Rector Shahid Sb, Babur Sb, colleagues and the MBA class of 2021 – Askm and welcome to the Summer Immersion Program at SDSB!

By now you know that you’ve joined LUMS’ flagship MBA program which has its roots since the time LUMS was founded back in 1985.

By now you know, that this is the only internationally accredited program in Pakistan and is part of a select 5% of the business-accredited programs worldwide. This means the SDSB MBA has differentiated itself. It has differentiated itself as pioneers of the Harvard case-teaching method with our faculty producing the largest repository of business cases – over 800 in all of Asia.

SDSB also has a record of placing 100% of you within 6 months of your graduation. It also has a stellar reputation in the business community in producing remarkable leadership across Pakistan and overseas.

What you may not know is that LUMS is a private, not-for-profit institution that is not a school of privilege but rather a footprint of diversity from all corners of Pakistan. And meeting this challenge to support diversity is a commitment that differentiates LUMS from other universities.

Students are admitted solely on merit and financial support is provided to one out three students in need – last year Rs. 1 billion was disbursed through scholarships and financial aid. We thank our sponsors and donors and philanthropists like Syed Babar Ali Sb, and the Husain family, as well as the business community whose patronage provides unparalleled higher educational experience to all our students.

LUMS also distinguishes itself as a learning organization where research and teaching are geared to enable you to address challenges in Pakistan and beyond. This is why our motto of “no boundaries” applies especially to you, who come from diverse backgrounds and experiences. I encourage you to learn from colleagues in our sister schools of Humanities & Social Science, Science & Engineering, Law, and Education which are all at your doorstep.

Looking back at some of the most important decisions that shaped my career, they were in hindsight, quite risky.

For example, I developed expertise in two unrelated disciplines – finance and psychology, and over the years I learned to connect the dots and appreciate other points of view. This is an important lesson as societal challenges require connecting many dots that can only be derived from cross-disciplinary teams. These teams see patterns that individual experts cannot see. And what seemed impossible, in hindsight becomes the new normal.

While you will remember the challenges of analyzing a case study and getting through exams, or the stamina required to pull off the relentless MBA schedule, intellect and your ability to work hard aren’t going to be enough to tackle the challenges that you will inherit. This is not to diminish the importance of intellect and hard work as obviously all employers want to invest in people with these traits, but the truth is that these are fairly easy to find in the marketplace.

But consider for a moment other character-traits that can be equally impressive. Like trust, integrity, humility, selflessness, and developing others. These are commonly associated with successful leaders.

So, if you had to invest in colleagues from your cohort, what traits would you look for in the people you hire?

If you had to choose, would you look for smarts and drive or someone you can trust who has your back?

The good news is that these character traits can be developed, especially when you are young because these are qualities and habits that we can all improve but are much harder to change later on in life.

As the MBA market becomes more crowded, your calling is therefore not only a function of your intellect and personal ambition but for the types of qualities that make successful leaders – a clear moral compass, generosity to nurture friendships and a greater purpose.

Let me also add, that we, the administration, the staff and especially your teachers – we, would like to engage with each and every one of you throughout your journey here at LUMS – in the hallways, at weekly events, in the sports facilities, and of course at your convocation!

Welcome aboard on a journey of a lifetime.

Together inshallah, you will not only make your parents and families proud, you will fulfill the dreams that make us proud to be Pakistani. Thank you.