the World Bank inWashingtonDC. The appointed positions at the bank were Country Director for Central Asian Republics; Director, Poverty and Social Policy Department; Chief Economist, East Asia and Pacific Region; Chief Economist, Africa Region, Division Chief, Debt and International Finance and Resident Representative, Nigeria. He is a Higher Education Commission (HEC) Distinguished National Professor and Chairman of HEC Social Sciences Council.
Describe your vision of promoting quality education in Pakistan? Please elaborate with special reference to IBA?
Ishrat Husain: Institute of Business Administration (IBA) is the first business school established outside North America with the assistance of world famous Wharton Business School. It is one of the few institutions of higher education inPakistan that has consistently maintained high standards of quality over a long period of 50 years. My vision is to take IBA from its present level to the next level which is a regional and global business school.
Our aim for the next five years is to become one of the top 100 business schools of the world and among top 10 inAsia. This is a very difficult task to accomplish as we are in competition with many fine Institutions inIndia,Singapore,Hong Kong,China, which are much ahead of us and almost equivalent to US universities.
The strategy which we have adopted for this purpose consists of four pillars. The first pillar is renovation, refurbishment and expansion of physical infrastructure at both the City and Main Campuses. With the grace of Allah, we have been able to mobilize more than Rs.1 billion from private philanthropists within just one year. Our total estimated cost is Rs.1.8 billion.
The second pillar is the Faculty Development. Any Pakistani national who obtains admission to a Ph.D. program at the top 50 global universities will be eligible for a four year scholarship and will be appointed as a faculty member. We are also exploring possibilities of twining arrangements with some of the leading business schools inAmerica, Europe andAsia.
Thirdly, we are upgrading our technology to facilitate e-learning and to give access to the lectures from the best teachers around the world.
Fourth, the Executive Education program, industry-academia linkage, entrepreneurship development particularly of small and medium scale will be part of our community outreach efforts.
What is the scope of business studies in Pakistan?
IH: In my opinion, business studies are quite critical and the scope will further expand. Nowadays, many companies are recruiting only BBAs and MBAs. The amalgamation of accounting, economics, finances, marketing and organizational behavior, designed in the course structure of business studies equips the students to become adept, proficient and skilled executives.
Currently, there are six departments functioning in IBA. Any plans to expand these departments with new areas to be focused on?
IH: Actually, we are not going to expand the departments. However, we have planned to introduce a new 2 year MBA course in Banking and Finance for individuals with 3 years of work experience. This program will focus on the middle managers. In addition to this, we plan to offer short executive courses in urban management, health management and infrastructure management.
How would/ do you compare IBA with LUMS in Lahore?
IH: LUMS and IBA graduates are almost equivalent although each institution has its own strengths and weaknesses. LUMS caters to the northern parts ofPakistan whereas IBA serves the southern areas ofPakistan. As far as the job market is concerned, the recruiters prefer LUMS or IBA graduates in their selection process.
It is widely believed that institutions such as IBA and LUMS are only for elites. Poor students cannot afford to enter these institutions. To what extent is this true?
IH: This is not true at all. We have a needs blind admission policy. This means any poor student admitted in IBA through the entry examination is guaranteed a full scholarship for the entire duration to finance his / her studies. Last year, 291 students which were about 20 percent of our student body received Rs.31 million in scholarships, stipends and financial assistance. Second, we have introduced National Talent Hunt Program (NTHP) and Sindh Talent Hunt Program (STHP) under which we try to admit about sixty talented students in IBA from the backward
districts ofPakistan and Sindh respectively. These students are given special coaching classes to prepare themselves for the IBA entry exam and all their expenses are taken care of. Those who are selected are guaranteed a four year fully expense paid scholarship for completing their degree program. Lastly, our tuition fee is only one-third as compared to other leading business schools.
Can you elaborate on the Community Outreach Program of IBA? What are the main elements of this program?
IH: There are several elements of this pervasive program. We encourage our students to participate in social welfare projects and serve the less privileged communities by volunteering their time and money. We have four Executive MBA programs to refresh and upgrade the skills and knowledge of public sector executives, middle level corporate managers in industry, banking and financial services executives and the Income Tax and Customs officials. We have established a Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (CED) under which we will train small and medium entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs in operating businesses. The Centre for Business and Economic Research (CBER) is catering to the research and analytical needs of the private businesses, government departments and not-for-profit organizations. This combination of activities will hopefully enrich our community outreach efforts both in volume as well as quality.
Do you think that the ministry of education needs to modify the current education system to a globally compatible system?
IH: Ministry of education is only a coordinating body. Its duty is to make policies. However, the implementations of these policies are carried out by the HEC, provincial governments and district governments.
According to the educational structure ofPakistan, universities and higher education institutions are supervised by HEC, whereas colleges are controlled and regulated by the education department of the provincial government. Schools lie under the jurisdiction of the City District Governments.
Ministry of Education can not modify the education system on its own. It can design new and sound policies regarding the education system. It needs many other stakeholders for successful implementation of these policies. Pakistan has been quite adept at making educational policies but very weak in the implementation of those policies.
As far as the educational development is concerned, I appreciate the efforts of Dr Atta-ur-Rehman, former Chairman of HEC. Notable progress was made during his tenure. He sent more than 1700 people abroad from Pakistan for Ph.D.’s and research work. His endeavors in building strong human capital for our country can not be forgotten.