KSBL: Leading Education – Campus Talks, Synergyzer

Synergyzer: Tell us about KSBL.

Professor Dawood Ghaznavi: Around 2008, several well-known business and corporate leaders like Mr. Arif Habib, Mr. Muhammad Ali Tabba, Mr. Asad Umar etc. recognized that Karachi, the business and commercial hub of Pakistan, needed a world-class business school equipped with the necessary tools and standards of educational excellence for imparting integral skills and knowledge to Pakistani students so that they are able to tackle various economics and corporate volatilities of the developing world.Hence, they decided to pool in resources and formed the Karachi Education Initiative (KEI) as a non-profit company to cater to this unique perspective that led to the formation of the Karachi School for Business & Leadership (KSBL). What sets us apart from other universities is our strategic alliance with the Judge Business School of Cambridge University, an 800 year old university and one of the leading centers of learning.

The university will be assisting us in a variety of avenuesProfessor Dawood Ghaznavi: Around 2008, several well-known business and corporate leaders like Mr. Arif Habib, Mr. Muhammad Ali Tabba, Mr. Asad Umar etc. recognized that Karachi, the business and commercial hub of Pakistan, needed a world-class business school equipped with the necessary tools and standards of educational excellence for imparting integral skills and knowledge to Pakistani students so that they are able to tackle various economics and corporate volatilities of the developing world.Hence, they decided to pool in resources and formed the Karachi Education Initiative (KEI) as a non-profit company to cater to this unique perspective that led to the formation of the Karachi School for Business & Leadership (KSBL). What sets us apart from other universities is our strategic alliance with the Judge Business School of Cambridge University, an 800 year old university and one of the leading centers of learning. The university will be assisting us in a variety of avenues

Synergyzer: How is KSBL going to be different versus the rest of the business school in Pakistan?

Prof. Ghaznavi: I would prefer not to compare KSBL to other business schools in the country, but we are intent on changing the very face of the nation by engendering individuals who become learned on internationalstandards of education, as well as domestic case studies and examples, during the course of their 2 year MBA program. We plan to create such professionals by hiring teachers who have acquired PhD’s from recognized and reputed institutions, making sure that our admissions process is a rigorous one, based solely on merit and a curriculum based on Cambridge University’s global thinking and our local context. Furthermore, we will emphasize on research to focus on issues being faced by the Pakistani economic industry as a whole.

Also, I find it necessary to emphasize here that the word ‘Leadership’, was added to the school’s title since our board identified that it is important to inculcate leadership traits in students through emphasizing on ethical behavior, entrepreneurial skills, and innovative thinking, which need to be consistent qualities in professionals of our country.

Synergyzer: Can you shed light on the gaps that are present in Pakistan’s education system and business school? How is KSBL planning to overcome those?

Prof. Ghaznavi: Having taught in various other institutes of the country, I have found one basic flaw in the educational curriculum; there isn’t enough information in the chalked out syllabus on the Pakistani industry or the problems that the local markets face. Instead we rely on importing second hand knowledge for our MBAs on issues faced by European or American markets. As I mentioned earlier, we aim to carry out research on local problems, provide domestic examples and work on improving the country instead of producing a generic breed of businessmen.

Synergyzer: What, in your opinion, are the reasons due to which other business schools focus more towards imparting international case studies and examples, and lack information on handling local scenarios?

Prof. Ghaznavi: A straight forward reason is ‘past dependency’. If you start something with a particular approach, you will proceed in a certain direction, and if say, 15-20 years later, you decide to change the route it will be almost impossible to bring about that change. Many business schools that were started in Pakistan followed philosophies of their founders and chose to churn out students taught only from books. Now, if you spend all your efforts on teaching basics, then students won’t have any incentive for conducting research at ground level. We, on the other hand, want to initiate in manner that allows us to concentrate more on research, hence making sure that we don’t end up depending on redundant educational practices of the past.

Synergyzer: What screening procedure are you going to employ for student intakes?What are you going to ensure through that procedure?

Prof. Ghaznavi: The screening process is relatively simple. We shall gauge the academic standing of prospective students based on their GPA; and scores in GMAT or GRE, which are internationally recognized graduate level testing exams, or GAT which is recognized by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HECP). Also, we shall be evaluating the person based on their ethics, inventiveness and energy to make sure that they are geared up for the rigorous 2 years that we will be putting them through.

Synergyzer: What are the programs of study that you plan to introduce?Why these?

Prof. Ghaznavi: The programs that we are introducing mainly revolve around education at the graduate level or higher. Having started in May 2010, we initiated short two to three day programs for senior management delivered by faculty from the Cambridge University. Our MBA program will be starting from September 2012 and we envision that we will begin the professional MBA program by 2014.

Synergyzer:Please provide details on your executive development programs.

Prof. Ghaznavi: We have 2 types of executive development programs; open enrollment programs, where any individual having the required academic qualification and number of years of experience may enroll, and customized programs especially attuned to what companies want us to develop.

Each program is tailored exclusively to the rung of the corporate ladder that we are targeting. For the upper most in which various CEOs, CFOs, and other executives fall, we include courses regarding innovation, strategy and people management. For people at the middle level, we included courses pertaining to marketing concepts, HR and finance, including operations in various capital markets of the world. Soon, we will be starting our junior level program with courses being exclusively tailored to their needs, also.

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