Interview: Growing in the business world
“JBS will not open a campus in Pakistan,” said Dr Christoph H. Loch, director, Cambridge Judge Business School (JBS) on a visit to Karachi recently.
“It has been ruled out by the University of Cambridge. So it will only be short courses and research collaborations for now,” added the educationist.
Dr Loch was speaking to Dawn on the sidelines of a seminar at the Karachi School for Business & Leadership (KSBL), which is a JBS partner.
Asked if JBS intended partnering with other business schools in Pakistan too, Dr Loch said, “We will not sign another 10 agreements of this type. We may do it again but we will not do a large number of these things because then that would mean that we are kind of changing into the business of helping new business schools.”
About their partnership with KSBL, he was of the view, “To some degree it is a worthwhile opportunity where you feel that you could make a contribution and have an impact. So we are not driving, but assisting only.”
He elaborated, “We have played a big role in the design of the curriculum and have also helped in the hiring of the faculty, which is mostly Pakistani. The intention here is not to get an army of Cambridge faculty.” He stressed, “This is not Cambridge in disguise and will have its own model and ideology to teach in its own way.”
About how a business school should function, Dr Loch said that there should be an emphasis on imparting values and ethics.
“Students of the school should be people who are aware. Changing complete characters is hard, but at least you can teach them to be aware of their responsibilities as business people and to not only make money but also have a positive effect on society around them. This is what a society needs,” he pointed out.
“And,” he added, “not just teach and impart knowledge. One should also be open to new ideas because as a university, we want to learn as well.”
Having said that, he moved to learning through research. “I believe that there is little focus on research in business schools here. Not too many local case studies done,” he observed. “The challenge is to do the research and then follow it. Start identifying those cases that you can connect to. For example, banking through telecommunications is a potential case study that I heard about,” he said.
Dr Loch, during his brief visit here, also met with several students about whom he observed that they were much younger than the students at Cambridge. “That’s because they don’t have much working experience and have been studying continuously without break,” he said.
“Still, your students are very active, very eager. They are also full of ambition which is good. But in order to give a landing strip to those ambitions, your country needs to develop an economy that will make them want to stay on and work here.
“So you should also harbour ambitions of giving them the highest quality opportunities. As anyway, you cannot build your economy on small businesses or cottage industries. They don’t make a country internationally competitive. If Pakistan wants to increase its international competitiveness, a must if you want to increase the country’s income as well, you need very well-trained managers who are able to build organisations which are large enough to compete with the rest of the world and are robust enough to withstand crisis and inevitable negative events that also happen.
“Give your students the incentives to stay here. And then if they still want go and work somewhere else, you let them go,” he said.
“The business students in your country should also feel like the students of other developed countries, that the sky is the limit but I don’t think that they do that as yet,” Dr Loch concluded.