The Institute of Business Administration Karachi, Pakistan – commonly referred to as IBA – is the oldest business school outside North America based on the American MBA system. Established in 1955 with the support of Wharton – University of Pennsylvania, IBA has enjoyed the prestigious status of being Pakistan’s premier business school for almost six decades.

iba karachi stamp

Known for its high academic standards, IBA has a record of producing top talent that has played key roles in leading anything from multinational corporations to the country itself (see: Shaukat AzizMamnoon Hussain).

The Background:

Dr Ishrat Husain (a highly regarded banker, economist and former Governor of State Bank) took charge as Dean and Director in 2008, and set out on a mission to bring the school into the league of the top 100 business schools in the world. Since setting sights on this goal, IBA has embarked on an extensive and ambitious overhaul in which the school has changed dramatically; with brand new campuses, redesigned courses, a focus on entrepreneurial development, and new strategic partnerships, IBA is enroute to being a major player in business education internationally.

The Challenge:

Everybody knows it and there’s no need to emphasize it- The world is changing constantly. And rapidly. New realities are being created and old ideals are being challenged. In this fast changing world, standing still for any brand, or in this case, institution, is akin to suicide. IBA, interestingly, occupies a unique and exciting place in this new reality: it is the first US-MBA-model business school outside of North America, has a number of important partnerships with global and regional leaders (Babson, ISB), and has a proactive focus on entrepreneurship. IBA, in fact, has the best of both worlds: prestige & regard and a confident vision. In only a few years, IBA has come a long way in every meaningful aspect. The facilities, talent pool and confident vision are contributing more than ever before in shaping an exciting future for Pakistan and the world.

It is said best at the school’s own website and prospectus:

With the world changing rapidly, IBA is constantly redefining its playing field. Aspiring to be ranked amongst the top 10 Business Schools in South Asia and in the Middle East in the next five years (2009-13), we are committed to retaining our essential characteristics of nurturing camaraderie and teamwork, in balance with a spirit of healthy competition.

The competitive landscape is diverse: there are the established global leaders – INSEAD, Wharton, and IE; there are the emerging leaders – HULT, LUMS, Koc, Vlerick; and then there are numerous new competitors. IBA competes with each of these on different fronts. The moment from which a potential student, employer, or scholar starts considering business schools to study at, hire from, and teach at, IBA is in a contesting position with all these competitors- established and emerging, and regional and global.

insead logo

The real challenge now for IBA is to communicate the strides it has made in these past few years which have helped shape it into a modern, world-class business school.  With this exciting new reality, it is the perfect time to announce to the world its bold new vision for the future, guided by its strong roots in the past.

The last update to the IBA brand came in 2005. IBA’s current reality presents compelling reasons to undertake a rebranding effort. And we have undertaken this effort. At the core of this effort, we have captured the confidence and optimism that defines IBA.

The Place for Possibilities:

Like every successful brand, we have a core brand idea that highlights our purpose and defines our vision. It inspires and supports everything we do. We are ‘The Place for Possibilities’.

iba karachi logo

The new IBA brand is built on the founding values of confidence and optimism. These values are central to our core idea (The Place: Confidence; for Possibilities: Optimism). Our values are brought to life with: a bold mark that spells out our prestigious name, a vibrant color palette, and confident typography.

In addition to the primary mark, the brand system consists of dynamic windows that serve as multi-purpose graphic devices: as containers of information, highlighters of content, and more. The modern approach with the clean, straight lines are a nod to the design language manifest in our new architecture. The decision to focus on our acronym as the central brand asset is natural: we have great equity in our acronym and leveraging that equity allows us to root the brand in IBA’s prestigious past and unsurpassed reputation, and then grow from there.

iba karachi logo

The brand is built with flexibility in mind.We realize that an enterprising business school’s brand needs to be similarly resourceful. It must lend itself to creative and inventive use by many stakeholders. After all, the brand will endorse conferences, adorn merchandise, support internal brands (societies, clubs, etc) and much more.

iba karachi logo

A successful brand system should address all these different use cases while consistently and effectively upholding the core brand values. To ensure this, we put an emphasis on making the brand simple and easy to adapt. A construction inspired by modular design allows the logo to be easily adapted for many uses and there is even the possibility for a computerized system to create custom versions of the brand mark.

iba karachi logo

The brand’s visual vocabulary is distinctively bold and modern, with a focus on clean, sharp lines and vibrant colors.

iba karachi logo

iba karachi logo

iba karachi logo

In a nutshell, The Place for Possibilities goes beyond being a tagline. It is a new way to perceive IBA and to be inspired to make great things possible.

najwat rehmanby Najwat Rehman

While he wears many hats, Najwat is a design thinker at the core. He loves anything and everything to do with design and has a special interest in branding and user interaction/experience design. He is also the Founder & Editor of The Desi Design.

DISCLAIMER: This is an entirely self-initiated project by The Desi Design and is in no way endorsed by the Institute of Business Administration Karachi (IBA) or its authorized representatives.