For many students, the decision to pursue a postgraduate MBA degree can be quite daunting, especially in view of the increasing tuition fee and living expenses. Not everyone can afford to go down that road. Yet, an MBA is considered to be one of the most sought after degrees in today’s cut-throat and competitive business environment.
During such pressing times, parents have no option other than to rely on their hard-earned savings or hefty loans to finance their child’s education. Meanwhile, students look for other ways to increase their earnings, such as part-time work. However, the prevailing downturn in the job market has further aggravated their woes.
Recently, the Karachi Business School for Leadership (KSBL) announced an innovative on-campus employment programme for its MBA students in Sep 2012. This initiative will enable the MBA students to engage in active and collaborative learning, in addition to earning some money for themselves.
Speaking about the on-campus employment programme, Dawood N. Ghaznavi, the acting dean of KSBL, said, “We seek to introduce jobs on campus - a trend followed by most good universities across the world.” The idea is simple - to create meaningful and productive on-campus employment opportunities for students, so that their confidence level increases and they have the ability to earn money for themselves and stand on their own feet.
As the school has adopted a need-blind admissions policy, every candidate’s application is evaluated on the basis of merit and their abilities only – irrespective of their financial status. The evaluation is based on a certain criteria: educational and academic accomplishments (GPA in bachelor’s programme, which differs for different universities), professional work experience, intellectual capacity (GMAT, GRE or GAT test), and motivation (essay writing) for an MBA, along with an interview. Once an applicant has cleared the extensive admission process, he or she can apply for financial support in the form of scholarships or loans. The financial committee of the KSBL will then evaluate their case and provide them with financial support. Having said that, these MBA candidates now have another alternative of on-campus jobs, which could help them in financing a significant amount of their tuition fee or living expenses.
Interestingly, a wide range of paid jobs will be available to MBA students to choose from. “We’re not talking about manual labour digging holes in the ground. What we want is a ready group of smart people, who can do things with intelligence, and are easily accessible to rather than hiring professionals from outside,” informs Daud N. Ghaznavi. Some of these jobs, such as a research assistant, would have a wider scope, while others may be less appealing, but will still help students earn a monthly income. Depending on a student’s area of interest and study schedule, he or she will be selected for a particular job by their respective faculty. Perhaps, the best thing about these jobs is that they’re easy to comprehend and execute and are highly convenient for students as compared to off-campus jobs.
The following are a few to consider:
1Research Assistant: Research assistants would be recruited by faculty members to assist them in conducting research projects. Their primary job would be to gather information and write joint publications. With a monthly remuneration of 60-80,000 rupees per month, these research assistants would be gearing themselves for their PhD, which they will pursue either from abroad or in Karachi. Some of these assistants would also be recruited by the faculty to go on a field trip, on their behalf, within Karachi for data collection and gain some field experience.
2Teaching Assistant: A teaching assistant’s job responsibilities would include assisting the faculty in facilitating student-faculty interaction, invigilation, gathering study material, and grading test papers. Their remuneration, though slightly lower than research assistants, would also be determined by the faculty members. In addition, if a second-year MBA student excels in a particular course, he or she may be recruited to tutor that course to their juniors.
3Library: Under the librarian’s supervision, every month a few assistants would be recruited to organise books at the library.
4Mailing: Despite being a small-scale job, students will be recruited to arrange, sort out and deliver campus mail every month.
5Others: Numerous other jobs in the areas of HR, marketing, cafeteria, editorials, administration, etc. would be offered to students.
While maintaining high grades and working simultaneously can be problematic for some, KSBL will offer tremendous flexibilities to students. “Our MBA classes commence in the morning and by the time they finish, which is about 3-4 p.m., students can then do their work, such as tutoring someone, helping out the librarian etc.,” shares Ghaznavi, adding that at times students will face pressure for which they will have to make some changes in their lifestyle. “Some of the work will have to be done over the weekend, such as going on a field trip to collect data. The most pivotal thing to remember is that no matter what, flexibilities will be offered to each and every student. If they’re asked to work at a particular time which doesn’t suit their study schedule, they could always discuss their case with the concerned faculty member and decide another suitable time.”
“On-campus employment will not only benefit students, but also faculty members,” says Ghaznavi. According to him, this initiative will reduce the faculty’s workload to a certain extent, as research and teaching assistants would be available to assist them whenever needed. More importantly, instead of hiring professionals for a hefty amount, the faculty could easily recruit students for various tasks, such as going on field trips. Thus, both their time and money will be saved in the long run.
For students, the benefits are manifold. Not only will it add value to their resume, but it’s also the perfect opportunity for them to make a reasonable amount of money for themselves. On the other hand, these jobs will develop their management, communication and leadership skills, enabling them to become tomorrow’s market leaders, ready to face the diverse challenges of the corporate world that will be thrown their way.