In 1955 in a non-descript corner within the vast expanses of the University of Karachi, a small business school was set up. The idea was to

establish an institute based on the US MBA model – a model patronized and supported by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Given the acute dearth of qualified and trained business managers in Karachi, it made sense to establish a facility that could cater to the market requirements. Aptly named the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), the school went about successfully training executives and managers who were looking to breathe new life into their careers.

Fast forward six decades and you will find that today’s IBA -- that is going on to celebrate its sixtieth birthday next year – is a force to reckon with. From starting out as a business school that trained managers and business professionals to transforming into a full-fledged university providing holistic education in the fields of finance, accounting, computing and social sciences and liberal arts apart from business, IBA has finally turned into a league of its own.

Initially housed on 50 acres of land inside the premises of Karachi University – and later in the heart of Karachi’s business district, Saddar – IBA’s state-of-the-art campuses offer cutting edge education geared towards a 360-degree development of all its students. 

Under the visionary leadership of its Dean Dr Ishrat Husain – the former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) – IBA has indeed come a full circle. Today, the institute has to its credit the highest number of PhDs employed as faculty, programmes that cover just about everything – from the practicalities involved in running and marketing a business to new-age theories pertaining to the social constructs that shape the world – and community outreach initiatives that are bringing a real, meaningful change within varied socio-economic groups in Pakistan.

Second to none

IBA’s greatest strength perhaps is its ability to hold itself to the benchmarks it has set for itself. The institute has certainly upped the ante in higher education given that it has 49 PhDs serving as full time faculty and 15 PhDs forming part of the visiting and adjunct faculty – the highest among all Pakistani institutes of higher learning in business related studies. Each faculty member brings with himself/herself expertise in his/her respective field teaching everything from management to social sciences, media studies, ethics, management and marketing courses, and even foreign languages. A significant chunk of the faculty is employed in leadership capacities in different organisations, thus bringing to the fore a pool of knowledge that is as unique as it is useful.

Of course, faculty members are not just limited to teaching inside the classroom – they also engage in research and writing papers, advising companies and organising training courses and visits both within the country and abroad for the industry as well as the public sector.  In fact, IBA encourages its faculty to constantly learn and grow. It is for this reason that currently, several members of the faculty from IBA are studying abroad to get a PhD thanks to IBA’s Overseas PhD scheme under which the institute runs its Faculty Development Program (FDP). The goal here is simple – to encourage and support talented individuals who are interested in pursuing higher studies abroad so that they can make a career in academics and research. Scholarships are also provided to the faculty under this programme ranging from Marketing, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Economics, Strategy, Organisational Behaviour, Accounting and Statistics. 

Much like its students, IBA has set a standard of excellence for its teaching staff – a standard that the faculty helps maintain.

 

More than just classroom education

In today’s information societies, knowledge is a major driver of economic growth and development. Higher education is the main source or raw material of a knowledge-based economy. The production, dissemination and absorption of higher education create differential patterns of growth and development in any society. The need for highly trained workers is in demand, especially in the framework of globalisation that is encroaching upon every sphere of our lives; the graduate students trained at the institutions of higher learning inevitably have access to high-paying jobs.

Having said that, in a country like Pakistan, where students often miss out on opportunities simply because they don’t know any better, there is a need for focused and individual development that equips students to take challenges head-on.  It is in such a scenario that IBA has established community outreach initiatives that support students in more ways than one. Consider, for instance, the IBA Entrepreneurial Development Program (EDP) which inducts students from rural Sindh, helping them develop the necessary skills to start their own businesses. A source of great personal satisfaction and joy for IBA’s patrons including its faculty and board members, the programme has been lauded by the Government of Sindh as being one of its kind. In the same vein, the fully-funded National Talent Hunt Program (NTHP) and the Sindh Talent Hunt Program (STHP) inducts meritorious-cum-needy students, and grooms and helps them meet the entry requirements of IBA Karachi and other universities.  The latter is an eight-week intensive, merit-cum-need-based orientation program, designed to train students mainly in the areas of English, Mathematics and Presentation and Interviewing skills. Upon successful completion of the Programme, trainees appear in the IBA's aptitude test for BBA/BS degree programmes. Once enrolled in IBA, students are provided full scholarship for the entire duration (four years) of the concerned programme. The scholarship comprises boarding and lodging, tuition and other fees charged by the IBA, and stipend. Just last year, almost 46% of the inducted students managed to qualify for various undergraduate programmes offered at IBA Karachi – a remarkable achievement that speaks volumes about the success of such initiatives. 

Apart from this, the learning curve for students enrolled in IBA is steep. Any IBA student today will tell you their education isn’t just based on textbooks and endless assignments. From extracurricular activities to rubbing shoulders with local and foreign dignitaries, students at IBA experience the real world much before they graduate. It is for this reason that students are required to learn a foreign language for two years at the IBA. Some of the languages include Chinese, Arabic and French and plans are in the offing to introduce Spanish in the near future.

In addition, IBA’s student societies hone their skills, thus enabling them to take part in a range of activities from volunteering to charity work to athletic events to organizing conferences on various issues. Currently there are 27 student societies/clubs operating in IBA that inculcate positive character traits like team work, involvement and responsibility among students.

Finally, IBA students are also required to complete a mandatory six-week corporate internship and a six-week Responsible Citizen Internship Programme (RCI), which exposes them to the challenges of the social sector. Particularly noteworthy is RCI since it enables students to gain hands-on experience with respect to community service. This exposure builds a deep sense of responsibility and awareness pertaining to the needs of the under-privileged sections of the society. Students intern for six (and sometimes eight) weeks in an institution that has been deemed suitable for community service by IBA. This internship is not a substitute for regular work internship but can be completed at any time during the four year period.

 

A brave new world

Over the years, IBA has consistently worked towards establishing itself as a world-class university of international repute. Today, it stands proud and tall among many of the prestigious universities around the world and candidates from both within and outside Pakistan compete against one another to acquire admission here. With a huge expatriate population settled in the Middle East and Far East, many parents send their children to Pakistan to study at IBA because the quality of education here is what one would expect at any foreign university. The institute provides a high level of excellence and fosters a deeper understanding of the world – trademarks of any good international university. Thus, IBA is not just inward looking; it is equally devoted to the needs of candidates outside of Pakistan as well. It delivers on its promise of providing complete, well-rounded education that no other institute within the country can claim to do. 

 

Never say never

While some universities may deny students an education because they can’t afford it, IBA does not discourage students from getting a degree because of financial constraints. If you have the grades and the aptitude, there is a place for you at IBA. There is only one catch: students must clear and acquire the minimum cut-off score on the IBA entrance test. If a student meets the test score requirement, he/she is provided with financial support in the form of scholarships, stipends and/or student loans based on what they need. 

In addition, students take part in a broad variety of activities ranging from volunteering for charity work and participating in athletic events to organis

ing conferences on a variety of issues. This inculcates a spirit of involvement because teamwork, leadership and being a responsible citizen are the foundations of the IBA experience.

 

A campus like no other

Both the city and university campuses are state-of-the art and second to none. The university campus is a large complex of buildings and sprawling gardens, making it an ideal study environment.  With world-class facilities such as libraries, auditoriums, seminar and conference rooms, gymnasiums, cafeterias, prayer areas, faculty and student lounges and football and cricket grounds – generously funded by the institute’s various patrons and alumni -- the IBA campus provides an enriching well-rounded learning experience to the student. 

A quick survey of the IBA grounds reveal that the institute really believes in – and follows through on – providing the very best for its students. There is a bank for quick deposits and withdrawals, an amphitheater that plays host to anything from a concert to a dramatic performance, table tennis and squash courts, lounges where one can take a breather when work becomes overwhelming, and centres for writing and journalism for aspiring writers who are seeking inspiration and guidance. 

It doesn’t end here – two separate hostels for male and female out-of-town students are also found within the main campus (university campus).  The facilities provide a comfortable living environment and high quality accommodation to full-time students coming to study at the IBA from outside of Karachi.  The hostel premises, spread over an area of 1.75 acres are a short walk from the main Campus.

 The hostels provide both single and shared occupancy accommodation for as many as 350students. They feature a gymnasium, an indoor game room with table tennis and other games; three TV lounges equipped with large screen televisions and satellite decoders, high-speed broadband Internet, parking space, laundry, prayer area, computer lab, tuck shop and international-standard dining and kitchen facilities. Students also have access to IBA’s transport facilities to commute between the City Campus and the hostel.

At the end of the day, learning is about more than extracting information from books and professors. It is about nurturing your mind and soul and the IBA campuses provide an ideal environment for just that.

 

Seals of approval

Unlike other Pakistani universities, IBA holds the distinction of being the top seven business schools in South Asia – recognition awarded to the institute in 2011 by the South Asian Quality Assurance System (SAQS), based in Hyderabad, India. Apart from this, IBA is also a member of the European Foundation for Management Development and a CFA University Partner. In fact, IBA is the first university in Pakistan that was granted this status by the CFA Institute. 

Alongside this, IBA has also raised entry standards for students and faculty in line with best international practices in universities around the world. The institute routinely conducts an academic audit of the faculty, the results of which are also shared with individual faculty members. This provides valuable feedback to teachers who can then work towards improving their methods of instruction as well as their mentoring and coaching techniques. 

In line with these stringent quality control measures, IBA also publishes self-appraisal reports for all programmes that are then examined by external peers under HEC guidelines. 

 

IBA: Your claim to fame

From CEOs to entrepreneurs to prime ministers and even presidents, IBA’s alumni have done it all. They hold top management positions, run countries and provide viable solutions to some of Pakistan’s toughest economic challenges because IBA has honed their abilities and given them the vision to think out of the box. A typical IBA graduate is not afraid to innovate; he/she will rise up to the occasion and reinvent the wheel if need be.  It is for this reason that IBA remains the number one choice for young men and women who are looking to launch and establish successful careers in various fields.

 

Alumni of note

•Mamnoon Hussain – President of Pakistan 

•Shaukat Aziz – Former Prime Minister of Pakistan

•Irfanullah Khan Marwat – Former Minister of Education, Government of Sindh

•Ahmed Kapadia – Founder and Managing Director, Synergy Group

•Amir Adnan – Fashion Designer

•Almas G. Bana – Habib Education Trust

•Faisal Sabzwari – Country Head, P&G Pakistan

•Shahla Aly – Director, Global Customer Experience, Google for Work

•Huma Adnan – Fashion Designer

•Asad Umer – Member National Assembly, Pakistan

 

At a glance (This can run as a separate/smaller piece that talks about vision/management and programmes)

IBA provides an education that remains relevant and takes into account the future requirements of the market. Over the years, the institute has maintained a favourable environment for scholarship and research. Together, the faculty, staff and students work in cohesion to meet their learning goals. Students acquire knowledge and skills through constructive and distinctive processes that encourage them to develop understanding of business concepts and issues, think independently and to make rational choices. At IBA, the faculty ensures that students hold themselves responsible for their own learning while becoming active participants in the learning process at the same time. They are taught how to apply their knowledge and are equipped with skills that help them deal with the challenges of today’s cutthroat and competitive workplace environment.

 

Soaring to new heights

Mustafa Hasan, First Officer at PIA flying the ATR 42-500, class of 2005

“I never really wanted to do an MBA, but fate had other plans, and soon after my A-levels, I was nudged into a class of 30 students pursuing an MBA degree at IBA. By this time, my dream of an airline career had faded away because I had to be ‘realistic’ about my choices in life.

However IBA turned out to be less of a business school and more of a place where we were encouraged to chase our dreams. I am ever so grateful to so many of my teachers at IBA, who taught me the value of never letting go of what you really want. 

Education aside, IBA taught me that life is unpredictable but it is up to you to steer the course of the ship. As clichéd as this sounds, I learnt that if I work hard, anything is possible. IBA helped me stay focused on my dream even after I graduated. Even though I dabbled with a corporate career, I did realise my life-long dream of becoming a pilot. IBA helped me be all that I can be – a lesson that not many other universities in Pakistan can claim to do.”

Farhan Cutlerywala, Global Channel and Operation Manager – OOH & Global Mobile Channel Lead at Unilever, class of 2001

“A lot of people think that IBA is all about exams, quizzes and assignments. There’s a lot more to the IBA experience than merely sitting in the classroom. For instance, from day one, I was exposed to the ground realities of businesses through insightful guest lectures by professionals and intensive projects that taught me how organizations function. Today, I can honestly say that I attribute these experiences to my success as the shift from the academic life to the corporate world was pretty seamless for me. 

For me, IBA’s Summer Internship and Placement program was a truly enriching experience. I got an opportunity to intern at a prestigious organization where I worked on full-fledged projects. This was a real confidence booster and I really think it was instrumental in giving me my first big break after graduation.”

Nadia Chhotani, Creative Head/Director Argentum Designer Jewellery by Nadia Chhotani, class of 2005

“IBA has given me immense confidence to become the person that I am today. Having come from sheltered background, I experimented with debates, dramatics, politics, sports -- you name it and I was in it. IBA has truly helped me in my career in terms of the name and recognition my alma mater has in Pakistan. But most importantly, it has taught to push through even when the stakes are against you. It has given me the courage to dream the impossible and the hope that the world I desire can be won.”

 

 

Soaring to new heights

Mustafa Hasan, First Officer at PIA flying the ATR 42-500, class of 2005

“I never really wanted to do an MBA, but fate had other plans, and soon after my A-levels, I was nudged into a class of 30 students pursuing an MBA degree at IBA. By this time, my dream of an airline career had faded away because I had to be ‘realistic’ about my choices in life.

However IBA turned out to be less of a business school and more of a place where we were encouraged to chase our dreams. I am ever so grateful to so many of my teachers at IBA, who taught me the value of never letting go of what you really want. 

Education aside, IBA taught me that life is unpredictable but it is up to you to steer the course of the ship. As clichéd as this sounds, I learnt that if I work hard, anything is possible. IBA helped me stay focused on my dream even after I graduated. Even though I dabbled with a corporate career, I did realise my life-long dream of becoming a pilot. IBA helped me be all that I can be – a lesson that not many other universities in Pakistan can claim to do.”

Farhan Cutlerywala, Global Channel and Operation Manager – OOH & Global Mobile Channel Lead at Unilever, class of 2001

“A lot of people think that IBA is all about exams, quizzes and assignments. There’s a lot more to the IBA experience than merely sitting in the classroom. For instance, from day one, I was exposed to the ground realities of businesses through insightful guest lectures by professionals and intensive projects that taught me how organizations function. Today, I can honestly say that I attribute these experiences to my success as the shift from the academic life to the corporate world was pretty seamless for me. 

For me, IBA’s Summer Internship and Placement program was a truly enriching experience. I got an opportunity to intern at a prestigious organization where I worked on full-fledged projects. This was a real confidence booster and I really think it was instrumental in giving me my first big break after graduation.”

Nadia Chhotani, Creative Head/Director Argentum Designer Jewellery by Nadia Chhotani, class of 2005

“IBA has given me immense confidence to become the person that I am today. Having come from sheltered background, I experimented with debates, dramatics, politics, sports -- you name it and I was in it. IBA has truly helped me in my career in terms of the name and recognition my alma mater has in Pakistan. But most importantly, it has taught to push through even when the stakes are against you. It has given me the courage to dream the impossible and the hope that the world I desire can be won.”

 

 

Five reasons why you should choose IBA

1.Preparing and clearing the entrance test – probably one of the toughest in the country – is a real ego booster and game changer.

2.Taking responsibility for your actions – unlike other institutes, IBA gives complete ownership to its students and allows them to handle events. This gives you a real feel of how to deal with people and vendors even before you graduate.

3.Challenging yourself – IBA has stringent policies in place that are the same for every student. You learn that you are not above anyone and regardless of who you are and what you have achieved, you have just as much to prove as the next person.

4.The facility – the campuses and the facilities they offer to students are truly astounding. Whether you want to pull an all-nighter for a study project or are looking to take a breather, the IBA campuses will give you just what you need. 

5.A window of opportunity – to be part of an institution with a great heritage after graduation, in fact even before you are done with your degree, the work prospects are endless.

 

Management

The institute is managed by a Board of Governors consisting of 17 members drawn from the representatives of the government, private sector, prominent educationists, alumni, eminent citizens and faculty. The board also sets policy and strategy, and supervises the financial management of the Institute. The Institute is headed by Dean/Director who is assisted by Associate Deans, chairpersons of the departments on the academic side with the heads of support departments on the administrative affairs. The IBA relies on student tuition fees, income from Executive Education, and income from Endowment Fund and other funds. Capital expenditure and human resource development for faculty development are financed by grants from the Higher Education Commission, private sector and foundations. 

IBA’s Endowment Fund consists of contributions and allocations from different donors, thus lending financial support to infrastructure and faculty development as well as student scholarships. Contributions come through the Friends of IBA Committee that manages and oversees the Fund so that resources are effectively mobilised. 

Meanwhile, the Board of Governors regularly monitors and provides guidance to the administration, thus inculcating best management practices within the institute. Furthermore, the procedures and processed implemented here are transparent and are documented, thus serving as a benchmark for other educational institutions within the country. 

Spoilt for choice

When IBA was first set up, it offered the MBA programme only during the day. However, in 1957, an evening programme was introduced to facilitate working executives and managers who were interested in acquiring a post-graduate business degree via a part-time study programme. Two decades later in 1982, IBA took this vision a step further by introducing a three-year BBA (Honors) Programme was introduced which has now been upgraded to a four-year BBA programme. Today, the BBA programme at IBA means four years of rigorous education that enables students to gain perspective about the world around them. The programme is not limited to business subjects; it also introduces students to the basic concepts of social sciences and liberal arts. Students also undergo six months of on-the-job training in a real business environment. They spend their last semester working in a business/company of their choice. This enables them to network with their future employers and familiarises them with the challenges of the real business world. 

It was in 1983 that the Faculty of Computer Science was set up at IBA. Initially known as the Center for Computer Studies and established in collaboration with IBM, Pakistan, the department offered a diploma in System Analysis at the time to meet the growing demand for software professionals in Pakistan. Today, the department offers BS and MS degrees and also has a PhD programme. Currently, the PhD degree is offered in the areas of Economics, Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Operations Research, Artificial Intelligence, Cryptography, Numerical Analysis and Numerical Computing. The goal here is to train students for professional problem-solving skills along with enriching their social value and enhancing their contribution to the society. The average IBA computer science graduate is hardly your typical computer geek. He has a well-rounded personality thanks to the countless co-curricular societies within the department. Students can nurture their interests such as management, public speaking, theological studies and sports. As a result, IBA computer graduates successfully get placed in top software houses, ICT companies, financial institutions, multinationals and business solution providers. 

IBA’s vastly popular Executive MBA (EMBA) programme was founded in 2009, targeting mid-career professionals working in the corporate sector, banks and government departments. The curriculum, methodology and course material have been developed in consultation with industry experts and leading resource persons. Every year, around 450 people enroll in the programme from more than 100 organisations – a programme steered by leading professionals and senior IBA faculty.

Then there is the Center for Executive Education (CEE) responsible for organising courses tailor-made for corporate clients. The CEE also puts together short courses from time to time on emerging trends and current business practices. In the same vein, the Center for Entrepreneurial Development (CED) has courses for future entrepreneurs and provides research that can help turn potential ideas into business opportunities. It aims to put Karachi on the entrepreneurial map of the world and help Pakistan emerge as a prosperous country with a competitive economy. 

The Economics and Mathematics programme is a four-year degree that provides a comprehensive curriculum for students interested in the said subjects. At the end of the four years, graduates will find themselves sufficiently equipped to pursue a Master’s or a PhD in economics or mathematics. At the same time, they also have the option of working in the public or private sector as well as educational and research organisations. 

The four-year Accounting and Finance programme was introduced in 2013 developed in collaboration with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP), Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Bankers Pakistan (IBP). At the end of the four years, students acquire a degree that leads to a professional qualification. 

The recently established Social Sciences and Liberal Arts programme offers majors in political science, psychology and media & communication studies. The programme helps students develop theoretical, historical and practical knowledge required to interact with their social and cultural world. Students are introduced to various academic disciplines such as literature, history, philosophy, religion, biology, environmental sciences and even mathematics and physics. IBA’s social sciences graduates are able to use strategies and frames of analysis to make sense of our economic, political, communal, cultural and mediated lives. 

 

Here’s to the future!

Currently, IBA is exploring collaborative partnerships, alliances and exchange programmes with the top business schools. For instance, IBA has recently become the first institution in Pakistan to become partner of CFA Institute, SAP University alliance and other such ventures. Furthermore, IBA has the distinction of being a financially sustainable institution since it is generating three-fourth of the income from internal sources, thus drastically reducing dependence on government grants.

Meanwhile, plans are in the offing to seek accreditation with the Asian, European and US bodies. The management is seeking other avenues of collaboration with other universities in Asia.