"TRYING TO FURTHER IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF BUSINESS EDUCATION", TALIB KARIM

Excerpts from an interview with Director Academics, College of Business Management

By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Aug 13 - 19, 2001

In a very short span of five years, College of Business Management (CBM) has attained a position among the business schools in Pakistan. It is not an expression but a reality evident from the number of CBM graduates working in highly reputed local and foreign companies in Pakistan, graduates joining overseas universities for post graduate work and the award given by the Employers Federation of Pakistan in recognition of CBM's contribution to the development of human resources in Pakistan.

Research is top priority at CBM. The full fledged research programme consist of : 1) every full time faculty member has a contractual obligation to complete one major research study during a year and 2) every optional course, in MBA programme, include a research component. CBM also publishes business and policy analysis journal, Pakistan Business Review. Strong emphasis on research and establishment of Business Support Centre is based on its mission providing business leadership of the future. This is based on the conviction that Pakistan's progress depends crucially upon the contribution of professional managers by making 'Made in Pakistan' products competitive in the global markets and developing its immense domestic resource base.

One may say that the courses offered by CBM are not substantively different from the courses taught at other business schools. It is also a fact that some of the courses are taught only at CBM. Its MBA-Health Services Administration programme is unique in Pakistan. The programme is designed to develop technically competent and socially sensitive managers for leadership roles in hospital, health system management, pharmaceutical industry and population programme. In this programme ten Business Core courses and four Business Electives provide a sound management base as well as specialization. The business base is complemented by four Core Health Management courses and six Health Electives. A supervised Research project of six credit hours provides students an opportunity to apply curricular concepts and skills to problems in organizational setting.

CBM has extensive links with North American universities. Professors from Arizona and Brock universities have served as chief academic officers at CBM. Educators from the USA have been invited to conduct courses and seminars in the areas of marketing, MIS and human resource management.

CBM has already moved to its own campus and, at present, its enrollment is over 900 students in wide range of graduate and post graduate programmes. The programmes added recently are: Masters in Computer Science (MCS), MBA in Marketing Communication and MBA in Finance and MIS. We have ready launched the Centre for Economic and Social Development (an intermediate college) to improve the quality of students seeking admission at CBM for graduate studies. This was based on our experience that students coming from different colleges lack enough background and knowledge to pursue studies in Business Management and IT.

Yet another addition is the establishment of a Business Support Centre to provide services to small and medium enterprises and government agencies in Sindh province. The services being offered by the Centre include: providing accountancy, financial, marketing and information management and consultancy services. The Centre also undertakes research and policy analysis, organizes short term tailor-made training programmes and conducts widely popular testing services. The Centre has organized many seminars and workshops. The recently provided services include: consultancy service to Doha Bank on assets/liabilities management, recruitment test of approximately 3,500 candidates for the posts of Assistant Divisional Engineers in PTCL and recruitment test for approximately 50,000 candidates for primary school teachers for Education Department, Government of Sindh.

In my personal capacity, and on behalf of Foundation for Higher Education endorse the proposal for accreditation of business schools in Pakistan. I strongly believe that the students need the best possible education to make Pakistan a prosperous country. In my views any one who wishes to establish an educational institution must meet the basic criteria. These include: quality and number of permanent faculty members, students faculty ratio, library and research material, computer terminals and conducive environment for learning. Students definitely need better environment to concentrate on their studies. Quality of outgoing graduates is directly dependent on the above mentioned parameters.