Dr. Farrukh Iqbal - Dean & Director IBA

Dr. Farrukh Iqbal

Executive Director
Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi

Read Message

Message from the Executive Director

When I joined as Director two and a half years ago, I was new to the IBA. But the IBA was not new to me. Though I had spent most of my educational and professional career abroad, I was aware of the IBA's reputation as one of the best business schools in the country, famed for the prominence of its graduates in Pakistan's corporate world.

For most of its first fifty years, the IBA was known for its business education programs though a small program in management information systems had also become popular over time. Only those who passed a challenging admissions test and interview were let in. Close attention was paid to attendance and discipline in classrooms. The standard of teaching was excellent although the prevailing pedagogical philosophy could be described as "teacher knows best" and the teaching style as "stand and deliver."

When viewed in the context of the school's stellar reputation, however, there were a few anomalies. Two that stood out in particular were the fact that very few faculty had qualifications at the PhD level and that the physical infrastructure was sub-standard.

That was the IBA of yesterday. Today, the institution is different in many respects. Starting about ten years ago, under the leadership of Dr. Ishrat Husain, the two anomalies just mentioned were decisively addressed. A faculty development program was started that has raised the number of PhD faculty from less than 20 in 2008 to 67 today (in a total of 118 fulltime faculty). And resources were mobilized from the private sector to construct new buildings and classrooms equipped with state-of-the-art learning technology, including multimedia, internet and videoconference connections.

What we teach has also changed as the diversity of our educational offerings has grown at a rapid pace. In addition to the traditional business administration programs, we now offer separate degree programs in accounting, computer science, social sciences, economics and mathematics. Each program now requires taking a minimum number of cross-program courses as well. The underlying logic is that business education benefits if a variety of perspectives is on offer from a variety of disciplines. The converse also applies. Students in other programs benefit from the business education offerings that are available at the IBA.

The composition of our student body has also changed over the years. For more than a decade, we have sought students from diverse financial, social and ethnic backgrounds through geographically focused talent hunts. We backstop our diversity efforts through financial assistance packages which currently support about 30% of our fulltime students. This practice is rooted in the belief that the IBA must be accessible to a wide range of Pakistani students, irrespective of regional origins and financial circumstances. It also follows from research that suggests that socioeconomic diversity on campus strengthens interpersonal skills of students and promotes understanding and tolerance.

Today, we also offer educational services to a broader stakeholder community than just fulltime students. Through our professional development centers, we offer short term certificate courses and diplomas that are customized to the specific learning needs and time constraints of executives, bankers, journalists, IT professionals and others. Through our entrepreneurship training programs, we reach out to potential entrepreneurs from all walks of life, including homemakers.

There is a different vibe to the campus than just a decade ago. Consider the following events which took place at the IBA in the last few months: a panel discussion on water scarcity in Pakistan; a conference on Karachi's multiple challenges; a seminar on a World Bank report on the potential of regional trade in South Asia; a lecture on brokering peace in nuclear environments; and a conference on literary, social and political matters, bearing the title Afkar-e-Taza ThinkFestIBA. It is unlikely that five such events would have taken place on our campus at all, let alone in such close chronological proximity, say, ten years ago. The intellectual horizons of the Institute have widened considerably.

What will the IBA of tomorrow be like? What will we be teaching 25 years from now, how and to whom? This is, of course, a speculative matter but some trends relating to the nature of work may help us see some of the contours of our future.

The world of work is changing. The value of domain knowledge of a certain kind is declining in many occupations due to the spread of information technology and artificial intelligence. For example, the work done by accountants has dramatically changed as algorithms have made it easy to get accounting solutions within minutes. Similarly, the work of sales and marketing departments has been transformed by digital facilities that allow product information to be exchanged and compared instantly. The implication is that workers of the future will need skills that complement those that can easily be performed by machines and algorithms and digital technology. These include the skills involved in managing teams and setting strategies. We already teach such skills but will have to emphasize them even more in the future.

Another way in which the world of work is changing is in relation to careers. Lifetime careers with one company are becoming less and less common and much employer switching is to be expected during a working life. The shelf-life of skillsets is becoming shorter and workers need to learn new skills every few years. This means that there will be increasing demand for retooling through short courses delivered in a manner that suits the needs and constraints of working people. In other words, the education services we offer through our professional development centers will become more relevant and sought-after while long-duration post-graduate degree programs will decline in popularity.

Even jobs may not remain the dominant form of work experience for long. They may give way to individual tasks done for specified periods of time as a contractor rather than as an employee. The implication of this is that people will need to develop a mindset and skills consistent with self-employment or entrepreneurship. Business schools of the future may have to develop more programs to support entrepreneurship in line with expected demand.

It is likely then that the IBA of tomorrow will have a much larger proportion of non-formal students and a lot more emphasis on practical learning and entrepreneurial motivation. We have already built the institutional space to accommodate these developments through our professional development centers. Their role in the overall portfolio of educational services we provide will grow.

How we teach will also need to change. This is because new digital-based learning technologies have made it possible to learn effectively and efficiently from a variety of sources and it is becoming increasingly clear that the role of the classroom teacher in the future will be more one of facilitation as a discussion leader than one of primary instruction.


B. A. (Economics), Harvard University, 1975
Ph. D. (Economics), Yale University, 1981; Dissertation Title: The Demand and Supply of Funds among Agricultural Households: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis

Summary of Experience

I am currently the Executive Director of the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi, Pakistan, having taken up this assignment in August 2016. Prior to that, I was with the World Bank in Washington DC for thirty-three years. For most of this period, I was involved in analysis and policy dialogue related to economic policy issues, initially as a technical specialist and later as a manager. I have worked primarily on countries in East Asia (for 18 years) and the Middle East and North Africa (for 13 years). My areas of interest and responsibility have covered: fiscal and monetary management, trade and competitiveness, small and medium enterprises, local government development, human development, and poverty analysis and strategy. My last managerial assignment with the World Bank was as the Country Director for the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates).

Speeches & Presentations


  • Sustaining Gains in Poverty Reduction and Human Development in the Middle East and North Africa, World Bank, 2006
  • Small Firm Dynamics in East Asia, Kluwer Press, 2002 (co-edited with Shujiro Urata)
  • Deregulation and Development in Indonesia, Praeger Press, 2002 (co-edited with William James)
  • Local Government Development in Japan, Oxford University Press, 2001 (co-edited with Michio Muramatsu)
  • Democracy, Market Economics and Development: An Asian Perspective, World Bank, 2001 (co-edited with Jong-Il Yoo).

World Bank Reports

  • Egypt (2004): A Poverty Reduction Strategy for Egypt
  • Indonesia (1994): Domestic Resource Mobilization: Issues and Options
  • Philippines (1992): Issues in Domestic Resource Mobilization
  • Philippines (1990): Issues in Adjustment and Competitiveness
  • Korea (1988): Health Insurance and the Health Sector
  • Korea (1987): Managing an External Surplus: Trade and Monetary Issues
  • Korea (1985): The Management of External Liabilities

Journal & Book Articles

  • "The Determinants of Child Mortality Reduction in the Middle East and North Africa." Middle East Development Journal (co-authored with Youssouf Kiendrebeogo and accepted for publication, October 2, 2015)
  • "Public Spending and Education Attainment in the Middle East and North Africa." Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, (co-authored with Youssouf Kiendrebeogo), 11:2, 99-118, 2015
  • "Economic Growth in Egypt: Constraints and Determinants." In Journal of African Development, 2007 (co-authored with Anton Dobronogov).
  • "Trade, Foreign Direct Investment and Development in the Middle East and North Africa" in Mustapha Kamel Nabli (editor) Breaking the Barriers to Higher Economic Growth, World Bank, Washington DC: 2007.
  • "Fiscal and Public Debt Sustainability in Egypt" in Ahmed Galal and Nadeem Ul Haque (editors), Fiscal Sustainability in Emerging Markets: International Experience and Implications for Egypt, American University in Cairo Press: 2006 (co-authored with Pedro Alba and Sherine El-Shawarby).
  • "Toward a More Competitive Investment Climate in Egypt" in Heba Nassar (editor), Revisiting Egypt's Competitiveness: The Road Ahead for Building Leading Sectors, Center for Economic and Financial Research and Studies, Cairo: 2005 (co-authored with Sherine El-Shawarby.)
  • "Small Firm Dynamics in East Asia: An Overview" in Small Business Economics 18: 1-12, 2002 (co-authored with Shujiro Urata)
  • "Deregulation and Development in Indonesia: An Overview" in Farrukh Iqbal and William James (editors), Deregulation and Development in Indonesia, Praeger, USA 2002 (co-authored with Faham Rashid)
  • "The Impact of Deregulation on the Manufacturing Sector" in Farrukh Iqbal and William James (editors), Deregulation and Development in Indonesia, Praeger, USA 2002
  • "Trade and Investment Liberalization and Development in Indonesia" in Roger Grawe and Andras Inotai (editors), Trade, Integration and Transition: International Conference in Memoriam Bela Balassa, Institute for World Economics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest: 2002.
  • "Understanding Japanese Intergovernmental Relations: Perspectives, Models and Salient Characteristics" in Michio Muramatsu, Farrukh Iqbal and Ikuo Kume (editors), Local Government Development in Post-War Japan, Oxford University Press, 2001 (co-authored with Michio Muramatsu)
  • "Local Government Development: Some Lessons from Japanese Experience" in Michio Muramatsu, Farrukh Iqbal and Ikuo Kume (editors), Local Government Development in Post-War Japan, Oxford University Press, 2001 (co-authored with Michio Muramatsu and Ikuo Kume)
  • "East Asia in the World Economy: Issues in Trade and Investment Liberalization." Research in Asian Economic Studies, 1996
  • "External Financing for Korea: The Next Phase." World Development, 16(1): 137-155, 1988
  • "The Determinants of Moneylender Interest Rates." Journal of Development Studies, 24(3):364-378, 1988
  • "Financing Korean Development," in Sung-Joo Han and Robert Myers (editors), Korea to the Year 2000, University Press, 1987.
  • "The Demand and Supply of Funds among Agricultural Households in India" in Inderjit Singh, Lyn Squire and John Straus (editors), Agricultural Household Models: Extensions, Applications and Policy. Johns Hopkins Press, 1986.
  • "The Demand for Funds among Agricultural Households." Journal of Development Studies, 20(1):68-86, 1984
  • Book Review: Underdevelopment and Agrarian Structure in Pakistan (Mahmood Hasan Khan, author); in Pakistan Journal of Applied Economics, 1:1; 113-122, 1982
  • "The Fertility Consequences of Land Reform in Pakistan" in John Montgomery, Harold Lasswell, and Joel Migdal (editors), Patterns of Policy. Transaction Books, New Jersey, 1979

Conference & Working Papers

  • "Human Development in the Middle East and North Africa: Past and Future." Paper prepared for public lecture at Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, Australian National University, Canberra, October 2015.
  • "Why have Middle Eastern Oil-Rich Countries Performed Better than African Oil-Rich Countries?" Paper prepared for Conference on Comparative Performance of Rentier Economies, London School of Economics, October 2015.
  • "Turning the Corner or Running into a Wall?" Paper for Seminar on Global Economic Prospects, University of Evansville, February 2015.
  • "Education Attainment in the Middle East and North Africa: Success at a Cost" Policy Research Working Paper 7127, World Bank Group, December 2014 (co-authored with Youssouf Kiendrebeogo).
  • "The Reduction of Child Mortality in the Middle East and North Africa: A Success Story" Policy Research Working Paper 7023, World Bank Group, September 2014 (co-authored with Youssouf Kiendrebeogo).
  • "SME Finance Policies for Growth and Sustainability" Paper prepared for Standard and Poor's Leadership Forum, Abu Dhabi, November 2013.
  • "Islamic Institutions and Long Term Economic Performance." Paper prepared for Conference on Islam and Economic Growth, Washington DC 2011.
  • "Bank Lending to SMEs in the Middle East and North Africa Region: Recent Empirical Findings and Lessons." Paper for Seminar on Kafala and SME Lending in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, 2011.
  • "Job Growth Without Unemployment Reduction: The Experience of Jordan." Paper co-authored with Susan Razzaz for Third IZA (Institute for the Study of Labor) World Bank Conference on Employment and Development, Morocco 2008.
  • "Commercial Microfinance in Egypt - The Case of the National Bank for Development" Paper co-authored with Nagwa Riad for World Bank conference entitled: Reducing Poverty, Sustaining Growth: What Works, What Doesn't and Why, Shanghai, 2004
  • "Korea's Debt Accumulation, Use and Management Strategies." Background paper prepared for World Development Report, World Bank, 1985
  • "Rural Savings, Investment and Interest Rates in Developing Countries: Evidence from India." Rand Corporation Note N-1763-AID, 1982
  • "Dualism, Technical Change, and Rural Finance Markets in Developing Countries" Rand Corporation Note N-1723-AID, 1981
  • "The Demand and Supply of Funds Among Agricultural Households" Rand Corporation Note N-1631-AID, 1981

Curricula Vitae