As an entrepreneur and industrialist, Syed Babar Ali envisioned and set up Packages Limited (Pakistan’s largest paper & board mill), Milkpak Limited–now Nestlé Pakistan Limited (the largest food processing company in Pakistan); Tetra Pak Pakistan Limited, IGI Insurance Company Limited, Tri-Pack Films Limited, and IGI Investment Bank.
He believes in the joint venture philosophy and most of his businesses are joint ventures with major multinationals. As an educationist, he led the establishment of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in 1985 of which he is the first Pro-Chancellor. LUMS is Pakistan’s premier management education institution.
In 1992, he founded the Ali Institute of Education for the training of primary and secondary school teachers. He is a member of the Board of the following important educational institutions of Lahore: Aitchison College, Kinnaird College, and Lahore School of Economics.