If you could kindly tell us a bit about your academic background?
I left Bangladesh after my HSC examination and completed my Honors, Masters and PhD from Ukraine. In between I was in Japan for two years, working under a project. I came back to Bangladesh after 12 years and started working at Leading University in Sylhet. I worked there for two and a half years and after that I joined ULAB. I have also worked and taught in Australia and recently went to the United States under Fulbright scholarship. I have been working in the private university sector for the last fourteen years.
You studied Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) yet you are involved with a Liberal Arts University, how did it come about?
Liberal Arts is a multi-disciplined approach to education, it is not like Fine Arts. Liberal Arts means a commerce student can also study social science, humanities, engineering or even fundamental science. It means that a student of science can also learn history or journalism.The university where I studied was fully based on Liberal Arts and during my undergraduate years I remember taking courses on world civilization, political science and even physical exercise. So I am glad to be a part of a Liberal Arts University.
How has the journey been with ULAB so far?
It has been very positive and at the same time quite challenging. It still is a challenge because we strive to be one of the best universities in the South East-Asian region. I believe that when it comes to building an institution, hard work is the only way. My philosophy is that if you work hard, you actually build your career and also build the institution. In the development process of an institution, some people have to work very hard otherwise the institution will not grow.
Where would you like to see ULAB in the next five or ten years?
Five years from now, we would like to see ULAB being highly recognized nationally. Our target is not to increase our number of students but to improve in quality, we’re not hungry for numbers and we don’t want to be a part of the rat race. If we have forty students in a class, we can operate our classes more efficiently and more smoothly. If a class is filled beyond its capacity, the teachers won’t be able to interact with the students and eventually the teaching quality will be compromised.
How are the students at ULAB chosen? How does the university help to prepare its students for the real world?
First I would like to say that a student with GPA 5 may or may not get into ULAB, it all depends up on what he/she has scored in the admission. We only consider the performance of the admission test, the HSC or SSC results do not matter for us.
If we only produce pundits who can’t get jobs, what’s the use? From day one we nurture our students through our orientation program where we tell them that they need to serve their families and then the society.
Every student must take 10 courses from other departments, 7 of which are mandatory and 3 are electives. It is compulsory to take 5 other courses from a department other than his/her own as a minor. So a business student can have a minor from journalism or social science. These options expose the students to knowledge of the outside world.
We have 23 student clubs and every student has to be members of at least two. Our adventure club members have roamed around the country. Our students have been to Thailand and China since we have MoUs with Chiang Mai, Assumption University and Yunnan Open University. We’ve also sent students to Malaysia and India.
We organisetalks or seminars every 2-3 weeks where editors, journalists, corporate leaders, Bank MDs and other real life experts come and interact with the students.
Why would a student choose ULAB and not some other private university?
We have a diverse pool of the very qualified faculty members who are graduates from Harvard, MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, Cornell, Columbia, NUS, Monash, you name it. We also have Professors like Syed Manzoorul Islam and Kaiser Haque teaching at ULAB. ULAB has all the three components which make a good university; teaching, research and co-curricular activities. We have 8 research centers which no other private university has.
Does ULAB have any plans to shift to another location?
Within next two years we will shift completely to our permanent campus in Mohammadpur. The new buildings are built over 9 acres of land and we will provide residential facilities for the students.
If you would like to give any message for students out there?
I would like to tell students everywhere to work hard, build their careers and be happy. Hard work is something anyone can do, rich or poor, male or female. Work so hard that you won’t have any stress or tension and so that success comes your way all the time. The ultimate purpose of life is to be happy and to make others happy and I believe that can only be achieved through hard work. I always tell my students at ULAB to work hard as if you have three jobs and also earn as if you hold three jobs. Others may work only eight hours and if you choose to do the same, your success may also be limited, just like them.