- ILMA’s teaching aims to help bridge the business and academia gap
- For business graduates case and real-time scenarios-based teaching is the only way forward
Interview with Mr. Kashif Rafi — Registrar and Director of International Linkages & Opportunities, ILMA University
PAGE: Kindly tell us about yourself and your career:
Kashif Rafi: I have always been instituted at top posts throughout my career. I have exhibited diversity in reputable roles as an academician, educationist, entrepreneur, registrar and business strategist spanned over 22 years.
Presently, I hold multiple positions of leadership in renowned organizations as Registrar & Director of International Linkages & Opportunities, Assistant Professor, ILMA University, Chief of Strategy & Marketing, Rapido and Chief Strategy Officer & Managing Partner, Tarbiyat. This proves my inherent talent and tenacity to function at a brilliance level to lead groundbreaking initiatives for a global impact. Mentor at Vizathon2021, Education Policython, Policy for People & Harvard University and Hack+Policy organized in Partnership with Policy for People & Harvard University, Hack+, Make School & Grammarly.
I have conducted more than 200 conferences, training, seminars, workshops, conferences, corporate events, commercial large-scale events and activations.
My international memberships are from US & UK agencies, namely; American Marketing Association, American Economic Association and Taylor & Francis are worthy to quote. I have done certifications from Reuters, Elsevier, Adweek and IBM Watson Advertising.
Invaluable contributions in the socio-economic sectors are witnessed through my more than 15 years of association with Rotary International District 3271 and active engagement as the District Secretary 2021-22, District Co-Trainer 2020-21, District Additional Secretary 2019-20, Past Assistant Governor 2018-19, District Joint Secretary, 2017-19, Rotary International District 3271, Charter Secretary of Rotary Club of Karachi Pearl and Past President, Rotary Club of Karachi Darakhshan. Through this internationally acclaimed organization, as a man of magnitude, I have given back to the diverse communities nationwide in the fields of education and social causes which have brought large-scale change and impact.
PAGE: How would you comment on the standards of education in Pakistan?
Kashif Rafi: How do you define education standards, is it by the number of students completing education or the number of students entering the workforce or students? or is it defined by the socioeconomic development of the country? The standard of education in Pakistan has had a bumpy ride where many believe the value-added workforce is key to the future and for a more economically stable Pakistan. I believe our education standards are improving but not at the pace they should.
Keeping abreast with the globally ever-shifting education paradigm it is essential to have a 360 outlook of the education system and the standards they implement. I will quote the example of ILMA University where education standards not only include book-based or traditional teaching pedagogies but adopt a more holistic approach towards character building, inculcating social and ethical values and most important of all producing graduates that add value to the organizations and society.
PAGE: What is your take on business education in Pakistan?
Kashif Rafi: The value of business education has been at the core of the socioeconomic development of Pakistan producing graduates that enable organizations to grow and entrepreneurs that support the local and international business ecosystems. The demand fluctuates with the changes in socioeconomic conditions and has increased significantly in the current era of technology-driven modern economies. The study of business administration, as opposed to commerce, places more emphasis on topics like management and business entity administration. More emphasis is placed on marketing, social science, and soft skills. The emphasis on objective-based learning at HEC right now aids students in grasping more contemporary business concepts. Students actively participate in problem-solving activities and exchange in-depth knowledge of dynamic markets with the goal of enhancing our nation’s economy.
I believe the key to producing business graduates who are quick on their feet and at the same time have the yearning to do more depends on how and what we teach them. Case and real-time scenarios based teaching is the only way forward which is found lacking in most business graduates.
In order to foster an entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and invention ILMA University teaching style focus on promoting learning through a variety of competitions, seminars, workshops, and guest speaker sessions and best of all case-based learning especially in the later part of the studies. This help in bridging the gap between business and academia.
PAGE: What is your perspective on the infrastructure in Karachi?
Kashif Rafi: Karachi is the heart of Pakistan and the nucleus for almost all types of economic activities, growth, and sizeable contribution to the economy. With high-tech structures and skylines, Karachi’s infrastructure is expanding and developing. However, I feel that alone government machinery can neither fulfill the demand for expansion and growth nor the business community alone can have an impact. Key is the teamwork and collective efforts for continuously upgrading and sustaining the City of Lights. We can restore it to its glory and bring forth the real essence of being truly a cosmopolitan city.
PAGE: Your views on business activities in Karachi:
Kashif Rafi: Karachi is the industrial hub of Pakistan. The latest trend in media, call centers, electronic media and ICT has become an integral part of the city’s ever-evolving business pyramid. There are more than 3000 software companies in Karachi which are growing day by day. The city is also known as the electronic media capital of the country. Media generates huge revenues for the city in advertising and providing jobs and entertainment. Furthermore, Pakistan Stock Exchange, formerly Karachi Stock Exchange is Pakistan’s largest and oldest stock exchange with more than 540 companies listed in 2021.
Karachi is a major home of major automobiles Toyota, Suzuki Motors, KIA, Hyundai, Master, FAW and Adam Motor Companies. Regardless of the growth and development of transport infrastructure elsewhere in the country, Karachi remains the country’s transport hub. The city’s two ports, Port of Karachi (Pakistan’s largest) and Port Qasim are central to nearly all shipping in Pakistan. Karachi is the prime fishery center. Karachi contributes the most input to the country’s overall tax revenue.
With the three largest chambers working concurrently towards its growth i.e. KCCI, FPCCI and OICCI the potential is limitless. The city has an immense appetite for sustaining business ecosystems that are only rivaled by the best in the world.
Karachi is also home to various art and cultural activities that echo the softer side of this hustling and bustling business hub. In the end, Karachi, the business hub and former capital attracts millions to its workforce and generates a lot of economic activity.