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Grenoble's Management Conulting Diploma Helps Pakistani Business Owner Expand Overseas

Interview with Muhammad Irfan Farid, graduate of GGSB’s* Diploma in Management Consulting Muhammad Irfan is Managing Director of CHIP Training & Consulting (Pv...

By  Mary Zaccai-Parrinello

Tue May 22 2012

This is an interview with Muhammad Irfan Farid, a graduate of GGSB’s* Diploma in Management Consulting. Muhammad Irfan is Managing Director of CHIP Training & Consulting (Pvt) Ltd. (CTC) in Islamabad-PAKISTAN.

You completed GGSB’s Diploma in Management Consulting, why had you decided to study this course in the first place, why at GGSB?

While I was working in training and consulting and aiming to start up my own consultancy firm, I looked for good reputed institutions where I could get training or study management consulting without compromising my work. It was in my budget range as well. To my knowledge, GGSB is the only reputed Business School where one can gain knowledge and skills required for management consulting in the shortest possible time and that too without compromising on one’s work.

How did the Diploma in Management Consulting help you in your career?

The most important thing that helped me was the practical exposure of most of the faculty. Their practical experiences and examples had helped me significantly and still do in the application of knowledge as a consultant and in decision making. Proposal writing, Business Planning skills, turnaround strategies, Consulting expertise and Creative Management (particularly ideas generation skills) are always helpful and I regularly apply them in my field of work.

Please tell me about the most interesting anecdote of your time in Grenoble?

Although there were a number of aspects of Grenoble which are permanently etched, my family also travelled with me there making it even more enriching. On one of those lovely winter days the whole class with some faculty and staff members went to a local restaurant and enjoyed fondue! This was my first go at a “fondue” but more than that it was the one-on-one socializing with the faculty and Business School staff that I really enjoyed. During the two weeks module in summer I had the chance to enjoy the richness of Grenoble’s lively culture. As a family too we have really good memories of that trip. Worth mentioning is also the interesting afternoon when we were invited by the Mayor of Grenoble and that too was a very good experience!

Please could you describe the consulting company you have since set up?

CHIP Training and Consulting (CTC) was established in 2007 in Islamabad. I requested one of my old colleagues to join me which he did. We started with small assignments and later on, more staff members were employed on need basis. Presently around 25 core staff members are working on full time basis, a network of experienced consultants (around 30-40) are on our pool who actively participate in training and consulting assignments undertaken by CTC. In addition around 1,000- staff members are working on full time basis within government health departments across Pakistan, employed by CTC and funded by UNCIEF under 3rd HR and financial management contract.

CTC provide services in five areas namely, strategy and business development, planning monitoring and evaluation, Human Resource and capacity building, research and knowledge management and financial management for non profit, public and private sector clients across Pakistan and Afghanistan.

You have just suggested that four of your staff members study towards the Diploma in Management Consulting in 2012, how do you think this program will help them? Why did you suggest they do this course?

There are very few opportunities (especially in Pakistan) where people can learn management consultancy and opt for this as a profession. I’ve been active alongside other like-minded consultants to strengthen the consulting sector in Pakistan and for this purpose efforts at the internal as well as external fronts are being made. Internally, I’ve been spending a considerable amount on my core staff capacity building including sending staff to national and international training opportunities. On the external front, CTC and a few other like-minded consulting companies (working in development/non-profit sector) are in the process of developing a “Development Consulting Association of Pakistan” with the aim to increase capacity and skills of new and existing people in development sector consulting. I personally believe my colleagues who are going to participate in GGSB’s Management Consulting Diploma can learn new competencies and get their skills polished at GGSB in a truly international and multicultural environment!

What are the advantages of studying at GGSB?

As per my understanding, such a Diploma is not offered by any other similar level Business School within Europe and the UK, this itself is quite a big advantage! Although my stay was quite short, I loved studying in a French Business School and experiencing French culture. The campus is superb and faculty and staff are very competent and cooperative.

What are your future professional aspirations?

I have two professional objectives that I intend to achieve in the next few years. I would like to take CTC to an international level by establishing offices internationally and accessing international opportunities for projects in other countries mainly in Asia and Africa. Staffs’ exposure from GGSB shall help me considerably in achieving this objective since they will better equipped to manage the Pakistan office and undertake international consulting assignments.

Secondly by combining my experience in the development and corporate sector (I have been running a hospitality business as well since 2003), I’ve established a company along with my other directors whereby we’ll manage a complete value chain of meat business by engaging farmers in rearing of animals, provision of technical support by the company, ensuring procurement of good animals at right prices, international standard slaughtering and processing of meat followed by retail and export sales. Activities like feasibility preparation, formation of farmer groups, market survey, identification of plant suppliers, land procurement etc. are almost done and we aim to make the company fully operational by mid of 2013.

*GGSB (Grenoble Graduate School of Business) is the international school of Grenoble Ecole de Management.