Dr Ishrat Husain is going to step down as dean and director of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi, by the middle of next year.
Speaking to The Express Tribune on Monday, Husain said he will complete his two four-year terms in April and does not want any extension for many reasons. “Institutions should not depend upon a particular individual and personality, but be driven by faculty, alumni, systems and values,” he said.
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Husain took the helm at IBA in May 2008 and has since undertaken massive expansion in terms of infrastructure development, student enrolment, number of programmes and PhD faculty members.
The student body will have crossed the 3,600 mark following the fall semester of 2015, which means the student strength has doubled in six years.
He has also introduced three new undergraduate programmes - economics and mathematics; accounting and finance; and social sciences and liberal arts - which has resulted in the undergraduate students now accounting for almost three-fourth of the student body.
Right time to leave
Husain said he does not find his current job challenging anymore because he has accomplished what he had committed to do. Noting that he has completed the maximum number of terms allowed under the current law as IBA director, Husain said he does not want the rules to be changed to allow him a third term.
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“We should abide by laws and not bend them for the sake of individuals. This is my principled stand and I am sticking to it despite many pressures to agree to an extension,” he said.
In his speech at the convocation held on Saturday, Husain had reiterated his vision for IBA. “We are no longer a business school, but a high-quality, comprehensive institution of higher education,” he said.
He noted that he wanted IBA to follow in the footsteps of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which had started out as an engineering school, but branched out into other disciplines later.
Out of the fulltime faculty of 105, 60 have PhDs while 20 are currently doing their PhDs. The ratio of PhD faculty is expected to increase to 80% in a few years, according to Husain.
Life after graduation
Graduates of IBA have performed increasingly well in the job market in recent years, according to data released by the IBA’s graduate placement office.
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Few universities in Pakistan make their graduates’ initial average salaries data public, but anecdotal evidence suggests IBA graduates tend to draw far better salaries than their counterparts from most other business schools of the country.
The average starting salary that the latest batch of BBA graduates received amounted to Rs59,200 per month, which is up 12% from the 2014 average. The average salary of MBA graduates of the class of 2015 was Rs78,200 per month, which is 13% higher than the average salaries received by the graduates of the class of 2014.
Husain holds a PhD in economics from Boston University and has had an illustrious career, which includes stints as a civil servant, World Bank director, State Bank of Pakistan governor and chairman of the National Commission for Government Reforms.
“Nobody is indispensable,” he said, while expressing his optimism about the future of IBA after his departure.
He remained non-committal when asked whether he is going to retire or join another academic institution, government body, financial institution or think tank. “I am very much open to any good suggestions,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2015.
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