SADAF AURANGZAIB, Senior Correspondent
Sep 10 - 16, 2007

Azra Maqsood is an MBA from IBA. She joined Szabist from the time of its inception, firstly as a faculty member and later tried her hands on coordination etc. Her area of teaching is Management Sciences. Today she is enrolled in the PhD program Szabist, doing her research on the subject of leadership. Here are the answers of the few questions that I asked her.

PAGE: Tell us a bit about the education philosophy of Szabist?

AM: Imparting quality education through the most utilizing the most modern, updated and competitive educative resources; helping students realize and understand their potential, and preparing them to improvise and strengthen this potential through the best mentoring and counseling; and Developing future leadership for the corporate, public and the social sectors nationally and globally.

PAGE: How do you see the quality of graduates from Szabist to deal with the social, economical, democratic and political forces with the education that they equip themselves with in Szabist?

AM: Since the students who come to SZABIST are screened through a tough scrutiny of entrance tests, panel interviews and group discussions, we pick up around 45o (out of roughly 2,500 candidates who apply for admissions). This is the first stage of our quality check.

While at SZABIST, they undergo diversified training which is also beyond their regular field of study for instance, courses in foreign languages (Chinese, German and French); courses in Corporate Social Responsibility; courses in corporate governance, international human rights etc. Along with this, students are exposed to a variety of internationally acclaimed speakers through our Dubai and Islamabad campus video conferencing facilities.

PAGE: What sort of social enthusiasm you infuse in your students to work towards a better humane society?

AM: SZABIST is the only institute in Karachi to be associated with Rotaract (MidCity chapter). Being Rotaractarians, they have been encouraged to run various social activities, the latest being the relief camps for the Baluchistan Flood affectees. Students also work closely with social entrepreneurs, helping them develop business plans for their projects. The media science students have done plays, and submitted a documentary on special children to the Kara Film Festival (2006)

PAGE: How do you think that the education could be enhanced throughout Pakistan by using different tools, what could be the best ways of bringing more people towards getting higher education?

AM: By placing more emphasis on improving the standards of primary and tertiary education at the first go, and later building better competitive entry mechanisms to the professional colleges and universities;

Availability of facilities in lesser developed areas, specially encouraging more trained and professional faculty/instructors for these areas; availability of internet so that people can still work and study at their own pace; not only in terms of distance learning but real time on line lecturing (another milestone for SZABIST as being the initiator in on line learning in Pakistan)

PAGE: What changes education can bring to a common person's life?

AM: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach the man how to fish, and he can feed himself rest of his life" ---- probably the best analogy to define what changes education can bring to a common man. Education provided you with the "tools" that develop you not only as an educated person, but a more enlightened and responsible human being.

PAGE: How do you see the development and advancement of business education in Pakistan , do you think we are at par with any developed country around the world in imparting business education?

AM: In terms of curriculum, and teaching, I feel business schools have advanced well in Pakistan; and now with a 16 year, undergraduate degree, we compete internationally in terms of "years of schooling" also.

PAGE: What would be your message to the people of Pakistan about getting education?

AM: Being a muslim nation, I can simply quote from the Hadith of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH)"Go as far as China to seek education and knowledge". I don't think I can say anything beyond this.

PAGE: Any other thing that you would like to mention through this medium?

AM: "Believe in yourself, your abilities and your potential. Don't strive for anything less than excellence, and give everything your best shot. As long as you have faith and determination, nothing can stop you".