LAHORE: We are the only Pakistani business school which is among top 300 in the world. In the next few years, we aim to be among top 200 schools of business internationally. Currently we are in top 60 in Asia but our aim is to be amongst top 20 in Asia. Pakistan is a great nation, LUMS a great university, and with the right combination of planning and enabling, we hope to achieve our targets in due course. This as stated by LUMS Suleman Dawood School of Business Dean Prof. Dr. Jawad Syed during an exclusive interview with The Educationist.
The Educationist: Please tell us about your early life and education?
Jawad Syed: I obtained my PhD in Business from Macquarie University, Australia and completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education at the University of Kent, UK. My PhD research inquired into the relational perspective of cultural diversity management in Australian organisations. Prior to that, I received a Masters of International Business degree from the Western Sydney University, Australia.
The Educationist: Where did you serve before this position?
Jawad Syed:I was a full Professor of Organizational Behaviour and Diversity Management at the University of Huddersfield for three years. Before that I was a Reader (Associate Professor) in Human Resource Management at the University of Kent.
The Educationist: What are your contributions for Suleman Dawood School of Business of LUMS?
Jawad Syed: I feel proud to be part of LUMS. It’s a matter of great honour but also a great responsibility of a business school that has a great legacy for the last 30 years. MBA is our flagship programme which is ranked very high in academic and business circles due to its participant centred pedagogy, i.e., case method and close engagement with real life business issues and scenarios. Recently we have been evaluated and ranked amongst top eight business schools in South Asia, and amongst top 300in the world by QS Ranking 2017. There is a lot of potential, a legacy of achievements but there are also a lot of opportunities to do even better in terms of research, teaching, business engagement and service.
The Educationist: What are your future plans for SDSB?
Jawad Syed: We must move forward, we cannot remain content with our current achievements. We must have a concrete focus on research. We are the only Pakistani business school which is among top 300 in the world. In the next few years, SDSB aims to be among top 200 schools of business internationally. Currently we are in top 60 in Asia but our aim is to be amongst top 20 in Asia. Pakistan is a great nation, LUMS a great university, and with the right combination of planning and enabling, we hope to achieve our targets in due course.
The Educationist: How do you see missing link of industry academia linkages?
Jawad Syed: Industry academia linkages are very important for any country and its economy. If in an institution, this link is missing in the curricula and other activities that means they are not doing well. We cannot deliver effective lectures to our MBA or undergraduate students without relevant and contemporary case studies of business organisations. SDSB has the largest collections of business case studies in Pakistan, more than 700, which have been written by our faculty members which we are using in our masters and undergraduate programmes. In the UK, we used to have a similar programme, called Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), and we hope that Pakistani government and businesses will offer similar sponsorships to LUMS to enable KTP. Indeed, we offer executive training to various business organisations in addition to our formal degree programmes. We support our faculty members and research scholars in terms of business cases as well as participation in scholarly conference. We specifically support sector-specific projects or idea of business.
The Educationist: Is LUMS for elite class only. What do you say about this?
Jawad Syed: Yes, we are elite but we are elite in excellence. However, we are inclusive and responsible when it comes to socio economic differences. At least 30% of the LUMS students receive financial aid and students can take loan while studying. The perception of ‘elite’ is wrong, and significant number of students benefit from National Outreach Programme (NOP).
We follow a need blind admissions policy, which includes and enables every eligible student on merit. Our NOP programme specifically targets and enables students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Regionally, we focus on meritorious students from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and other regional countries, and offer them fully-funded MBA and PhD scholarships.
The Educationist: How many programmes are you offering (at your school) LUMS?
Jawad Syed: In our Business School, we offer 3 programmes, BS Honours with Accounting and Finance, and Management Science. We offer MBA and MBA Executive and then we also offer PhD in Management.
The Educationist: How many PhD faculty members are teaching in SDSB?
Jawad Syed: We have the largest collection of PhD qualified academics in Pakistan; right now we have more than 60full time equivalent faculty members. Around 90% of them have a PhD.
The Educationist: What three top challenges are you facing at LUMS?
Jawad Syed: We are facing challenges in faculty development in order to have world class academic with concurrent excellence in research, teaching and business engagement. Secondly, we want to produce graduates not only best in academic rigour but also responsible and ethical members of society. Thirdly, we have to continue to beat our own record of progress and legacy, we must have a solid impact on business organisations and wider society, within Pakistan and internationally.
The Educationist: What message would you like to deliver to teachers and students?
Jawad Syed: For academics, my message is simple and clear: we ought to have a concurrent focus on research, teaching and service. For students, my message is: focus on academic excellence as well as focus on your personal character as these two things go hand in hand.