Ms. Wajeeha Raoof, is the Pro-Rector Social Sciences, at the University of Lahore (UoL). She is a founding member of UoL and also a member of the Board of Governors. Outside the UoL mandate, Ms Wajeeha is a Director of Cornerstone School located at Canal Gardens Housing Society, Lahore. This senior and inspirational Management Science Specialist, has been serving in the higher education sector since 1997, and joined the Lahore Business School in 2014.
The Spectacle Newsletter’s Abdulhamid Mpoza and Hiba Khan had a Q & A exclusive interview with Ms Wajeeha, at her office located at Defense Road Main Campus, January 31, 2018. Below are the excerpts;
Q- How many faculties are under your supervision?
A- Two—one is the Faculty of Management Sciences that has LBS, Lahore school of professionals’ studies, School of Accountancy and Finance, and the other is the Faculty of Social Sciences that is housing the departments of education, Islamic education and English language and literature, and the School of Integrated Social Sciences, (SISS).
Q- What’s new in Social Sciences?
A- The starting of SISS. It is two years old. Within it, is our Centre for Security, Strategy and Policy Research (CSSPR). Typically, you don’t get to see institutions like think tanks that are talking about strategy, security, policy, nuclear issues and all that in Lahore. You mostly have these in Islamabad. So, it’s one of its kind in Lahore. This is an achievement!
Q- What is the current status of research and academic growth in social sciences?
A- There are lots of researches being published by the School of Education and Islamic Education, but most significant ones are from the CSSPR because, we have a dedicated centre for research there. We also organized an international conference in which renowned scholars from the field of nuclear sciences and nuclear history were invited from all over the world.
Q- What makes LBS strong as compared to other schools?
A- The Chairman Mr. Awais and I believe that once business students are well trained, they are capable of changing our society in many ways. The school has a set culture and goals to achieve. It has also got 3-year accreditation from the National Business School of Education Council (NBEC). We are essentially in top business schools of Pakistan. There are almost 27 business schools in the entire country that are accredited right now and we are one of them. The aim is to be within the top 5 business schools of Pakistan within the next 3 years. We produce job creators; not seekers.
Q- What strategies are in place to keep LBS booming?
A- We are looking at the strategy for expansion but with all the emphasis being on quality. We are not just looking at how to teach students about marketing, finance, management, etc., we are trying to produce business people, entrepreneurs, people who can work in the corporate world. There is guidance of students in order to make them more competitive. So, when they enter the job market, they can hit the ground running.
Q- How is the university facilitating students to realize their goals?
A- No doubt, Students are the biggest asset of the university. We have a Career Services office that is linking our students to other business graduates. The office exposes them to reputable successful professionals and entrepreneurs. Workshops and seminars by professionals on résumé building, interviews, and communication are organized for our students as well. We have an incubation centre, where students are groomed and taught how to develop successful business projects. Viable businesses are usually funded.
Q- Are there any student societies or clubs specifically for social science students?
A- Student societies play a big role in facilitating and enriching the students’ overall growth. We have got the LBIET’s society which is one of the most active extracurricular societies within UoL. You will see LBS being represented in many other different societies and clubs of the university which I am proud of. There is also Society of International Affairs (SIA). You would see our students taking part in many different activities. The Entrepreneur Society is another vibrant society that is training students to be excellent business leaders and managers.
Q- From your perspective, what are the contributions of LBS to Pakistan as a country and Asia as a region?
A- Our LBS HOD Dr. Imran Hameed, was recently nominated as the “best young researcher of Pakistan” by HEC. This year, we are expecting more quality Impact Factor publications from LBS. We guide our graduate students to focus on community based research problems whose recommendations can be a solution to societal challenges. Recently, LBS conducted a survey of all the villages in 10 km radius of the UoL. The survey gathered data about the number of schools, sanitation, medical services, and water issues. We hope to launch a community service plan that will help communities around us to overcome manageable challenges. Finally, our graduates are spread around Pakistan and are successful in many ways.
Q- What activities are about to happen in your faculties?
A- This semester, LBS will be running capacity development workshops and be a series of 16 lectures that will be given to the final semester students. For such workshops, we shall be inviting people from the market and the cooperate world. We shall have the 3rd international business conference this October. All other departments will have several national and local seminars as well. We are also preparing our next book of cases “ABC (A Book of Cases) which is going to be the second edition. We are working on our journal—AMJR as well. We have two issues for AMRJ.
Q- Do you have some links with the alumni?
A- We have established an alumni network called “Lahore Alumni”. We are encouraging them to sign up with us and asked them to contribute to our curriculum and attend meetings. With the newly established Career Services and Corporate Linkages, we are providing some support to our alumni as well as our current students. For example, we link our best student to the best employers. We arrange events that attract our successful alumni who normally come to inspire their colleagues who are still here.
Q- Any special message to students generally?
A-It is a great opportunity to study in the university. Hundreds of young men and women do not make it to the university. There is a very small percentage of students that get to the university in Pakistan. So, each student is extremely fortunate to get a higher degree. I wish that every student appreciates this. Students must acquire the knowledge, skills, tools, and education that is needed in the real world. Students should not waste time while at the university. They must get the best out of their lecturers and fellow students.