People & Businesses - Sportsman Style"
a candid talk, M.A. Mannan, alumnus 1991, shares his
passion for people, ideas and positively impacting
M.A. Mannan graduated
from IBA with an MBA in 1991 and is currently the
President & CEO of TCS Holdings Limited. He has over 22
years of business experience both locally and
internationally during which he has led, structured and
turned around banks in the Conventional and Islamic
banking spheres. Prior to joining TCS, Mannan has served
as the Executive Director at Silkbank, CEO of Dubai
Islamic Bank (2005-2010) and Deputy CEO of UBL
(2003-2005), and devotedly worked with Citibank right
after his graduation from 1991 to 2003.
We see a clear shift in your
career, from an extensive tenure in the banking industry
to logistics. Why has that been?
M. “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has
come”. This quote encapsulates my career as well as my
future aspirations. My preference to be a part of
Consumer Banking; switching to Islamic Banking; and now
my move to this industry; all these decisions have been
for the same reason. I feel, logistics will play a key
role in the overall growth of Pakistan in the coming
years; add to this the E- Commerce revolution, and the
opportunity becomes irresistible for someone like me.
How would you describe your experience at TCS? What
is your personal motto as the President and CEO of TCS
and how does that align with your vision for the
M. The TCS team’s shared vision is “Delivering beyond
customer expectations”. We might not be there yet, but
we are working very hard, as a team, to get there. I
strongly believe that the CEO’s vision has no meaning
unless the entire team owns that vision. I am just an
individual who, like my team members, participated in
the process of formulating and charting out the vision,
and now we all own it.
spent almost 20 years of your career in the banking
industry, how have you seen it evolve? Would you say
that the Pakistan banking industry has good future
prospects as compared to the global standard?
M. I would like to break the last 20 years into two
parts; the first 10 years saw the banking industry grow
and change at a rapidly accelerating rate, especially,
the Consumer Banking sector. The other significant event
was the launch of Islamic Banking in Pakistan, which has
tremendous growth potential. I am confident that the
Pakistan Banking industry will continue to grow.
Among the various positions that you have held at
different organizations, which role did you find the
most challenging and why?
M. I find my current role most challenging; the reason
being, that the opportunity is ripe and right here for
us to grasp. One of our Corporate Values is “To make
life simple, convenient and easy for our people and
customers”. TCS has the platform to make this happen; we
have set the bar high for ourselves and this poses new
challenges for us as team, but the upside is huge.
How was your time at IBA back in 1991? Please share a
memorable anecdote or two.
M. IBA was a life changing experience for someone like
me as I had been a professional sportsman before that.
To learn and compete with accomplished students on the
academic side was a big challenge. All I can say about
memorable anecdotes is that I came near expulsion a
couple of times, (not because of grades I assure you),
survived that somehow and graduated. I leave the rest to
Define success and happiness as you see it in today’s
M. These two words are very personal. What they mean to
you might be very different from what they mean to the
another person. For me this translates in doing
something big for Pakistan and for the people around me.
You don’t have to be driven by the world… YOU are the
only one who drives your own World.
You have held quite a few C-level positions at
various organizations. How does one stay grounded when
professional success comes at lightning speed?
M. First of all I don’t think I have achieved much yet,
hence being grounded is not an issue. What excites me is
that I definitely am part of the right team, and working
towards a shared vision that can produce significant
success in the near future.
We all have an innate desire to contribute to the
greater good in the world. Do you believe you have been
able to do that in the various roles you have held?
Which has been the most fulfilling role in this regard?
M. I have been very lucky to have worked on products and
services which make life better for people. When you
have these kind of opportunities you are making a
difference to customers, people who work with you and to
your own self. Launching Credit cards, Car Financing,
Home Loans, Islamic Banking and now the TCS platform -
where we are helping others succeed, are all very
What is the one personal attribute in your opinion
that is a key determinant of success in
corporate/professional life and why?
M. People! The ability to know what people want in the
real sense. This is true for customers and for people
who work with you. You align these two sets of people
and magic happens. People make impossible possible. If
you can get this part right you can conquer anything.
What is the one decision/individual/attribute you
feel has played a major role in your success as a
professional? How much of your success do you attribute
M. As I said before that I haven’t achieved much and the
best is yet to come Insha’Allah. Wherever I am today,
has been a result of the wonderful people I have worked
with. I attribute a lot to IBA as it transformed me as a
person and prepared me for the challenges ahead.
your experience, is the perfect work-life balance as
evasive as it is renowned to be? Do you have any tips in
that regard for aspiring business professionals?
M. This topic is overrated! This is very possible and
very doable. All it takes is time management skills and
prioritizing what you want from your life. My tip is to
wake up at Fajr (5 am), and not sleep after that.
Utilize this time to focus on doing something that you
are passionate about.
TCS has been recruiting many IBA graduates recently.
How does the IBA graduate of today compare to the
graduate of 1991?
M. Yes we have recruited from IBA, as well as other
reputed institutions, and we will continue to do the
same. The graduate of today is far better equipped
compared to a graduate from my time. They know a lot
more and have better tools to make a positive impact in
this world. Consequently, they have a lot more
responsibility to ensure that they work hard and rise to
IBA has recently undergone a complete metamorphosis
and is now entering another era, hopefully an even more
productive one. How do you expect IBA to shape up five
years from now? Do you have any message for Dr. Farrukh
Iqbal (Dean & Director, IBA) and/or the Alumni community
at this stage of transition?
M. I feel extremely happy and proud when I see the IBA
of today. Hats off to Dr. Ishrat Hussain and his team.
Dr. Farrukh Iqbal will Insha'Allah continue down this
path and take it to greater heights. As we work to
realize Pakistan’s true potential - IBA will remain at
the forefront of providing the leadership that will make