Monday, November 19, 2018

Mr. Kimihide Ando, Senior Vice President and Chief Executive for Pakistan, Mitsubishi Corporation inspired the audience at the 9th Leaders at LUMS Session on November 15, 2018. Dr. Arshad Ahmad, Vice Chancellor LUMS, introduced the guest speaker with a succinct account of Mr. Ando’s accomplishments. The stage was then handed over to Mr. Adeel Hashmi, host of the talk, for formal commencement of the session.

Mr. Hashmi opened the discussion by asking Mr. Ando why he chose to spend so many years in Pakistan and what makes Pakistan an exciting work place to him. Mr. Ando briefed the audience about his first stint in the country from 1998-2003 when he was appointed as Senior Marketing Advisor for Engro Polymers and his coming back to Pakistan in 2010 as Country Head of Mitsubishi Corporation. He shared that despite many cultural differences between Pakistan and Japan, he finds many similarities between two countries and feels that there is a certain chemistry at work between the two nations. Mr. Ando said that he has been appointed in different Islamic countries including Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia but he has really enjoyed his experience in Pakistan.

Answering a very interesting question about the qualities that he looks for in a person while hiring, Mr. Ando stated, “The first thing I look in them is the spark in their eyes.” He elaborated that when someone looks straight into your eyes you get to know immediately how confident he or she is.

Expressing his views on CPEC, Mr. Ando straightaway said, “I have seen many people discussing CPEC as if they have any other option for Pakistan.” He explained that in order to develop infrastructure you need investment in the form of either debt or equity, and if you do not have equity then the only option is to raise debt. In current circumstances there is no country other than China which can provide Pakistan with the required amount of debt, terms and conditions of which can be discussed. So, in Mr. Ando’s opinion, the question is not whether Pakistan should go for CPEC or not, but the actual debatable point is that after building infrastructure can Pakistan generate sufficient profit from the asset required to pay off the debt. Mr. Ando concluded, “We should think about how Pakistan can be made more export oriented instead of discussing CPEC too much.”

Mr. Shahid Hussain, member of LUMS Management Committee, asked how Pakistani exports can be promoted. Mr. Ando explained that in order to boost exports, you need to focus on producing high quality and competitive products which the rest of the world tends to buy. He advised that in order to increase exports from Pakistan, Islamabad needs to devise a proper industrial policy which allows industry to grow and mature. He said that a country has to protect its local industry in order to make exports competitive.  

Sharing a few interesting words from Japanese language, Mr. Ando explained the philosophical concept behind the word “Ikigai.” He said that the word can be translated as the reason of being alive and can best be explained as a perfect combination of 4 things including what you like, what are you good at, what you can be paid for and what society requires. 

Mr. Ando’s message for the youth was very clear, “Don’t go for shortcuts.” He further explained that it’s okay to speed up but short cuts and bypassing will lead to devastating consequences. According to Mr. Ando students who are not strong enough to take on tough challenges of life tend to take shortcuts. 

The session ended with Syed Babar Ali, Pro Chancellor LUMS, handing over the commemorative shield to Mr. Ando. In his concluding remarks, Syed Babar Ali thanked Mr. Ando for sharing his valuable thoughts and experiences with the audience, acknowledged Mitsubishi Corporation’s contributions towards the WASEDA University Exchange Programme at LUMS and hoped that LUMS will continue to receive support from Mitsubishi Corporations in the future.