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 NBEAC 3rd Deans and Directors Conference Proceedings 


Conference Summary  Conference Pictures

National Business Education Accreditation Council (NBEAC) was established by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) in 2007 with the purpose to assure quality in business education degree programs. It is a national level accrediting authority which organizes and carries out comprehensive accreditations. Accreditation is market-driven and has an international focus. It assesses the characteristics of an Institution and its programmes against a set of criteria. It signifies that the Institutional performance is based on assessment carried out through an independent competent body of quality assessors, with strengths and weaknesses emanating as a feedback for policy-making.
The conference “Strengthening Business Schools through Partnerships” was the third of the series of four strategic level conferences that provided a platform for deans, directors and heads of business schools to interact with each other and with industry professionals. The key objectives of the conference were:

i. To strengthen the business schools through industry academia partnerships.

ii. To suggest ways to enhance research activities in business schools through partnerships.

iii. To provide focused recommendations to the business schools for enhancing employability skills of business graduates.

iv. To strengthen business schools through sharing ideas, resources and infrastructure.

The desirable outcomes of the conference were to identify the critical steps to align education with business needs and to identify and recommend actions to the emerging challenges in business education.
Out of 180 business schools (with campuses) nationwide, deans and directors of 160 business academic units have participated along with the international representation from 15 business schools from USA, UK, Canada, Switzerland, Russia, Malaysia, SAARC countries etc. The conference was inaugurated by the American Consul General, Zachary V. Harkenrider. The 3rd Deans and Directors Conference was a very interactive forum where more than 500 faculty members participated including 100 industry experts and 15 foreign speakers. Each year the NBEAC selects a different theme and city for its Deans and Directors Conference. This year the venue for the conference was the colorful and vibrant city of Lahore.
The conference was a venue for experience sharing based on the discussions and perspectives of business school heads, industry professionals and entrepreneurs. The strategic conference provided a platform for the participants to share their experiences in establishing linkages and fruitful contributions made to the development of business education, industry and economy. Prominent speakers from around the globe and country shared ground breaking ideas.

Distinguished speakers from academia included: Dr. Ishrat Husain (Dean & Director, IBA), Dr. Syed Zahoor Hassan (Professor, LUMS), Professor Ralf Boscheck (MBA Program Director, IMD, Switzerland),Dr. Christophe Terrasse (Director Projects, EFMD, Belgium), Prof Dr Zaher Zain(Dean, The University of Malaysia), Dr. Nauman Farooqi (HoD, Mount Allison University , Canada), Prof. Konstantin Krotov( Managing Director, St. Petersburg University, Russia), Prof. Kerry L. Laufer(Director, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, USA), Prof. F. Robert Wheeler ( Founding Dean , KSBL), Mr. Javed Hamid(Senior Advisor, International Executive Service Corps, Washington DC, USA) Dr. Ehsan ul Haq (Dean, Suleman Dawood School of Business LUMS) and many more
Due to high level of participation and based on previous conference feedbacks, the breakout sessions were suggested by the program committee headed by Dr. Zahoor Hassan Syed, Professor, LUMS and supervised by Dr. Sadia Nadeem, Associate Professor , FAST School of Management, Islamabad. Three breakout sessions took place on the first day of the conference.
The key actionable message from many of the conference sessions was the importance of presence with regard to business schools to manage both governance and quality issues, openness to the world in order to reach out to others for global assistance and human resource development as there is a great need to work and collaborate together.
Session 1 that was “Essential Components of a Strategic Plan” was chaired by Dr. Zahoor Hassan Syed, Professor, LUMS. It was recommended to revisit mission and vision; otherwise there would be disconnect between the Academia and environment, academia should have links with the Corporate Sector , Strategy is about ‘what they want us to do’ and ‘what we can do’ (Corporate Sector versus Academia) and Internationalization of strategic planning process. Dr. Ishrat Hussain suggested that all stakeholders should be involved in strategy planning and implementation process moreover, business schools should check their positive as well as negative impacts on the community and society and should subject themselves to the external evaluators. On a final note, business Schools should revisit their mission and vision every 5-6 years to make it adjustable to the new trends in the market.

The second session “Roles and Responsibilities of Business Schools, Teachers: Students Perspective” was moderated by Dr. Abdul Sattar Abbasi HoD Comsats Lahore. Various speakers and panelists highlighted and raised a number of concerns the crux of which was first and foremost that university education is not helpful in getting jobs, that there is a gap between the skills imparted by a Business School and skills needed in the market and what industry is demanding from the students? For this various solutions were proposed which were to focus on quality, roles and responsibilities of teaching, teachers, with industrial experience should be taken on board, the importance of imparting IT and other technical skills is required, relevance of the course content and/or curriculum, managing the expectations of students and counseling and mentorship.
The third session “Hiring and Motivating Qualified Faculty” was moderated by Dr. Ali Ahsan, Chairman Centre of Advanced Studies in Engineering. Several issues were highlighted such as the quality ranking puts pressure on the Business Schools to conduct more research and hire qualified faculty, expectations of the faculty from the management, faculty should be able to inculcate knowledge in students for the future and encourage critical thinking in them, decent pay packages for faculty members, revisiting the hiring process in the Public Sector Business Schools in Pakistan and Saint Petersburg's University and or Lahore School of Economics, can be taken as role model for others.
Two workshops were conducted after the first session simultaneously. It was proposed in the workshop “Engaging your faculty in Management Consulting; benefits to the Business School and the faculty” to emphasize on consulting your faculty whenever the need arises. Types of consulting were discussed:
i. Competence based consulting – if you have certain specializations then develop new understandings

ii. Process based consulting – i.e. the process of discovery

iii. Training based consulting – train others if it is needed in your organization

Finally suggestions regarding how to start were put forward which were by questioning, by research output, by observing seniors, by interacting with people and finally case writing.
In the workshop “Developing Entrepreneurs; Refining the Curriculum and guiding your faculty” it was propounded that entrepreneurship is a new management paradigm moreover, many experiences were shared through videos as how entrepreneurial learning can be enhanced.

A great of suggestions were highlighted such as to form a group of 5-10 students next step is to develop a management body/hierarchy, hold election for the appointment of CEO or chairman of the business venture, empower the team members to take decisions, support students in establishing real ventures. It was also suggested that the instructor’s role is of a facilitator and that students are allowed to learn by trial and error and most importantly to evaluate students by asking them to develop learning reports.

Dr. Sadia Nadeem Associate Professor FAST School of Management moderated the policy roundtable on Unique Challenges of Rural/ Remote Universities this was moderated by a Delphi Method was used and questionnaires were distributed in the past to the participants belonging to the remote/rural areas. Solutions were also proposed to meet the challenges.

In policy roundtable “How to cultivate a research culture in business schools” .It was recommended to set up realistic targets so that the faculty is pushed towards research culture and ultimately they are induced to publish, categorize universities into different tiers and enhance research competencies of the faculty through training workshops and seminars.

There were various challenges addressed during policy roundtable “Unique challenges of Public Sector Universities” that included first and foremost to be governed by different act, centralized management, lower fee, a large number of students, the difficulty to retain good faculty as there are more opportunities in the private sector, the Recruitment of quality faculty, financial setbacks – reduction in government funding and how to acquire openness.

Day two of the conference focused on industry collaborations and designing business curricula in accordance with the relevance of industry. Eminent speakers from Industry included: Mr. Agha Zafar Abbas(CEO, KANSAI Paints), Mr. Sajjad Kirmani (CEO, Infogistic), Mr. Arif Ijaz(Advisor to CEO, Maple Leaf Cement co), Mr. Osman Khalid Waheed(President, Ferozsons Laboratories Limited, Pakistan), Mr. Omar Saeed (CEO, Service Industries Limited), Mr. Adeel Anwar(Director at Warid Telecom, Lahore), Mr. Ali Khurram Pasha(Head of Strategy & Leadership Development, Bank Alfalah), Dr. Faheem-ul-Islam(Member, Ministry of Planning, Development & Reforms, Islamabad) Mr. Mohammed Ali Khan(Senior Education Specialist, International Finance Corporation, USA), Ms. Shahbano Hameed (Head Corporate Solutions, EasyPaisa, Telenor, Pakistan) and many more.

Session four “Industry Expectations from the Business Graduates” pertaining to the concerns of industry expectations were highlighted such as the lack of knowledge about corporate code of conduct, lack of report writing skills, the inability to collaborate i.e. lack of team integration, in case of governmental projects there is a lack of trained graduates in the field of construction, energy, logistics and pharmaceuticals etc. Fruitful suggestions for these problems were also addressed firstly to upgrade placement centers in the universities, provide mentors from the corporate sector who are not only alumni but beyond, encourage the students to raise questions, enhance communication skills both oral and written, capability to generate new ideas and channelize academia and industry i.e. people from corporate sector could work for a semester in the university and the faculty could spend some time in corporations.

Session five “Making business schools more relevant for industry- challenges and opportunities for forging linkages and partnerships” was chaired by Dr. Ehsan ul Haq, Professor, LUMS. Main challenges addressed during this session were that curriculum lacks corporate requirements, lack of soft skills development e.g. empathy, lack of faculty awareness of industries’ ground realities and academic research is not linked to corporate sector real-time problems. It was suggested to revisit curriculum, impart soft skills to the students, and inclusion of business school faculty in corporate boards. Industries find it weak to communicate their expectations so collaboration is needed. If there is a good intake there would be a good value addition resulting in a good graduate.
The key concerns of public administration were addressed during the policy roundtable focused around the process of Quality assurance being a complicated one, the inefficiency in follow-up and the lack of accountability. The various challenges related to commerce education were discussed such as students are not preferring annual system, syllabus of annual system was not updated over the time, lack of industries linkages and the misplaced belief of commerce education – as accounting experts only.

The conference concluded on a positive note. Syed Babar Ali has addressed the participants and narrated the story of Genghis Khan demonstrating the incompetence issue as the cruel reality of Pakistani society. His worthy suggestions for leaders to exhibit integrity and provide opportunities to competent individuals will definitely help in thriving the Businesses and Economy of the country. The closing speech  gives the immense motivation when he amalgamated his idea behind founding LUMS with the presence of all Deans and Directors representing Business Education at the conference. NBEAC acknowledges the efforts of Syed Babar Ali being the founder of Business Education in Pakistan. In the closing ceremony Syed Babar Ali, Founder and Chancellor LUMS was given a standing ovation by Dr. Hasan Sohaib Murad, Chairman NBEAC.  


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