Institute of Business Administrtion

Featured Interviews - Mr. Asad Umar

Mr. Asad Umar (Ex-President and Chief Executive of Engro Chemicals Pakistan Limited) was interviewed by a team of IBA students and staff in March 2004. Mr. Umar is an alumnus of IBA, Karachi. His thoughts have been reproduced as follows:





Academic qualifications and achievements?

Bachelors in Commerce (B.Com) from Government College, Karachi. Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from IBA (Batch of 1984).

Previous Important positions held?

Worked in HSBC bank soon after graduation for seven months then joined EXXON Chemicals. He then became CEO Engro Asali in 1997 and got transferred as SVP of fertilizer operations in 2001 and is now the CEO of Engro Chemicals Pakistan Ltd.

Strengths that have contributed towards your success?

He believes that one of the most important thing that contributed towards his success was LUCK. Besides luck he believes that one has to find something he/she is passionate about which drives him/her all along. The individual then has to evaluate whether he/she is good at it or not! And here's where luck counts most.

Role of IBA in your Success?

He owes his success to IBTalking especially about Dr. Hashmey (one of his teachers) who taught him Financial Management, says that his love for finance was given to him by Dr. Hashmey and he owes that to him.

Any Memorable incident at IBA during your student life?

He recalled quite a few
- He met his wife at IBA (same batch) but she graduated in 86'
- Captained the IBA cricket team.
- Stood for BASC elections for Office Bearers (General Secretary) but lost.

Any changes that you noticed amongst students over the last 20 years?

He believes that the students are much brighter now but less well educated and he believes that its due to the fact that IBA is not investing in Faculty. He says that apart from discipline, graduating program is about intellectual content, research, quality of teachers and connection between the institute and the corporate world. He firmly believes that the Executive Education Program started at IBA will certainly help to bridge the gap between the institute and the corporate world. Teachers should start consultancy program and the most important thing is that teachers should have experience of corporate world themselves.

Vision for Engro?

Engro over the years has acquired a reputation of excellence in Pakistani corporate world and is unarguably highly rated. This is true for Pakistan, and now he wants to extend this in the global arena as well, through logical progression. He wants to initiate this by going into south and central Asia, first. He wants to develop competence to compete with the best in the world, because now you cannot build a wall around yourself to escape competition. He believes it's high time we start thinking locally and act globally.

The challenge for implementing this vision is evident from the fact that monoculture does not exists anymore. Managing change is becoming more difficult. Engro is a sensitive organization with grassroots culture. Engro still has an excellent team.

Engro's vision 10 years from now?

He says that it is vital to invest into intellectual capital. It's the researcher that makes the money not the person / organization that works on generic ideas. Making change is much more difficult now and requires change to be handled professionally. In order to achieve this Engro has an outstanding team, which is its strength.

Suggestions for change in IBA curriculum that would help?

He wants students to work on local cases. Students should seriously work on local cases and developed them with a view to help the business world. IBA students should perform beyond their "perceived value" in the market.

How can Engro and IBA get together?

IBA should try to establish more official connections, other than personal invitations to me for a guest speaker session. IBA needs more faculty in consultancy, because "it's absolutely criminal" to be without faculty in R & D, with extensive corporate experience.

Advice to students who aspire to succeed?

It's all about having a long-term vision. A vision should be compelling and inspiring. He said, "All that matters is what YOU do for others". His vision is:
- To make a substantial contribution to the well being of Pakistan's economy.
- To abide by the value system - Integrity and family
- See what is important in life.
- Have a vision for yourself and define that vision to yourself.


Interview Conducted by:
Danish Hussain Qureshi and Ghalia Naseer


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