TBY talks to Dr. Chan Young Bang, President of the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research (KIMEP), on the inception of the university, foreign partnerships, and the value of KIMEP students.
TBY What were the main aims behind the creation of KIMEP and how has it evolved?
CHAN YOUNG BANG The main task of this university was to help transform Kazakhstan from a state-run, socialist, Soviet-type economy into a free market economy, to implement privatization, to aid the development of the private sector, and to educate a new generation that could oversee and bring about this process. Back then, all assets, properties, and real estate were in the hands of the state. It was therefore a very challenging responsibility. Our first task was obviously to educate the people on privatization and to educate people who could take on this challenge. The President ordered the creation of KIMEP. Other universities and institutions in Europe, Canada, the US, France, the UK, and so on all helped out in our efforts financially and also technically through the provision of equipment, computers, as well as academic staff.
How have you implemented new programs over the years?
Demand changes over time. At one point we saw the need for a journalism program due to the low journalistic standards in the country, for example. Another example is the doctoral degree in business management, which was implemented because a lot of people had MBAs to become junior faculty members of universities, but didn’t have access to a doctoral program. By offering PhDs to these junior faculty members they were able to keep moving up and could become fully fledged faculty members. It’s a costly program, but it was necessary.
How do you strike a balance between dedication to scientific standards, pragmatism, and the budget of the university?
This is not a charity organization, and so we cannot just begin a course or program without it being financially viable. That being said, we’re not out to make money, either. It’s a balance that we seek. We need to educate as many as possible, while remaining economically viable. Also, we want to provide education that will also guarantee jobs. For example, our accounting program is very popular, and up to 80% of new recruitment at some of the “Big Four” accounting firms in Almaty—KPMG, Ernst & Young, PwC, and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu—are KIMEP graduates. KIMEP students command that kind of privilege. We also have many graduates working in other big companies like Proctor & Gamble, the big multinational oil and gas companies, and so on. I can go on and on. KIMEP has a lot of prestige.
Do you have scholarship programs for foreign students too?
Yes, we offer up to 60 and we recently announced another 100 full merit scholarships planned for 2012 for incoming students from the other Central Asian republics: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. We feel that it is our responsibility as an institute dedicated to development in Central Asia. These students often prefer to stay abroad and work in multinationals because they wouldn’t have the same chance for advancement or the same pay if they returned to their own countries. We also have the support of many Kazakhstani corporations that contribute up to $2 million for scholarship programs through KIMEP every year.
What fields does KIMEP concentrate on?
KIMEP is concerned mainly with business, law, and social sciences. Our aim is to fill in the parts of the education system that might be lacking in Kazakhstan.
© The Business Year