Delegation of IBA Students visited Malaysia
On 2nd January 2016, a group of IBA students accompanied by Mr. Jami Moiz departed to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A delegation of IBA students was officially visiting Malaysia for a study tour. The purpose of this tour was to introduce us to a starkly different and diverse culture and to provide us an opportunity to learn about businesses in the ASEAN countries.
We must say here that these study tours enhance our understanding of international markets and offer an opportunity to compare what we study in class with reality. Especially in terms of determining cross cultural differences. It is acknowledged with gratitude this during the 9 day trip, we visited the University of Malaya which is the oldest university in Malaysia and is currently ranked at 146 in the world according to the QS World University Rankings. IBA had entered into a MoU with the University of Malaya in 2012 by which IBA students can study there on exchange semesters. At the University of Malaya, we were warmly received by Dr. Ruhana Isa, the Dean of the Faculty of Business and Accountancy. She gave a presentation focusing on the Graduate programs in her faculty and encouraged us to apply in it for our further studies. We also discussed the differences between higher studies in Pakistan and Malaysia and how they can apply each other's practices at their respective institutions. The Dean reminisced about her last visit to IBA and mentioned that she was impressed with the infrastructure and facilities at IBA. She also praised the exchange students from IBA and considered the possibility of sending the students of UoM to IBA on the exchange program.
After the presentation, refreshments were served that included local delicacies for us to try. After the break, Ms. Nor Farhana Abu Bakar, a faculty member of Center for Management Enhancement, gave an engaging lecture on the Political and Economic history of Malaysia and its future implications. All of us paid rapt attention as she went on to describe the transformation that had taken place in Malaysia during the past 50 years and the problems facing it currently. We then went on to discuss the political and economic landscape in Pakistan and international policies affecting our country. Impressed with her lecture, we students invited her to visit IBA for a lecture so that the students back home could benefit from her vast knowledge base as she had given us a very clear perspective on the drivers of growth for the Malaysian economy. Worth mentioning here is the fact that a number of notable Pakistani experts have helped the Malaysian economy and judiciary. Dr Mahboob Ul Haque the architect of five-year development plans in Pakistan advised Dr Mahathir. Justice AR Cornelius was part of the three Judges team that drafted the constitution of Malaysia.
For our second corporate visit, we went to the F&N dairy factory in Malaysia. F&N is the largest dairy producer in Malaysia and is also in the beverages industry with their soft drink '100plus' being the highest selling beverage in Malaysia, surpassing Coaca Cola and Pepsi in that market. The company is located in the Halal food industrial area in Kuala Lumpur and includes its office complex along with the factory. We were greeted by Alice Chan who is the Assistant Plant Manager and given a thorough tour of the factory where she and the Senior Plant Manager explained all the processes in great detail answering our questions diligently.
After the factory visit, we met the Marketing Head at F&N, Jauhar Munir Shaikh, a Pakistani expatriate graduate of Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He gave us a detailed presentation on the Malaysian consumer market and the strategies F&N uses to position its products. We learned how these strategies could be applied in Pakistan since the Malaysian dairy sector is more developed with a larger product portfolio. Amongst a number if insights shared by him, interesting to note was that sixty percent of Malaysian households consume at least one daily meal outside their homes. Thus creating huge opportunities for eateries. A traditional Malay lunch was served after the presentation that included delicious local savouries and sweets and we had light hearted conversations about current affairs with our hosts. All of us were given samples of their products at the end of our visit and we left with pleasant memories of the company and its people.
We also visited the twin cities of Cyberjaya and Putrajaya. Cyberjaya is a custom built silicon valley developed to cater to the growing IT industry in Malaysia. Putrajaya is the administrative hub of Malaysia and house all the ministries and government offices.
Apart from corporate visits we also toured the country and enjoyed its scenic beauty. During our visit to Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi, we toured historical landmarks like KL twin towers, Bukit Bendara's Penang hills, Menara tower, Putrajaya's famous mosques and bridges, the independence square, skybridge and Tugu Negara, the national monument. These places enlightened us about the rich history and architecture of Malaysia showing the political struggles over the years followed by rapid economic progress of this country especially after 1990s. It was a great learning experience as it gave insights about improving living standards of a developing nation.
The cultural trip included visits to Batu Caves and several other Chinese Buddhist and Indian temples showing how the strategic location of Malaysia on the sea-lane exposes it to foreign cultures. The trip also included a sight-seeing tour of the three cities with places like Genting Highlands, Penang Botanic Gardens, Butterfly Park and Bird Park. The beauty of Malaysia was truly breath-taking and the more we saw lush-green forests, the more we admired Mother Nature.
To understand how the tourism industry has developed, on our sixth day we took a ferry ride to Langkawi Island which is a great tourist attraction for its white-sand beaches and duty-free island. It was a three-hour ferry ride from Penang and was a place filled with peace and serenity. The way of life at Langkawi Island was quite simple as reflected by their infrastructure, giving us insights to the rural Malay life. The place had a few excellent sea-food restaurants and amazing water-sports activities at the beach which is not only a source of entertainment for tourists but also a source of income for the local people.
At the end of this amazing journey, we would like to thank Dr Ishrat Husain for supporting these learning opportunities and Dr Amber Gul Rashid and the QEC Department and Mr. Jami Moiz and the IBA Marketing Club for arranging this trip and also Mr Rasheed Malik who was our tour guide throughout the trip and who entertained us with interesting anecdotes about Malaysia.