IBA vs LUMS- the showdown

No Karachi versus Lahore debate is ever complete without a heated discussion on which of the two above business schools are better. Most arguments though aren’t objective. An IBA student, attending a government run institution with fewer facilities, would never concede to LUMS being better than his own almamater whereas LUMS students would always refer to the HEC Rankings to prove whose better. (Despair not Karachiites. Notice how much higher the IBA students have scored than LUMS studenst. LUMS just managed to woo in IBA’s cream faculty, which is where we lose out. Of course, a government institution can never pay higher than a private institution.)

Teams from both Pakistan’s best business schools meet tomorrow at Sheraton in an Entrepreneurship Competition to present their Business Plans. What is at stake is not just the winner spot but also the reputation of both the cities. Lets wait and see which team takes home the laurels.

33 Comments so far

  1. Salman A. (unregistered) on April 10th, 2007 @ 8:39 pm

    Both the schools are equally good so I give 9 out of 10 to both. I am glad to see other business schools of Pakistan hiring the graduates of IBA and LUMS as their faculty members. I love this positive change.

  2. Shabbir (unregistered) on April 10th, 2007 @ 8:43 pm

    Hi guy’s,
    My name is Shabbir. I am currently in the US and coming back in June to visit family. I have not been back since I came to the US in 1994. I was 19 years old and am 32 now.

    My question to you guy’s reading this blog is this.

    What are the things that I can bring back to my family and a few close friends from the US that are hard, expensive, newly arrived, in fashion. The catch is that I do not want to bring things that are too big.

    Could you guy’s/gals point me to a message board where I can post this and get advise from Karachi folks?

    I have also a few other questions that I want to ask but don’t want to hog this forum. I am trying to get a hold of some cool people like yourselves.

    Please email me at


    Appreciate it a lot.

  3. Salman A. (unregistered) on April 10th, 2007 @ 9:14 pm

    I wouldnt mind iMac and iPod if you were my friend or close relative. They are compact and easy to carry as well :)

  4. KhiTorPit (unregistered) on April 10th, 2007 @ 9:20 pm

    @Shabbir, You should carry brand name clothes, perfumes, and shampoos, other then that each and every thing is available in Khi and comparatively cheaper, except that laptops are a bit expensive.

  5. KhiTorPit (unregistered) on April 10th, 2007 @ 9:22 pm

    There should be a new post like Khi Vs Lhr, that would be funny I guess.

  6. ALi Mohsin (unregistered) on April 10th, 2007 @ 9:24 pm

    Looking forward to the contest……..! thats why i like KMB …….event that i wud have missed so easily …keep up the good work..

  7. Rukun (unregistered) on April 10th, 2007 @ 9:38 pm

    Is this open to public? and which students are participating, seniors?

  8. Dee (unregistered) on April 10th, 2007 @ 9:52 pm

    @Shabbir, I would say Cosmetics and chocolates, i am not saying perfumes as brand names can be extremely expansive.Same thing goes with Apparel, why buy clothes in U.S when they have a tags such as Made in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India:).Do not take any leather goods as you will find superb items in karach with half the price.
    Also, i would highly recommend you to take your medications(if you use any)with you as well as generic on the counter painkillers, or in case if you have a bad stomach, which you will.
    I am not sure how much duty you have to pay on electronics but electronics are good too.
    Have a blast while you there and say hello to karach on my behalf :).

  9. Inspirex (unregistered) on April 10th, 2007 @ 10:01 pm

    @rukun: you can show up at the sheraton tomorrow at 8.15. The event is hosted by The Indus Entrepreneurs, and registrations are charged at 300 for students, and 1200 for business delegates.
    You must register early, even if you plan to attend a late session.

  10. Inspirex (unregistered) on April 10th, 2007 @ 10:16 pm

    Alternatively, call up rizwan ahmed khan at octara (tel: 453 4261, cell: 0300 8275351) for details.

  11. BitterTruth (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 12:40 am

    This IBA vs LUMS has a good point that any government run institution can maintain a good standard. Thanks to the IBA directors and teachers who worked hard to make it a quality institute. Although now perhaps IBA standard has gone down little bit.

  12. wasiq (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 2:32 am

    iss duniya main doo kissim kay log hain….aik woh jin ko gift deyney ka junoon ki hadd tak shuq hai woh koi mocka janney nahein deytey…..dosrey woh jo pooch pooch kay sharminda kar deytey hain…”keun mian iss dafa bhi nahein batao gay tumhey birthday pey kya chahiyeah….”lol

    Sorry 2007-1994~32-19=$$$ can’t help you!

  13. Red_Munk!! (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 6:27 am

    IBA vs LUMS—-both students are always high! :P.

    Khi vs Lhr debate is stupid, ppl make cities and both sets are very different. Karchi wala’s “win” the debate by saying “Oh yeah!?, Hamare pas Beach hai!!!”. Lahori’s “win” by, *__*IBA vs LUMS—-both students are always high! :P.

    Khi vs Lhr debate is stupid, ppl make cities and both sets are very different. Karchi wala’s “win” the debate by saying “Oh yeah!?, Hamare pas Beach hai!!!”. Lahori’s “win” by, *__*

  14. zeeshan syed (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 7:52 am

    I have an invitation alongwith my wife but sheeshh, I won’t be able to go. Good thing that my wife is going. She’ll tell me allll about it :)

  15. Huzefa L (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 9:28 am

    @Shabbir – Everyone likes US$ and I know for a fact that they are cheaper in the US than in Pakistan!
    Everyone would be happy with a nice cool $100 bill. I know I would!

  16. mansoor (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

    red munk: “Most of the Corporate Management in in this country are IBA graduate” red munk: “Most of the Corporate Management in in this country are IBA graduate”

  17. Red_Munk!! (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 1:10 pm

    sowwie for generalizing :P/:$. But yeah, its the way it is, look at P&G, UniLever, Nestle or the banks.

    I know most of the HQ’s are in Khi, but my friends in Nestle even ‘Complain’ about IBA grads coming into new openings.

    Personally, i dont belivive in the “Mine’s bigger than ures” bs. As long as one can get the job done, whats the fuss abt?? ^ ^.

    @ HUZEFA: haha, Sad but true..

  18. Ramla A. (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 2:28 pm

    Hmmm. Thank God, for a business plan competition!

    I enrolled in IBA just when Dr. Wahab was going out, and we went through a major period of changes and upsets for quite a while. I joined IBA because I wanted to do my own business eventually – but entrepreneurship-wise, I found the curriculum and the entire atmosphere too stifling.

    Entrepreneurship is not to be taught in an Orwellian environment. Eventually the institute is more suited to the salaried types.

    However, that was four years ago. Curriculum changed afterwards. The change will manifest itself eventually.

    Besides, there was this whole issue of completely fabricated “research” and business plans… another issue in itself.

    In conversations with LUMS friends, I found their approach to business planning more real-world oriented. They have an entire trimester (final, MBA) dedicated to developing a business plan that involves working outside the classroom and create a plan along with prototypes and blueprints – whatever it takes. The plans are then taken by organizations such as SMEDA. So the output of the academia goes into the real-world – even if partly.

  19. Ramla A. (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 2:37 pm

    … cont’d from previous…

    I’ve also worked with CBM and SZABIST graduates – and found SZABIST, despite their few facilities, rather refreshing in their uninhibited approach. That ought to do something with their faculty – many of them challenge prevalent notions.

    I met with Zeeshan Arshad of SZABIST briefly; and found his capitalism-challenging notion interesting even if I didn’t agree with it all – yet learning is an evolutionary process, and the answers evolve over time. QUESTIONING is more important.

    CBM is less intellectualized than IBA, but more than compensates with street smarts. It’s often a pleasure working with CBM graduates… and at any rate, a team should be diversified. In fact – it’s interesting when non-business graduates are put in typically MBA-oriented job positions. I experimented by putting a sociology student on a marketing project – I found the insights very interesting. The cookie-cutter approach is gone, and new angles emerge.

    The Karachi University business studies department is… piti-able the last I saw it in 2002. Of course, individuals can excel on their own – but the facilities are… no facilities, sorry.

    Back to Lahore and Karachi – Lahore is a city of business people, and Karachi is a commercial city with more jobs than businesses. I have lived in both places – and there is no similarity between the two. Hence it’s natural that business schools of each carry the flavor of the local culture. In spite of this, we need more enterprise, more small and micro-businesses, more opportunity-creation.

    This competition, hopefully, will yield positive results.

  20. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 4:35 pm

    Lums is Privately owned by Babur Ali & Trust of his family.

    He was former finance minsiter in care take govt of moeen qureshi when the charter of lums was signed.

    Babur Ali as an Individial is The founder of Packages Pakistan, Co Owner of Nestle Pakistan, Tetra Pak Pakistan, Treet Corporation, Loads Pakistan, Gilette Pakistan (after UDL was split) among few in top 15 Companies on KSE & LSE of Pakistan are under foundation of Babur Ali Group.

    LUMS funding is not from UGC – Lums pay in US DOLLARS to visiting speakers. IBA begs around for money sometimes to pay for the KESC bills.

    so JITNA GUR UTNA MEETHA so results are bound to be GOLDEN and Cream le Creme of class.


    BUT CUT PASTE Culture is ON be it anywhere any school in Pakistan.

  21. Red_Munk!! (unregistered) on April 11th, 2007 @ 5:48 pm

    Great points RAMLA, The culture after Dr.Wahab has improved for the better. You can ask Q’s now without the fear of pissing a teacher off.
    The case studies are better & no longer do you go “Huh? why am i doing this?”. Although the syllabi is still for the “working class” & very soon you feel you’ve experienced all that the institute has to offer.

    But as Jamal pointed out earlier, they are doing this with mimimun resources & being a GOV institute, its a miracle they have lasted this long. (Looking around you, what other GOV institute can you compare it with?).

    SZABIST students are sharp, but always seemed “Bored/tired” of life. Maybe thats what i think?.

    & CBM Students were a pleasure to work with!? :|. I have a LOT of friends there, but thats an institute for TWATS by TWATS. They need a massive overhaul & try to improve their edu standards.

    A review of the enrollment procedure would be a good place to start. (ppl with D’s & E’s get in, while Straight A’s students dont get in & no one in the admin can offer an explaination either!).

  22. pyroach (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 3:03 am

    LUMS is undoubtedly provides the best of education. The subjects they teach are unheard of at other universities that fall below it on the HEC scale. There is an immense focus on case studies and student initiatives. They also have an incubation centre on campus.

    When it comes to SZABIST, their effort is admirable. Contrary to what Ramla said, they have a good number of faculties and programs namely Business Administration, Computer Sciences, Economics, Social Sciences, Media Sciences, Law and International Human Resource Management.
    One of the institutions strength (which is considered one of its weaknesses) is that it is being run in two small campuses in the Clifton embassy area. This creates a great environment of interaction and socializing, and thereby a lot of networking in joint faculty work and jobs prospects. Secondly, the management empowers students for taking initiatives in terms of marked projects. One can always see stalls of dvds, songs, shisha, mini-games; gaming tournaments; fun-filled-themed events all the time there. 4 weeks ago, atleast 60 students opened up stalls at the defense Sunday bazaar, selling items from vegetables to sandals. Upon inquiry, they told that it was a retail management project.

    Not much attribution can be given to the faculty for approaches that institutions follow, as especially in Karachi, their services are not confined to one particular institute. Most of the teachers (even permanent faculty) are the very same people that teach at IBA, CBM, SZABIST, IQRA, PAK-Kiet and even KU. Oh yes.. and now sometimes even KASB. Teaching quality is pretty much the same everywhere.

    Cant say much about CBM. Haven’t professionally interacted much with the institution or its students lately. Street smart.. yes. Networkers, yes. Enter the HR department of any bank, and you’ll find them, most probably in more quantity then other competing institutes. The standard of education there has dropped a bit but now coming back up (honest feedback from the students that study there). A couple of teachers were also kicked out from there on charges of bribery almost an year ago. If you ask me, student intake is the main area for them to improve upon.

    IBA’s doing well. A lot of students do get frustrated due to the administrations obsession on discipline (Danishmand and Khalili sahab). One would also get complaints on the lack of student initiatives and the studies being too bookish. The institute has no shortage of funds rest assured. The university got a grant of 30 million rupees just two years ago. USAID solely provides support to it too.

    The most despicable trend in the education sector (mostly pertinent to these institutes) is the fact that students get consumed with their universities brand name and indulge in conscious and unconscious nepotism (correctly pointed out by Zeeshan), creating a large void of politics in the already inefficient corporate culture.
    The other things to eliminate should include plagiarism and teacher performance. Also, the more the pupil is taught to take initiative during studies, the more entrepreneurial he/she can become.

  23. pyroach (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 3:05 am

    my apologies, by teacher performance i meant unsatisfactory teacher performance.

  24. enspec (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 4:20 am

    I happened to go to the conference today. It was quite invigorating.

    Fast forwarding to the IBA Vs Lums Challenge!

    IBA’s team comprised of 3 gentlemen and 1 lady. The idea was about a user friendly knowledge repository on cell phone networks/SMS to educate the youth. For example, if you don’t know what is the average speed of a Tiger, type in the query and send an sms to the server. You’ll get the exact answer smsed back in only 20 paisas. Target market was 8-18 year olds.

    The presentation was given by all teammates. The presentation was very unstructured, bookish, student-like, vague, too technologically complex (there’s no valid reason to talk about technicalities and that too in a technical way in front of an audience from a very diverse background) and ignored the results for the consumer and investor. It was obvious that they had reached the conclusion that the idea was good and everyone would just get it. It lacked background-reality-check through self-critical analysis. It also needed heavy financing, like 52 million rupees, giving a projected profit of 50 million rupees in the first year. They had a smug and rude attitude to Q&A and were aggressive. At the start of the presentation one could clearly observe that the group was being lead by an autocratic leader.

    The LUMS team comprised of 1 gentleman and 3 ladies. The presentation was done by one team mate. Their idea was also based on SMS. It cited the design of targeted-advertising through sms.. just like what is done by http://www.google.com (right side pane, click-charge advertising). So if I text a friend through their sms server, “Wanna go have coffee?” the server would read the words and provide a targeted ad to my friend and me in the end of the message.. “Costa coffee now open at Zamzama”.

    This was the benefit to SMEs (their main selected client base) looking for cheap advertising. The benefit to the consumer would be free of charge sms from their server to all cell phone users by subsidy through advertising fee charged to the SMEs. A small profit from the advert fee would of course be retained. They defined their target market pretty well too (a specific amount in the cell phone users base).

    Overall the whole thing was sound and professional (one of its representatives was an IBA gold medalist of BBA batch 2006 BTW). Everything was well structured. They followed the Steve Jobs approach i.e. graphically showing the ultimate results/vision of the product in the start. They were also interactive while presenting. Their idea was feasible and definitely innovative. It required 5.5 million rupees, giving a projected profit of 10 million rupees in the first year. They answered the questions better. A little immaturity in them was observed by all. But the crowd was immature too (simply because of being pro to the other team as it came from their university), clapping on every freaking answer during Q&A in ridicule. Everyone definitely seemed have a good understanding with each other and that all of them had thoroughly contributed in the thought process.

    In the closing session, one of the judges even gave remarks on low quality of content and the panel gave a very democratic ruling that they may “someday finance these projects”. Both projects were very democratically praised and we heard the similar clich√© phrases that it was very hard to decide n all. LUMS was declared as the winner. I would say that both sides were professionally ditched.

    It seemed quite valid for the judges/venture capitalists of not to announce any interest of investment as the projects really didn’t show much potential and work done into them. One of the speakers did say that both the teams were given one week to prepare everything. So much for “management”. We have a long way to go!

  25. zs (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 5:21 am

    was this televised? a proper contest on business ideas would make a killer tv show … a paki university version of “the apprentice”. bring in students from all the top universities in the country, without making it look like those quiz shows on PTV from the early 90s… sounds compelling. somebody should pitch this to geo.

  26. Obi Wan Kenobi (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 10:32 am

    I would never want any one to read my texts and send me ads even if they are free. I like my privacy :-).

  27. Inspirex (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 11:42 am

    The whole concept of a business plan is to, well, demonstrate your knowledge and skill about a business model.

    Rule one is to know the business, before you open your mouth about it.

    Bear with me while i critique the business models from whats written here (i was not there at the event).

    First off: IBA. The team came up with a knowledge base repository, that replies over SMS for 20 paisas.

    Here is the fact on this: No company in Pakistan (including mobilink, who’s ceo was there) is in favour of giving out shortcodes without a revenue share. The volume of revenue share they want is now in excess of 60%. That means if you charge someone at Rs. 5, they give you 2 out of that. Thanks to the telecos, SMS businesses are screwed.

    Assuming they even get 20paisas per SMS, what the students are projecting as a 50million PKR profit. Lets assume for a minute that the operational cost is 10 million per year, which means they need 60 million in revenue to strike their 50 million profit target. That means they expect 300 million queries in the first year (25 million per month. i.e. half of pakistans mobile consumer base asking one question per month).

    This also assumes the fact that people know proper english for the queries to be answered automatically (and that the software is intelligent enough to know exactly what the question means, despite grammatical and spelling errors). Why I say software? because answering 25 million messages per month is no human task. (it can be, but then you pay through your nose for that much manpower! (25 million messages a month, over 0.83 million messages per day, given a 16 hour workshift, thats a staggering 52,000 queries per hour, taking it a step further to lets say 2 mins to answer a query, it needs 0.104 human minutes per hour. and since an hour only has 60 mins, sadly, you are asking for about 1700 persons to sit and answer queries in a 2 min timespan.)

    Lets take this a step further, a 52 million rupee investment is crazy. SMS businesses use far less than that, and I am assuming much of this cost is software. Hence again, the fact that the software has to be intelligent enough to understand a multitude of languages. sms syntaxes and spelling styles to answer that number of queries from a 52 million cellphone subscriber base country (inclusive of multiple redundant sim owners) with less than 5% english comprehension skills. btw…this is like google or yahoo answers over SMS.

    LUMS business model: This is already being commercially done in some countries (and i believe there is nothing wrong about bringing a successful international business model to your country), and is more like google adwords over SMS. Only question is, how does this company charge its revenue. by sheer blind ads on sms OR by a cost per click/actual consumer for the ads? I think this model is somewhat doable, but a 10 million rupee profit figure is a bit too optimistic. I think Hardware costs are going to be significantly high as well, considering that the company will integrate equipment and softwares at the teleco’s that will carry the ads in the texts. But yeah, bottom line, do-able.

    Its ok to even take a loss initially. Its the killer app that matters.

    And presenting the ultimate vision at the start is not the steve jobs approach, its standard silicon valley and investment banking approach globally….you want to land heavy on the person who you present to, and you know he will mostly have one of 2 things on his mind. Ego, or returns. So by painting the big picture and telling him what he will be pioneering AND Earining, you are satisfying both probable sides to the person.

    Who won the contest is a no brainer and i agree with enspec. the standard of content seems very low and so does the management and planning skill.

  28. enspec (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 2:13 pm


    I did see a hell lot of big cameras. Plus, Geo was the events media partner so we might see it on TV, but as a report, not as a whole show. The judges announced the opening for a national business plan competition which would be televised, and might even be turned into a reality show. The teams selected would be aggressively trained through workshops in order to create a proper proposal. Maybe we’ll see a Pakistani version of The Apprentice :).

    @Obi Wan Kenobi

    Hahaha, the same problem was also faced by gmail . Regardless, such technologies are automated with a small degree of human intervention.

  29. Obi Wan Kenobi (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 7:06 pm

    Enspec that’s why I do not use Gamil and deleted my Orkut account. I know there is no human intervention but I don’t need any parser to go via my text. If there is a parser then one could dig if he wants. No parsing at all at any level.

  30. Bayl (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 7:13 pm


    I wish I could substantiate your optimism regarding IBA’s changing trend but unfortunately the reality is far more dismal. This business plan competition was exciting yes, mostly because the director took it in his own hands as a matter of prestige (just what anything else that involves LUMS becomes). So he ensured timely submissions and a healthy competition.

    Sadly, this is not an everyday phenomenon. In three years this is the first time such a competition happened and even then it wasn’t mainstream enough. A lot of people never got to hear about it (it wasn’t marketed well) and many were simply not interested.

    That the IBA students are of the salary variety and not the entrepreneurship variety is very true to the extent that I can not overemphasize how detrimental that has become. creative thinking, innovation, challenging textbooks is DISCOURAGED.

    Coincidently (?) the very next day, TiE hosted a conference on IBA campus along with CIPE for IBA students and the subject was none other than Entrepreneurship. I took a personal survey on the venue and the majority were utilizing time to listen to their iPods or reading some textbook for exams. Nobody was interested in the discussion on entrepreneurship. Why? “I’d rather work in an MNC” attitude.

    A lot of people want to start up their own business but nobody is interested in learning about entrepreneurship. A dichotomy wouldn’t you say?

  31. Salman A. (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 8:54 pm

    Shame on Shaukat Aziz for not paying any attention to IBA. If I were him, I would have made my ‘madre ilmi’ the most desirable school of Asia.

  32. enspec (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

    Just for the record, Mobilink’s presentation given by its CEO was the most boring of all. It was meaningless too. More than a quarter of the people went to have tea outside when he started presenting.

    Great points Inspirex. Similar assumption based questions were asked from the IBA team by a Pakistani Technology Professor from MIT and they weren’t able to answer them well. The project did entail an algorithm based engine which they were working on, that would in the most accurate way possible, correct various errors in the message.

    Their repository consisted of this engine integrated with a database of numerous encyclopedias. It wasn’t anything like yahoo answers. Everything would be done by electronic beings.

    The only thing criticized about the LUMS model was that the initial investment was optimistically low and the return in the first year was optimistically high. This proposal also entailed an algorithm based engine for similar purposes.

  33. Furhan (unregistered) on April 19th, 2007 @ 12:41 am

    I wonder when the Agha Khan Business University in Karachi starts operating? It was supposed to be sometime in this year. They were aiming at becoming the best ranking business school in Pakistan, and one of the best in the region!

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