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An Interview with Hasan Zuberi, M.B.A. (Part One)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/09/22


Hasan Zuberi, M.B.A. is the Chairman for Mensa Pakistan. He discusses: personal family background; family background feeding into early life; giftedness becoming a factor in life; nurturance of giftedness; reasons for community investment in the gifted; the acceptance and nurturance of the gifted and talented through the formal mechanisms of the countries in the Middle East-North Africa region; the largest flowering of intellectual progress in the Islamic tradition; M.B.A. and early education for the gifted; benefits of multilingualism; PR company; detriment of high-IQ; membership of Mensa Pakistan; Mensa Pakistan demographics; other Mensa groups closely working with Mensa Pakistan; provisions for Mensa Pakistan members; average standard deviation IQ of Mensa Pakistan members; and the relationship between Mensa at 2-sigma and other high-IQ groups at 3-sigma and 4-sigma.

Keywords: Hasan Zuberi, Islam, Mensa Pakistan, Muslim, Pakistan.

An Interview with Hasan Zuberi, M.B.A.: Chairman, Mensa Pakistan (Part One)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In terms of geography, culture, language, and religion/irreligion, what is personal family background?

Hasan Anwer Zuberi: My family name Zuberi (or Zubairi) hails from present-day Saudi city of Makkah, and is a sub-tribe started from Zubair bin Al-Awam, a companion and cousin of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) who is buried in a city called Az-Zubair, near Basra present-day Iraq. The spread of Islam leads our clan to move towards the East and a substantial portion settled in the subcontinent (present-day India), and after the partition of British-India, mostly migrated to Karachi, Pakistan.

Both my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents from both sides were Zuberis, due to internal marriages. Our family excels in Education and has many institutions to its name in the Indian subcontinent, including Muslim Aligarh University, Karachi School of Arts, Mardan Women Degree College, to name a few.

Our primary language is Urdu. However, I am married to an Indonesian and my kids speak: Urdu, Bahasa Indonesian, and English.

2. Jacobsen: How did these multiple facets of family background feed into early life for you?

Zuberi: Since our family is mostly in education, I started at an early age and by 15 I was through with my 10th grade, and by 22 was done with my M.B.A. in Marketing. In between, I joined Alliance Francaise to learn French, that started as a hobby and was done with DELF 1er Degre and this is where I was introduced to Mensa. I tried the test, qualified in the 99th percentile, and later became the youngest Chairman at the age of 21.

3. Jacobsen: When did giftedness become a fact for you, explicitly? Of course, you lived and live with it. The key, when was the high general intelligence formally measured, acknowledged, and integrated into personal identity and loved ones’ perception of you?

Zuberi: It was at the time of my French studies that my teachers, mostly French, showed their surprise in my capability of picking the language, especially in an English language dominant country, and of my accent. They were the ones who identified the potential and helped me participate more. These were very troubled days in Karachi, with the civil-ethnic war going on and everyday killings and business shutdown strikes were common. The language center, which served as a refuge from all that was happening around me, helped me open and I organized many events including the only and the biggest mime-show in Karachi, Volleyball, Table Tennis, and Pétanque tournaments, reading and poetry sessions, and so on.

I came across a Mensa poster there and just out of curiosity sat for the test, which resulted in this long association.

4. Jacobsen: Was your giftedness nurtured in early life into adolescence?

Zuberi: I will say, “Yes,” it did get nurtured. Learning the fact that I am among the population considered to be of the highly intelligent. It helped in my daily calculations and decision-making. Although I was not a high achiever until my college, the fact of being a Mensa qualifier, and member, helped me secure 3.5+ CGPA and scholarship in my M.B.A. degree. This also resulted in starting my own business, a PR company, at the age of 27.

5. Jacobsen: Why should governments and communities invest in the gifted, identification and education? How can families and friends help prevent gifted kids from a) acting arrogant and b) becoming social car crashes (with a) and b) being related, of course)?
Zuberi: As all five fingers are not the same, all children have their specific requirements and need to focus on it. Governments, communities, family and friends all have a pivotal role in shaping and carving a gifted personality. High IQ is not necessarily always positive; it has its negative side.

I have myself witnessed many cases in Mensa Pakistan, and this is one of our primary foci and objectives to help shape the gifted mind in a gifted person. In families, particularly in our society, high IQ often results in anti-social disorder among the gifted children, as they find it hard to cope with the average intellect, and it makes them isolate within their respective circles, be it in the family, among friends, or even at schools.

We at Mensa Pakistan focus at school, establish our school-chapters (club), and from time to time engage teachers, staff, and parents along with the gifted children to make them understand that high IQ is a gift, and should be treated like one. On the one hand, we tell the teachers and parents on how to best utilize the hidden talents of the high IQ individual, and on the other, we make sure the students should not take this natural talent as an achievement, act arrogant, and should realize that it also has its negative sides if not tamed in the right direction, with the help and guidance from the loved ones around them.

6. Jacobsen: How well-established and funded is the acceptance and nurturance of the gifted and talented through the formal mechanisms of the countries in the Middle East-North Africa region? 

Zuberi: If we talk about MENA region, the concept of gifted/high IQ is still in its infancy stage, number of reasons involved, top being the poverty, low literacy rate, and the governance systems. For instance, even in the rich Gulf states, there is no visible effort to identify, polish, or to utilize the potential and skills of high IQ/gifted children. But for a change, in countries like Egypt, Turkey, Jordan and Pakistan, I came to know about certain initiatives that were to foster the human intelligence on the positive side.

7. Jacobsen: Islam maintains a long intellectual legacy unknown to much of the rest of the world, especially in relation to the geniuses in the Arab world. Who comes to mind for you? What periods of time represent the largest flowering of intellectual progress in this tradition?

Zuberi: We can start with Al-Khwarizmi, the father of “Al Jabr” (or Algebra), then we had Abu Nasar Al Farabi (or Alpharabius), Abu Ali Sena (or Avicenna), Abu Rayhan Al Biruni, and the father of modern surgery Al-Zahrawi (or Abulcasis)and all are from the Islamic golden age that was around 650-750 AD.

There was also much progress made in the modern times until the WWI, but that was divided between the rival Caliphates (Khilafah or Kingdoms) and later Nationalism even destroyed the Arabs, which still exists to date and can be seen in the present-day Arab world.

8. Jacobsen: How have the early graduation and M.B.A. helped with personal and professional life? When would education acceleration be inappropriate for a highly gifted child?

Zuberi: Early graduation didn’t help me much compared to starting work at an early age. I started my work life right after my 12th grade. This helped me a lot when I started my M.B.A. and even resulted in attaining high GPA and scholarship. The education acceleration should come when the gifted child is made aware of his potential and at the tender age. Too much pressure may also result in a negative result at an early age.

9. Jacobsen: What are the benefits of multilingualism, being a polyglot? What downsides come from it?

Zuberi: Multilingualism is always helpful. It helps kids open more to respect others, be it culture, language, or cuisine. To me, it helped in understanding others, guiding others (literally also I served as a tour guide), and interact with humans of another race, colour, and ethnicity.

10. Jacobsen: What was the PR company? How did this develop and influence professional life? Why focus on a PR company?

Zuberi: Public Relation Consultancy, the best part of PR is that it comes naturally. It is a normal interaction with people around us. The relationship with the public, where the public is everyone. Starting from the time we wake up and the first person that we see, it can be wife, kids, siblings, mother, father, to the first person we meet outside our house. To the office, on the way, until we return to our bed, how good are we with every other human being. So, for me, it became a passion more than a profession. That is one core reason, I never looked back.

In the professional base, we advise brands on how to interact with their public. Customers, partners, management, staff, employees. Each and every one with whom the brand interacts considering brand itself as an individual. To start a 2-way communication, listen to others and share your story, your good side, with them.

11. Jacobsen: How can a high-IQ be a detriment in life?

Zuberi: Like every good thing, there are good and bad sides to it. If not controlled, or tamed, high IQ can be as explosive and destructive as any bomb and can result in negativity. A high IQ person with a negative attitude can cause serious harm.

Gifted people can easily turn into an anti-social person, due to acceptability and difficulty in making others understand their thoughts. and this, at times, diverts them towards ill for the society and people in general.

12. Jacobsen: Let us talk about the distinct functions and facets of Mensa Pakistan: how many members? 

Zuberi: Considering the fact that Pakistan is the 6th most populous country in the world, with an estimated population of 210 million (*approx –  2018), Mensa Pakistan is still a very small chapter.

In my tenure since 1999 as GS, and then in 2000 onward as the Chairman, we had almost 10,000 qualifiers but majority of them were high school students and a Mensa qualification was one of the point-scoring sheets for them and majority, nearly 60% went abroad for high studies and hardly 5-7% returned until date.

At this date, we stand at only 300+ members in good standing but are in contact with almost 1200, who are either too busy or too old to be worth the membership.

13. Jacobsen: What demographics remain a part of Mensa Pakistan? 

Zuberi: Demographically, we are present in 3 big cities, namely Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, with active chapters, though have conducted tests in almost 18 cities across Pakistan. Gender-wise it’s a good M:F = 48:52 % mix and most are aged between (16 – 35) with few exceptions including myself.

14. Jacobsen: What other Mensa groups frequently associated with Mensa Pakistan?

Zuberi: We work very closely with British, Canadian, and US Mensa chapters, mostly for membership transfers. In addition, I have played my part in the development of Mensa chapters in Indonesia, and the UAE, and maintain good relations with them.

In Pakistan, we have hosted visiting Mensan from 6 countries to date; namely from Germany, Finland, India, Indonesia, Norway, and the Philippines.

15. Jacobsen: What does Mensa Pakistan provide for its members?

Zuberi: Mensa Pakistan provides its members mainly with the platform to utilize their high IQ skills in a positive manner. In addition, we provide our members with hands-on work opportunity in management, leadership, finance, and marketing. Our senior members serve as mentors for youngsters for guidance, career advises, scholarship opps, and internships.

16. Jacobsen: What is the average standard deviation IQ score of the members?

Zuberi: The minimum accepted score on the Harcourt’s FRT Tests is 135 in the 98th %ile and the average score is in the 99th percentile among qualifiers. Whereas among general populations, we have had an average of 75%ile in the Urban areas; whereas, in the rural areas, it was 65%.

17. Jacobsen: What is the relationship between Mensa at 2-sigma and other high-IQ groups at 3-sigma and 4-sigma?

Zuberi: I am not much familiar with other IQ groups as none are present in Pakistan.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Chairman, Mensa Pakistan.

[2] Individual Publication Date: September 22, 2018:; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019:


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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