A panel discussion with senior business executives was held for MBA students at the Suleman Dawood School of Business (SDSB) at LUMS on October 11, 2019. The executives shared their insights on some key management and leadership challenges. This event was part of SDSB’s Experiential Learning umbrella, which is committed to bringing experienced practitioners into the classroom to enhance the student experience and give them an insight into the corporate world.
The panel consisted of senior management from local businesses and included, Muhammad Faisal Afzal, Director, Super Asia Group; Mashkoor Malik, Senior Manager HR, Master Tiles & Ceramic Industries Ltd. and Waqar Khadim, General Manager HR, Master Tiles & Ceramic Industries Ltd.
In a wide-ranging dialogue, chaired by Dr. Syed Zahoor Hassan, Professor, SDSB, the panel discussed emerging technology trends, and how these will affect leadership and management in the future. The panellists shared their concerns about keeping up with the latest developments in management and emphasised the importance of maintaining a willingness to learn.
Mr. Afzal talked about Super Asia Group’s growth strategy, and how new technology and global trends are changing the landscape of local businesses and the effects of industrialisation in Pakistan. Mr. Khadim then explained why his firm chose to venture into beverages; an industry far from their domain and how they struggled to market it and compete with local colas.
The discussion covered diverse subjects, such as the impact of consumer behaviour on businesses, how deployment of new technologies could affect business practices and what barriers and opportunities industries are likely to face in the next five years. The speakers also shared the challenges they have been facing and gave their perspective on doing business ethically and successfully.
Dr. Hassan commented on the importance of such discussions and said, "Hearing from high-level executives from local family businesses challenges and inspires our students to think outside the square.”
The panel discussion was followed by a Questions and Answer session, which allowed MBA students to enhance their understanding of the local industry. The students were eager to learn about the marketing strategies of the two companies and how open they were to e-commerce. They also enquired about supply chain management and how a business's supply-side activities maximise customer value and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Students were also intrigued how a tiles and ceramic company decided to venture into beverages and wanted to learn of the firm’s future plans for rebranding.
Dr. Hassan thanked the panellists for their time and valuable input and appreciated their efforts towards youth engagement. He said, “Academic literature is important, but only gets you so far. There is just as much to learn from listening to practitioners talk about their lives and experience. That’s why events like these where we bring experienced professionals into the classroom are so important to the student experience.”
The event concluded with an interactive networking session over tea.