The Karachi School for Business and Leadership (KSBL) has entered into a strategic collaboration with the University of Cambridge with the first batch of 60 MBA students to start in September.
The agreement was announced by KSBL’s chairman, Hussain Dawood, at a seminar on leadership organised by the Marketing Association of Pakistan on Thursday.
Around 600 students applied from across Pakistan by the June 29 deadline. “I am very positive about the success of this venture otherwise I would not have left LUMS,” declared Rizwan Amin Sheikh, who became the associate dean after working as the director of the MBA programme at LUMS. He described the response from students as “overwhelming”.
Applicants are undergoing detailed interviews. Most of them are from Karachi’s institutions such as the Institute of Business Administration and SZABIST but KSBL has received applications from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) graduates as well.
“This collaboration ensures that world-class education, customised to Pakistan’s business environment is imparted from day one at our business school,” said chairman Dawood. “What we look for is ethical leadership and entrepreneurship so that they can contribute to the organisations and overall society.”
Dawood felt that Pakistan needs unwavering focus on formal and informal education. “This could become a solution in the long term,” he said, adding that though formal education develops expertise and skills, an informal education is also needed to for a student’s ethics, integrity and value system.
The faculty was recruited to Cambridge’s standard and with the university’s supervision. These members will be able to collaborate with Cambridge’s faculty on research as well. The curriculum has been designed by Cambridge and tailored to the Pakistani environment. Also, the school is expecting visiting faculty for a number of courses. All of this comes with a pretty price tag. The fee for the two-year degree is Rs1.32 million - Rs702,000 for the first year and then Rs620,000. However, senior associate dean Dawood N Ghaznavi said that they had adopted a need-blind admission policy; all admissions were given on merit regardless of financial status. “Whether you can afford the tuition fee or not, we do not really care,” he said. “What we are looking for was high quality students.”
Students can apply for financial aid or interest-free loans. Scholarships and merit-based assistantships to work on campus are also options.
“We have to be careful also because when you come to scholarships people think it’s free money,” explained associate dean Sheikh. Since the school aspires to produce entrepreneurs, the administration wants them to “earn” their MBA.
Sheikh’s perspective on why a group of prominent Pakistani business leaders have agreed to sponsor and establish a business school was unadorned. “It is definitely not the money that they want,” he said. “But which CEO would not like to have good professional graduates to work for him. And I think that is quite fair if you prepare them to excel in academics and then hire them to work for your organisations.”
Published in The Express Tribune, July 21st, 2012.
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