INTERVIEW: PROF. ABDUL RAHMAN ZAKI, Chairman Karachi University Business School

Aug 04 - 10, 2008

Prof. Abdul Rahman Zaki, on the back of a 20-year teaching experience, is playing a significant role in the field of business education by producing quality graduates to cater to the growing demand for business managers in the corporate sector of the country.

Prof. Zaki, at present serving the cause of education as the Chairman of Karachi University Business School, also remained associated with Balochistan University for six years. Elaborating the importance of business education in the face of global challenges in an interview with Pakistan & Gulf Economist (PAGE) he outlined the importance of business education in 21st century.

The globalization has transformed the entire world into a village where commercial organizations are bound to re-structure and re-engineer their organization structures by improving their processes if they want to survive and grow in these competitive global markets.

PAGE: At present, the concept of Business Administration is much popular not only in the corporate sector but amongst the students as well as the business schools operating in the country. In order to cater to the market needs what kind of courses being offered to students by Karachi University Business School?

Prof. ZAKI: We are living in 21st century, era of competitiveness in quality, cost and delivery of goods/services in time for customers' satisfaction. The WTO era is also known as Technology Era. Business is becoming cost effective due to change of technology. There was a saying in 20th century, "You have to pay high price if we want high quality", but in 21st century it is completely changed, highest quality is possible in cheapest price because of change of technology. Karachi University Business School (KUBS) is teaching about tools & techniques of Business Management to the students how to increase productivity and become cost effective and highly profiting by controlling effectively & efficiently Marketing, Finance / Accounting, Production / Operations Procurement and Supply Chain, Human Resource, Quality Control function of organization. All business subjects are taught to our students by highly foreign qualified and corporate and industrial experienced faculty members. The graduating students of KUBS are in high demand in this business world because of current practicing knowledge transferred by their teachers.

PAGE: Information Technology has assumed a leading role in the socio-economic growth around the civilized world. What opportunities your department is offering in IT courses in combination with business administration?

Prof. ZAKI: Yes, KUBS has a number of IT courses combined with various courses in Business Management. In fact, the Information Technology has become an integral and important component of business. Therefore, our students must have knowledge of its application in improving business performance efficiency through networking of software, hardware and telecom systems.

PAGE: Some of the Business Schools take pride that the corporate sector offers jobs to their students while they are still about to complete their courses. What is the situation in Karachi University Business School regarding the market response to the fresh graduates?

Prof. ZAKI: This is true; our students are also in high demand in corporate sector. KUBS is one of the top Business Schools competing IBA, LUMS and others. We are proud to say that within a short span of time students of KUBS which started in 1999 are preferred in jobs along with two very established business institutions mentioned here.

PAGE: Would you like to share about faculty strength of Karachi University Business School?

Prof. Zaki: We have a number of Ph. D's, few are permanent and few are on visiting faculty panel. Business schools need to have faculties with corporate / industry experiences for teaching and letting students to know changes & challenges taking place in industry which are not in the books being taught. It is also supported by industrial visits and Training / Internship where they have exposures and interaction with prospective employers.

PAGE: Would you like to tell us briefly about the policy and criteria for admission in Karachi University Business School and are you happy with the prevailing procedure for admission?

Prof. Zaki: The policy criteria for admission are strictly followed and procedures are reviewed for betterment as and when it is felt. The candidate is required to appear for an entrance test and interview with 60% weightage and 40% academic record.

PAGE: It is generally said that cost of education especially of professional education has gone beyond the reach of average income group in the society. The cost of education deprives a large number of deserving and needy students of their fundamental right to access to education. What steps you would suggest to enhance the skilled man power which is a pre-requisite for economic growth of any society?

Prof. Zaki: It is a fact that the cost of professional education especially of business administration is very high. An important factor is high payment to expert and qualified teachers whose supply is short and demand is much more. The cost of education in our department is lowest among all known Business Institutions. We cater lower middle and middle class students who are admitted purely on merit basis in real sense. The cost must be reduced in order to provide education to as many students as possible. We provide quality education in a disciplined environment.

More vocational and Technical Institutes should be established not only by the government but also private organizations to increase the number of skilled workforce that not only we need in our country but also they are in demand in Middle East and Far East countries.

PAGE: Would you like to highlight future plans of your Business School especially for additional courses in a view to respond to the market demand?

Prof. Zaki: At present KUBS is temporarily housed in Commerce Building, therefore, much expansion is not possible. We are thankful to our Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Pirzada Qasim Raza because of his keen interest and orders a separate building is under construction. One important addition to our KUBS last year was a starting of MBA (Banking & Finance) program in collaboration with Institute of Bankers Pakistan. As soon as our building is ready within a year or so we have plans to add the departments of Marketing Communication and Advertising, Marketing Technology and Logistic Management, Marketing Chain Management, Management Information and Technology etc. These are some of the courses which will appropriately respond to market demand.

Market needs and demands are changing very fast with change of Technology, so different new courses are under study to include in our curriculum of BBA / MBA / EMBA such as Total Quality Management, Environmental Management, Industrial Management, Technology Management, Health Care and Hospital Management, Hotel Entertainment Management etc.

There are certain courses which are industry specific such as Pharmaceutical Marketing Pharmaceutical Production, Textile Marketing, and Brand Management etc. There are certain short courses and certificate courses on different industrial functional areas to meet the growing demand of industries. We are in touch with the industries experts for identification of courses for future need to meet the global challenges.

WTO is an era of cost effectiveness and cutting and reducing wastages. Quality Assurance and Environmental Compliances are becoming increasing in demands for our global trade / business.

MBA students must have the knowledge of the importance of Quality Management and Environmental Management in business in addition to all industrial functional areas to be competent to run an industry in global world. For example, most of the top USA Business Universities / Schools are incorporating environmental Management Course in their core curriculum to make their MBA students more effective for the business world.