Stories about business

At least I can quote Shakespeare

I am majoring in English literature. The statement in itself does not sound too dramatic, so let me provide some context:  I am a Pakistani immigrant, living in New York, majoring in English literature.  Still, if someone is yet to see what I am trying to explain, let me clarify. Being an English major has led to several distinct issues that I now have to contend with. The first issue is majoring in English while attending a business school. Imagine a well-respected business school. Now, imagine someone who is in that business school and is more interested in Mary Shelley ...

Read Full Post

Video Blog: How to start a business with Rs10,000

This series honours entrepreneurs who use limited resources to survive in competitive markets. Their advice is simple, feasible  and most importantly practical! Their real life wisdom can help improve local economies and guide the common ...

Read Full Post

Political journalism vs Business journalism

Business journalism receives little attention in Pakistan. My observation is that most newspaper readers don’t read the business section the way they read the news, sports or opinion pages. Few newspaper readers have a favourite business writer. Of all the well-known journalists, op-ed writers (opinion and editorial), and analysts in our print media, hardly anyone specialises in business and the economy. Despite readers’ general apathy, the fact remains that business journalism matters more than political journalism. The op-ed pages of Pakistani newspapers are full of opinions and editorialisation. But you’d ask, “Isn’t that what op-ed is supposed to be:opinion and editorial?” Well, ...

Read Full Post

10 reasons why Karachi University is better than LUMS

A bit of university rivalry is always on display at any workplace, with those belonging to one institution drawn together in an alumni-brotherhood, whose sole purpose at times is to make fun of the inferiority of the the other institutions duly represented among their colleagues. Suffice to say, the old our-frat-party-was-cooler-than-theirs-ever-could-be always makes for idle chit chat at the water dispenser or smoke room. So, what happens when you try to pit one of the top business schools with the largest university in the country? 1.The real estate: Karachi University has a main campus which sprawls over 1,800 acres, a small town in ...

Read Full Post

Corporate memories after marriage

If I look back on the three years of my hardcore corporate life, I remember nothing – nothing but the fact that I was busy and going insane. I remember the times I would look up from my cubicle for some blood circulation and see faces staring at screens that stared back in anticipation — or the times I would look up and my big fat boss would be staring down at me, eyebrow raised with questions mounted on the royal arch. There were a few moments that provided a semblance of real life, like coming back home and sleeping, or ...

Read Full Post

Money 101: All women need a job

Happy Women’s Day everyone! I am amazed at how the Pakistani woman has evolved in the last 20 years. Away from the land of saas bahu TV shows, she is well aware of her rights and will not be intimidated by male co-workers. In fact, she is most likely to outperform them and get that promotion! Our mothers fought for options – so that we could choose between staying at home or going out to work. But I feel that it is compulsory for every woman to have some form of part-time, flexible hours work, even if it is not the 9 to ...

Read Full Post

How to run the economy (for dummies)

Anyone can run the economy. Ask any lawmaker and he’ll point out exactly what is wrong with the economy, what is needed to fix it and what conspiracy has prevented a solution from being implemented. But the economy is still alive and kicking and the country has not defaulted on its sovereign debt just yet. The following is a collection of ‘winning’ arguments that have been presented by legislators. It is important to note here that even monkeys have been known to run an economy quite efficiently. I’m sure we can do better. Here’s what they said: 1. Eat less sugar – A legislator ...

Read Full Post

Sex for sale: Where are we heading?

On a recent trip to a juice shop in Lahore, my husband and I noticed a huge black Cygnus car stop at the turn across the road. After closer observation, we saw two women, both around the age of 25, dressed in bright silk step into the jeep that careened off. Two other women were left behind. After some 20 minutes, they too stepped into a Camry and sped off. My husband and I looked towards each other simultaneously – we knew what we just saw but did not have the guts to admit what was going on so openly at ...

Read Full Post

TV commercials: Inform, remind and persuade!

While I was watching the news the other night, a newscaster said, “Stay tuned, we’ll be right back after a short commercial break,” making me immediately think, “Oh god! Not again.” The musical rollercoaster of advertisements began – a five minute ride that I seriously did not enjoy. What I learnt in my O-level commerce class was that there are three categories of advertisements – ‘reminder advertisement’ that reminds consumers of the products available in the market; ‘informative advertisement’ that keeps the consumer informed and ‘persuasive advertisement’ which persuades consumers through various techniques to buy the product. And these apply ...

Read Full Post

How to generate business excellence

I’d like to shed some light on a topic much debated in companies that have survived more than five years and would like to get out of the break-even trap. They wish to bring their capabilities at par with the corporations they once aspired to be, and the key is operational excellence. This is achieved by building operational capabilities, which in turn come about by undertaking structured programs for epic-systematic high performance. To develop a rewarding development program, four factors are crucial to a corporation’s goals: Aim to create value by developing a marketing road map that grants a systematic process for ...

Read Full Post