IBA Karachi vs LUMS: Which is Pakistan’s Top Business School?

IBA Karachi vs LUMS

IBA Karachi vs LUMS: Who holds the Crown of Pakistan’s Best Business School?


IBA Karachi verses LUMS represent the most bitter rivalry among Pakistan’s business schools. IBA remains the oldest business school in Pakistan, although they claim to be the oldest outside North America, a claim refuted by several other international institutions. IBA faced stiff competition as LUMS’ Dawood Suleman Business School emerged as a strong nemesis in 1984, with its strong industry links.

We compare these side by side to review which deserves crown of Pakistan’s numero uno Business school.



IBA campus went through exceptional transformation during the tenure of Dr. Ishrat. However LUMS’ purpose built campus in the heart of DHA Lahore with lush green lawns is more pleasant to the eye. This is like comparing Oxford to LSE, where one is picturesque, other boasts of more city amenities such as close-by shopping in Karachi Saddar. Unfortunately, with Karachi ranked among top 10 most polluted cities of the world , neither of its campuses provide respite from pollution and hygienic problems. There is no conclusion on this one. Winner: Tie



LUMS wins this handsdown. Under complacent leadership of Dr. Wahab, IBA failed to recruit any foreign PHDs, which led to 90 percent of its faculty being MBA from IBA itself. LUMS carefully poached some leading academics from prestigious universities such as Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge, which led to a much better academic status and research facilities. Winner: LUMS

Career Opportunities

With Karachi being financial hub with many head offices of corporate sector, Karachi certainly has an easy edge. However, for certain sectors such as FMCG such as Coke, Pepsi and Nestle and Tetra Pak head offices are based in Lahore, LUMS maintains excellent relations with marketing sector jobs. Overall IBA edges LUMS owing to better connections with many leading banks, FMCG etc as well as a stronger and more established alumni base in the Pakistani market. Winner: IBA



Both instructions hardly get any decent mention in global ranking and it shows how badly Pakistani universities lag behind academia of other emerging countries such as India. LUMS recently was ranked # 251 in QS ranking of World’s Best Business School. However, it’s reasonable to say that both are miles away from any decent ranking in global list. Winner: None



LUMS with its mostly foreign qualified PHD takes a lead in Research. There is expectation from faculty that they will focus on research besides teaching, something IBA never able to implement in reality. With some leading scientist such as Dr. Umar Saif, Lahore has witnessed a IT renaissance in startups that LUMS were able to  a exploit well. Winner: LUMS


Fee and Financial Assistance


Speaking historically, IBA offered very few scholarships but was cheaper that LUMS. This changed during era of Dr. Ishrat as he tried to evolve IBA more like LUMS i.e. increasing the fees as well as financial assistance available. IBA remain slightly cheaper than LUMS, yet it offers less financial assistance.  LUMS also has better links with foreign donors such as Rausing Family which is known as owners of Tetra Pak. Winner: LUMS


Overall Winner: LUMS


LUMS bypasses IBA Karachi marginally with better faculty and research. However for Karachi residents IBA remains an excellent choice offering better value for money.


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