His address was titled ‘Why We Need to Change Business Education’. He noted that in over three decades of researching how management control practices and technology are inter-linked, digitalisation dwarfs any impact we have ever witnessed. Professor Bhimani spoke about wide-level changes including the emerging global economic axis shift to the East and South, demographic changes and the ongoing digital re-shaping of society pointing to the extensive implications these have for what managers must concern themselves with currently. He identified the significance for growth and progress that an inclusive labour force that is gender neutral and balanced can have. He stated that in Pakistan, around 25% of the employed are women but a very large proportion are engaged in agriculture as unskilled labourers. This is an industry that will see vast changes in the next decade displacing the workforce. Those without skills and women in particular, will be most at risk. Other industries in the manufacturing and service sectors will see ramifications that may lead to masses feeling economically dis-empowered. The solution, Professor Bhimani noted, is immediate recognition of the need for quality education and tooling individuals for future-readiness.
Professor Bhimani emphasized that it is essential for leading business schools like IBA Karachi to take on the onus of teaching modern business practices effectively. He stressed that business education will lag if business academics follow the mantra of chasing rankings via journal publications in areas dissociated from the country’s needs. He said that business schools have the capacity to mobilise social impact and recognise the youth dividend at its doorstep. He highlighted that student today represent a generation with different values and ambitions that traditional assumption grounded in conventional management control systems do not align with. Management education must recognise the context within which it delivers its learnings. Moreover, established educational institutes should seek to enhance the image of the country positively via a focus on avant garde instruction.