Featured Interviews - Mr. Mohsin Ali Nathani
Chief Executive and member Board of Directors for Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) since September 2010, Mr. Mohsin Nathani boasts of 22 years of banking experience, covering Asia (East and South-East), Middle East and Levant regions. Mr. Nathani completed his MBA from IBA in 1987, and has profound experience across corporate banking, fixed income markets and Islamic Banking. In addition to an exhilarating and successful banking career, Mr. Nathani is also seen to be an active member on the boards of Pakistan Council for Philanthropy, British Oversees School, the i-CARE foundation and a trustee on the IBA endowment fund. We are grateful to Mr. Nathani for taking out time from his busy schedule and giving us an insight into his personal and professional life.
What made you chose IBA?
It was and is one of the best business and management institutes in Pakistan that was regionally recognized and had a prestigious history. Also, most major organizations in Pakistan preferred to hire an IBA graduate which was one of the biggest attractions for joining IBA.
How was the IBA experience for you as a student?
It was challenging, motivational and fun at the same time. The studies were always tough but I had the motivation of exciting career opportunities awaiting me after graduation. We also had a good share of extra-curricular activities to loosen up every now and then. I was fortunate to have a wonderful group of friends in my batch who are now lifelong close friends.
Tell us a memorable anecdote from your days at IBA?
The most memorable event that I still remember from my days at IBA was when during a class at the university campus riots had started and class was disrupted. The then dean Dr. Wahab instead of cancelling the class shifted it to city campus in the evening which taught us the importance of focus and discipline. These qualities are embedded in IBA graduates.
What in your opinion makes an IBA student stand out from the rest?
IBA students are preferred by employers since they are used to working under pressure in any environment and any job role. They are disciplined and focused due to the rules and policies that IBA adheres to.
How did you start your career? Was it an eventful journey to the CEO position?
I started my career with ICI and since then it has been an eventful journey of over 22 years of banking in Asia and Middle East with various banks. During the course of my career I have had the opportunity to experience corporate banking, fixed income markets and Islamic banking which enhanced my knowledge of banking as a whole. Although my hair has greyed in this journey, it has indeed been a terrific learning experience which is very satisfying and professionally rewarding.
You are a successful businessman/banker. What do you think is the most important factor for being a success in today’s world? What do you attribute your success to?
In my view, success is attributable on a personal level to being fair and honest with your work ensuring commitment, hard work and discipline. In terms of stakeholders, being people focused, leading by example and being client focused are some of the attributes for having a successful career. External factors such as luck and the constant prayers from parents also play an important role for being successful.
Define happiness as you understand it in today’s fast paced world?
Happiness is when you are content and satisfied with the work you are doing and the value you are adding to the organization. For me, happiness is also achieved when you earn respect from colleagues, friends and family.
Tell us something about your family and your interests other than work. How do maintain your work-life balance?
I am married with three children. Work life balance is a constant battle and to overcome it, I start my day early so that I can organize my entire day at work in such a way that I finish on time and spend some valuable time with friends and family after that. I enjoy spending interactive time with my children where I share my experiences and listen to theirs, hence we learn from each other. My interests include watching cricket and smoking cigars.
Over the years in your work experience at SCB, what noticeable changes have you observed in IBA graduates?
Current grads are typical "Gen Y" being more tech savvy and having greater risk appetite in terms of career moves as opposed to the older graduates who were more conventional and risk averse. This change is mainly due to competitive job market and fast changing technology.
What role can the Alumni play in the success and development of the IBA?
I am a strong believer of the notion that practical experience can be a source of great learning for students; therefore the Alumni actively needs to participate as guest speakers and part-time professors to impart practical knowledge to students. There is also much they can do in terms of financial contributions that would aid in developing world class facilities at IBA.
What message would you like to give to the present IBA students as well as the Alumni?
For current students, you are all a part of a very prestigious network that is playing a vital role in the development of this country. It is important to take ownership for your own learning. Besides academic learning also focus on acquiring general knowledge which comes with reading excessively about diversified material. It is also important to have knowledge about the corporate world: in summary increase your awareness about the real world. Use this opportunity wisely and to the best of your ability. For the alumni, keep the IBA flag flying high and keep playing your part in its development.
Taskeen Fatima Lakhani- Alumnus 2012
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