Byline: Swaibah Bilal
In a 2013 interview with The New York Times, Lazlo Block, senior Vice President of People Operations at Google discussed that the proportion of Google employees without any college education has steadily increased in recent years because of a greater recognition of the notion that the skills required to perform in the workplace are unrelated to those required to excel in college. Leading companies, by and large, reflect a shift in preference from traditional credentials in favor of practical skills. Success in today's economy depends far less on theoretical knowledge and increasingly more on practical ways that graduates apply their knowledge to real crises.
Nevertheless, the transition away from traditional credentials does not undermine theory. The academia is faced with a challenge to develop a pedagogy that combines theory and practice in a holistic model. Longstanding educational norms and institutional inertia stand as powerful headwinds.
In a country where bagging jobs at Unilever and Nestle is glorified, the potential of local entrepreneurship remains untapped. There is a fallow pool of ideas and intellect within Pakistan's business school fraternity that goes widely neglected. Solutions to market crises in Pakistan cannot come from textbook Arcadian models written for the West- indigenous models do not equip students to deal with challenges faced by the business sector in Pakistan.
This equates a void between the training provided and the specific challenges faced. Pakistan faces a lack of entrepreneurial culture due to which the private sector continues to collapse. It is essential for students who wish to start their own enterprises to have some professional proficiency within the industry in which they would like to start their business. Young graduates cannot afford to invest huge sums of capital into enterprises, without knowing the ins and outs of the sector first. Resultantly, they resort to jobs in an environment where the public sector continues to hire unemployed graduates in state owned enterprises that have long encumbered taxpayers for lack of competitiveness. If the business school model of Pakistan were to equip this unemployed sector with adequate, hands-on skills it could develop small enterprises to supply goods and services needed by low-income consumers who constitute a great proportion of the consumer sector.
Ideas to make the business education in Pakistan more inclusive of practice can...