Indian and Pakistani business schools: Thawing relations

The Economist, Apr 17th 2012

CROSS-BORDER collaboration between business schools is a common occurrence. Some top institutions can have partnerships with counterparts in as many as 40 different countries. It is seen as a way of increasing their internationalism, without having to run  programmes overseas, which can be expensive. It gives faculty and students a chance to expose themselves to a foreign business culture through exchanges, and for schools to boast about their global footprint on their websites.

Still, the announcement this week that the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad has signed a memorandum of understanding with Pakistan’s Institute of Business Administration (IBA), based in Karachi, is important. 

The scope of the proposed collaboration is small—ISB will offer short, non-degree executive programmes on the IBA campus—but it is rare to find Indian and Pakistani institutions working together in this way. Indeed, Deepak Chandra, ISB’s deputy dean, says that he knows of no other example of schools from the two countries working together like this. 

Mr Chandra says that he sees the benefits of collaboration coming in “visible” and “invisible” forms. The visible form will see ISB helping to train leaders to work in the sectors that can make a real difference to the Pakistani economy, such as healthcare, infrastructure, manufacturing and small- and medium-sized businesses. It will also offer courses on entrepreneurship.

But there are also loftier ambitions. While Mr Chandra says he is not naive enough to think that collaboration will in itself thaw relations between two warring countries, he does see it as a small step. “On the invisible side is an understanding that the two countries are working towards a better relationship and [that] business relationships are an important part of that.”

Governments on both sides of the border, says Mr Chandra, have been keen that the two schools get together. It fits into a broader strategy. Ministers have been talking up the possibility of closer economic ties. Last week the Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh and Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari (both pictured), met privately to shore up relations. Pakistan has said it will grant India most-favoured nation status by the end of the year, making it easier for the two countries to trade.

“The important thing is that ultimately we want the two countries to work together,” says Mr Chandra. “And our two schools can contribute to that agenda.” The nature of the countries’ relationship suggests that it will not be straightforward. But baby steps are better than no steps at all.

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Unlocking and Safeguarding Human Potential Across South Asia

Samina rose from humble beginnings in Karachi, Pakistan to become a proud woman business owner employing nine people. Her embroidery business helped pay for her kids’ school and made her the primary earner in her household. Then COVID hit, trampling on her sales and dreams. She now struggles to make ends meet.

The COVID-19 pandemic has rampaged nations like wildfire, eroding human capital, worsening income inequality, and reversing development gains.

South Asia has been hit particularly hard. Almost two-thirds of the new global extreme poor—those who became poor or could not escape poverty due to COVID-19—now live in South Asia. 

Routine health service delivery has been severely disrupted. In India, TB case notifications were down 84% and in Afghanistan, government health facilities have performed 23% fewer surgeries. The pandemic has also exposed the extreme vulnerability of informal workers, comprising 80% of the workforce of some South Asian countries.

South Asia could take years to recover from the pandemic as families cope with regaining and maintaining the momentum to ensure learning for their children, deal with unemployment, and face food insecurities —widening the gap in inequality, a key driver of poor human capital.

How do we best combat these grim statistics and build back better?

The Path Forward

The priority for countries going forward should be to pave the way for a green, inclusive, and resilient recovery. Part of building back from COVID-19, especially for South Asia, is to prepare for future shocks.  This calls for re-envisioning the delivery of essential services such as health, education, and social protection.

The World Bank is working with South Asian countries to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and build a long-term trajectory for human capital development beyond the pandemic.

We are helping countries work on pandemic preparedness and emergency response capacity. For example, the Sri Lanka COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project is helping the government respond to urgent health needs and provide emergency income support to the poor and vulnerable while helping strengthen the country’s health systems for pandemic preparedness. In Bhutan, the Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project strengthened preparedness, supported contact tracing and early warning systems, and funded the procurement of medical and testing supplies.

A key priority is ensuring that students, especially girls, can learn during the pandemic and return to schools when they reopen.  Inclusive access to primary and secondary education will help ensure today’s children can be tomorrow’s productive adults.

The EQRA project in Afghanistan is reaching girls in grades 1-9 for the first time via an alternate, community-based education system in areas where there were no physical schools before. In Bangladesh, long-term efforts with the Harmonized Stipend Program aim to improve access and retention in secondary education for girls, given the emerging evidence that girls are likely to be spending more time on household chores and childcare than education with COVID-19 restrictions in place.

In Nepal, investments in education for children and adolescents—especially girls—are taking center stage with the Unlocking Human Capital for a Prosperous Nepal Project. In Pakistan, the COVID-19 Response, Recovery, and Resilience in Education Project is supporting the nation’s recovery from the pandemic while establishing the technical and institutional capacity to build back a stronger and more resilient education system.

Informal workers have paid a very heavy price during the COVID-19 crisis, as they have no access to significant savings or benefits such as paid sick leave or social insurance. In India—where informal workers comprise 90 percent of its workforce—we are helping the nation fill important gaps in its social protection system and adapt to the needs of informal workers. This includes expanding the social protection programs from being mostly focused on rural areas to cover the whole country and ensuring portability of benefits for migrant workers.

In Maldives, we are helping create jobs. The COVID-19 Emergency Income Support Project is helping Maldivian women like Zahida, 30, who have either been laid off or whose income has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. “[The Income Support Allowance] helped me to pay my rent,” said Zahida. “Without the allowance, I [would] have to return back to my island.”

Amidst monumental challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic has given the world an opportunity to build back better.  To do this, we must recognize that people are the wealth of nations—the bedrock of human capital. Continued support and a special focus on human capital in IDA20 will be critical to contain the impacts of the pandemic and raise the level of ambition for human capital acceleration in the region.

South Asia is well on its way to turning adversity into opportunity and together, we can lay the foundation for a green, inclusive, and resilient recovery for all—a world where everyone can truly reach their full potential.

Author: Hartwig Schafer, Former Vice President, South Asia Region, World Bank

Courtesy: World Bank Blogs

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Prof Pio appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand of Merit (ONZM)

Professor Edwina Pio, Professor of Diversity and University Director of Diversity at Auckland University of Technology (AUT), has been appointed as an Officer of the New Zealand of Merit (ONZM) for services to ethnic communities.

“In today’s rapidly changing world with diverse demographics exponentially increasing, working with and for ethnic communities and the grace and talents they bring is crucially significant. I will continue to offer my best,” Prof Pio said.

Professor Edwina Pio is an internationally respected management expert in the field of diversity and is New Zealand’s first and only Professor of Diversity at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Business School, where she has impacted policies and practices since 2002.

She is Chair of the Academic Advisory Board of Te Kupenga Catholic Theological College. She was involved with the Human Rights Commission in New Zealand to develop guidelines for religion in the workplace.

She has published extensively on reconceptualising workplace diversity.

Professor Pio’s 2014 book ‘Work and Worship’ investigates the impact of minority religions in the New Zealand workplace and how business leaders welcome this growing community.

Her 2008 book ‘Sari’ and 2010 book ‘Longing and Belonging’ encompass the immigration experiences of Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American and African peoples in New Zealand.

Professor Pio has worked with the Ministry for Ethnic Communities and the New Zealand Police and has provided pro-bono services to migrants as a registered counsellor.

She is a member of the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the 2019 terrorist attack on Christchurch Mosques.

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Business Education and Engagement during COVID-19 and Beyond: Insights from Pakistan

This article offers a stakeholder perspective on business and management education and engagement in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Written by Dr. Jawad Syed (LUMS), the article is an extract from the AMDISA e-Book on COVID-19 related challenges facing management education in South Asia.

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Security and the Belt and Road: A Critical Analysis of Threats to Chinese Nationals and Businesses in Pakistan

Dr. Jawad Syed

In the wake of the recent tragic and regrettable terror attack against Chinese engineers in Pakistan, it may be useful to refer to the findings of my study on ‘Security and the Belt and Road: A Critical Analysis of Threats to Chinese Nationals and Businesses in Pakistan’ (published as a chapter in my book titled ‘China’s Belt and Road Initiative in a Global Context: Volume II: The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and its Implications for Business’, published by Palgrave in 2020).

In the recent attack on 14 July 2021, at least 13 people, including nine Chinese nationals, were killed in an explosion that sent a bus hurtling down a mountainside in Pakistan. The bus was carrying more than 30 people to a hydropower plant site in the remote upper Kohistan region. The Dasu hydropower project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – an investment and infrastructure plan that includes a network of roads, railways and pipelines between the two countries. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian urged Pakistan to punish those responsible and protect the safety of Chinese citizens in the country. He said: “China has asked Pakistan to thoroughly investigate the truth as soon as possible, capture the perpetrators, punish them severely, and effectively protect the safety of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Pakistan.”

It may be noted that the area where the recent attack took place has witnessed Takfiri Islamist attacks in the past such as the 2013 massacre of 10 foreign mountaineers in Nanga Parbat and the 2012 massacres of Shia Muslims in Chilas and Babusar.

In the aforementioned chapter, I draw a pattern of violence based on data of all notable attacks on Chinese nationals and China- or CPEC-related workers in Pakistan from 2001 to 2017. The analysis reveals that attacks by Takfiri Islamist (Khwarij) militant groups or suspects are the most serious, not only in terms of the number of attacks but also in terms of deaths, injuries and abductions. The study shows that 54% of all attacks on Chinese or CPEC-related projects have been carried out by Takfiri Islamist or Khawarij groups, 31% by Baloch separatists, and 15% by others or those unknown. Both of these militant groups pose a threat not only to the physical security of Chinese nationals and projects in Pakistan, but also to the very ideology of the nation-states of Pakistan and China, and the idea of the Belt and Road.

As a rising global power, China is discovering that its ascendancy to economic and political power is paved with great risks. This trend is reflected in recent attacks against Chinese citizens and commercial projects in South and Central Asia. While some of these attacks have roots in the Islamist and separatist insurgency in XUAR, others have roots in transnational Takfiri Islamist and regional nationalist or separatist ideologies.

In my chapter’s conclusion, I note that with varying intensity and frequency, incidents of violence against Chinese as well as Pakistani workers on CPEC-related projects continue to take place in Pakistan. Needless to say, CPEC’s success will be determined by investors’ confidence and their ability to successfully conduct their operations. If these attacks continue, the very scheme that is hoped to revolutionize Pakistan’s industrial and socioeconomic development may be at great risk. Since India and the USA are concerned about the increasing cooperation between China and Pakistan, they are likely to use these incidents as an excuse to criticize the very idea of the Belt and Road and try to hurt CPEC. For CPEC to move forward, militant activities by the TTP, LeJ, BLA and other violent groups cannot continue unchecked. Indeed, the much anticipated socioeconomic and strategic advantages inherent therein for trade across China, Pakistan and Central Asia cannot be reaped unless both forms of militancy are comprehensively addressed and eliminated.

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Business Schools in South Asia

This is an incomplete list of notable business schools in the region. Please write to to update this list.


Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM A)

Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta (IIM C) @ Kolkatta

Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIM B)

Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow (IIM L)

XLRI – Xavier Labour Research Institute, Jamshedpur

ISB – Indian School of Business, Hyderabad

FMS – Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi

Indian Institute of Management, Indore (IIM I)

Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIM K – Calicut)


Suleman Dawood School of Business, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan

Institute of Business Administration, Karachi

NUST Business School, Islamabad

The International Islamic University, Islamabad

Lahore School of Economics

Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, Karachi

Institute of Business Management, Karachi

University of Management and Technology

National College of Business administration and Economics, Lahore

Sukkur IBA

University of Central Punjab

Sri Lanka

Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIMI), University of Sri Jayewardenepura

National Institute of Business Management


Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka


Universal College, Kathmandu

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The following is an incomplete list of journals and periodicals related to South Asia:


South Asian Journal of Business Studies
Published by: Emerald

South Asian Journal of Business Studies (previously: South Asian Journal of Global Business Research) is the official journal of the South Asian Academy of Management. The mission of SAJBS is to advance theoretical and empirical knowledge of business issues facing multinational and local organisations of South Asia and South Asian diaspora.

SAJBS is committed to providing a unified platform to publish research that links scholarly communities in South Asia with the rest of the world. The journal is open to all empirical methods including qualitative, quantitative and mixed approaches. To be published in SAJGBR, a manuscript must use one or more South Asian countries as the context of its study.

SAJBs is available as part of an online subscription to the Emerald Regional Management Studies Subject Collection. For more information, please email

South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies

Published for: South Asian Studies Association of Australia
Published by: Routledge

Journal of South Asian Women Studies
Published for: The Asiatica Association

South Asia Economic Journal
Published by: Sage

South Asia Research
Published by: Sage

Journal of South Asian Development
Published by: Sage

Contemporary South Asia
The countries of South Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – are internally diverse and part of global flows of people, goods and ideas. Contemporary South Asia seeks to address the issues of the region by presenting research and analysis which is both cross-regional and multi-disciplinary.
Published by: Taylor & Francis

South Asian Studies
South Asian Studies is the internationally refereed journal of the British Association for South Asian Studies (BASAS). SAS has appeared annually since 1985, and incorporated the earlier Afghan Studies, and has established itself as the UK’s leading journal devoted to the visual and material cultures of South Asia, and the only major journal outside the subcontinent devoted entirely to this field.
Published by: BASAS

South Asian Journal of Management
Published by AMDISA, India.

South Asia Journal
Quarterly magazine of South Asian journalists and scholars

Country Specific Journals

Journal of Bangladesh Studies

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Ensuring Employee Engagement Amid a Pandemic

image22South Asian Academy of Management: Leadership Working Paper Series

Ensuring Employee Engagement Amid a Pandemic

Jawad Syed, PhD

In a fast-changing and uncertain situation such as the coronavirus pandemic, many leaders are struggling not only in terms of organizational operations but also in terms of continued engagement and well-being of their employees. As someone who studies organizational behavior and people management, I regularly tell students, business leaders and policymakers that employee engagement is the key for organizational survival during a crisis.

To cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, countries and governments are resorting to extreme preventive and precautionary measures such as social distancing, home confinement, self-quarantine, lockdown and curfew. As a result, organizations across the world are forced to cease their normal operations and instead are exploring and experimenting alternative ways of work to ensure not only individual productivity and organizational survival but also individual wellbeing and employee engagement.

In this essay, I explain how organizations can ensure the involvement and engagement of their employees during this pandemic. Based on insights from human resource management literature as well as current organizational approaches to coronavirus, I offer a list of fifteen steps that may be considered by business leaders to enable or sustain employee engagement.

Suggested citation: Syed, J. (2020). Ensuring Employee Engagement Amid a Pandemic. South Asian Academy of Management, Leadership Working Paper Series
LWP-202004-10, April 10. Available at:

The full working paper is freely available, subject to due citation and credits, and can be downloaded and read from the following link. Employee engagement SAAM

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Sri Lanka business leaders slash their pay 60-pct over Coronavirus

cbdSenior executives of top business groups in Sri Lanka have taken up to 60 percent salary cuts as Coronavirus killed sales and hit cash flows, but not state sector salary cuts have been announced though most are staying at home.

Sri Lanka’s publicly traded John Keells Holdings told employees in a memo that directors will take a 60 percent salary cut, and other executives will take a 35 percent.

Travel allowances will not be paid for the next three months.

Many businesses including export firms have announced that top executives will cut their pay.

Capital expenditure and recruitment has also been frozen at many businesses while workers are being laid off at others.

Small and large private businesses have no revenue to pay salaries or rents.
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Coronavirus lockdown could give online education a lasting boost in India

indiaLondon (CNN Business) Schools around the world have closed their doors because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving more than 1.5 billion children stuck at home. While it’s a great inconvenience for many, it has created a spike in demand for online learning.

Educational institutions are introducing online courses and some education technology startups are temporarily offering free classes to help offset the impact of school closures.

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