Thursday, November 18, 2010

Real Life Application on the Learning Team Level

During our LT discussions, I would pose questions which sometimes lead to the solution of our LBO cases. One of my learning teammates commended me for this. This kind of questioning helps me a lot in solving problems here or even during my past work. If this is my way of analyzing things, then I should continue doing it during our LT discussions.

My experience with my learning team made me realize that I can work on a team and that I can make significant contributions. During my first meeting with them, I was very shy to speak up. But later, I'm already sharing my insights quite confidently. This even extended to our class discussion in which one of my teammates noticed and told me of my improvement in class participation.

I think one of the best venue to hone my analytical, communications and time management skills as well as my self-confidence is our learning team and discussions. As such, I should struggle to participate in class more frequently because in so doing, I'm training myself to think on my feet and communicate effectively what I have in mind. Synthesizing ideas to share during LT and class discussions requires a logical thinking and in participating actively in discussions I can breed this kind of attitude in me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Plan of Action for Harnessing my Strengths and Weaknesses

On harnessing my self-management.

1. Make it a habit to write a reminder for appointments (Nov. 2010 - Dec. 2011)
2. Check on the bottleneck of my daily activities and do some corrective actions on that (Nov. 18, 2010 - Nov. 20, 2010)

On harnessing my linguistic skills

1. Continue in writing blog (Nov. 2010 - Dec. 2011)
2. Read Wall Street Journal at least thrice a week (Nov. 2010 - Dec. 2011)

On harnessing my analytical skills

1. Participate actively in LT and class discussions (on-going)

  • I have improved on this so far. But I think I need to do more.
2. Spend more time in studying Financial Management subjects (Dec. 2010 - Mar. 2011)
3. Continue the practice of "engaged reading" with the given cases (Nov. 2010 - Dec. 2011)
  • This helped me a lot in participating in the classroom.
On improving my self-confidence
1. Interview Prof. Gracia S. Ugut

  • I have done this interview. The conversation went well and I got valuable insights from Prof. Ugut. At this time, I think my Power Distance Index is getting low.
2. Deliver a talk to former colleagues on taking up an MBA.
  • I discussed with my former colleagues the imperative of pursuing an MBA and why they should do it at AIM. The presentation went well. In this exercise, I learned so many things. First, I wrote a letter to the HR Director. In writing this letter, I got a practice on better letter writing. Second, I prepared the presentation the way Prof. Borromeo taught us. Third, during the presentation, I gained more confidence.
On improving bodily kinesthetic

1. Swimming at AIM Pool (Nov. 2010 - Dec. 2011)
2. Jogging (Nov. 2010 - Dec. 2011)

On improving my grasp of details.

1. Take down notes of the specific details from the case and draw diagrams when necessary (Nov. 2010 - Dec. 2011)
2. Enganged listening to learning teammates during discussions (Nov. 2010 - July 2011)

Presentation about AIM at Fluor Daniel, Inc. - Philippines

I was discussing to the participants the benefits of pursuing an MBA.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kowloon House

Being an avid lover of Chinese foods, I would always want to dine in Chinese restaurants or even in Chinese fast food chains. My love for Chinese foods began when I was a little child when we would always dine in Chinese restaurants in Legazpi City. These restaurants are among the best in the area and restaurant itself is very homey.

Having discovered Kowloon house several days ago, I've been visiting it frequently because I like the taste of their sharksfin siomai, siopao and beef wanton noodles.

While dining in this restaurant, I suddenly remembered the assignment in HBO. So I thought of doing that assignment at that time and I started observing the serving crew. In so doing, I'm hitting two birds at the same time.

Based on what I had observed, the members of the serving crew were tired. They were wary of serving a number of customers which had great demand for their services. In fact, the cashier is also doing food preparation and serving tasks. The crew cannot deliver promptly what the customer's needs. It seems, that the members of the serving crew just have a mindset of doing their job and nothing more. I don't think they even find contentment nor meaning in their job. They just have to do it do earn a living.

Despite of this however, I will still dine at Kowloon House because the food's taste compensate much more than the inconveniences brought about by the wearied crew. Just like in our households, we just have to understand them because any how they make our life a little bit convenient.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Interview with Professor Gracia S. Ugut, Associate Dean of AIM EXCELL

                         The author with Professor Gracia S. Ugut, Associate Dean of AIM EXCELL

One of my goals in managerial communication is to be at ease when talking to an authority. To achieve this goal, I interviewed Prof. Gracia S. Ugut, the Associate Dean of AIM EXCELL. The interview proceeded as follows:

JMB: What are the management's plan for AIM in the next three to five years?
GSU: The goal of management right now are beating the competition, retain reaccreditation and explore opportunities in the region more aggressively.

JMB: How has AIM become a prime mover of economic development in the Philippines?
There are those who asked me why is it that AIM has good academic programs yet the economic situation in the country is not good. My reply was, we have no control over the political situation. Despite of that AIM has strong feeling to contribute to national development. Our mandate is to train young leaders in the country because it is imperative for them to gain good managerial foundations. AIM also gives out scholarships so that more Filipinos can study in the institute. We also have strong corporate base in executive education wherein we hone and promote the Filipino talent.

With our development work, we have the Center for Bridging Leadership for Societal Divides. Our team are working in Mindanao to address the issues that beset the Muslims and Non-Muslims there. The goal of which is to end the conflict by training young Muslim leaders so that they can resolve amicably whatever differences they may have with Non-Muslims. In addition to that, the institute also has advocacies against corruption in the government as well as advocacies for improving the business climate.

JMB: Right now, what are the challenges that beset AIM considering the Philippine economy is stagnating and our neighboring countries are progressing?GSU: This is the turning point for the Philippines. We should encourage more business in the country. Though our progress is hampered by political bickering which we hope to be minimized. There is no shortage of Filipino talent. But where are they? They are working abroad because there is scarce employment opportunity here. This has enormous social cost with children growing up without the guidance of their mother or father who are working abroad. This is the challenge for our government to provide our citizens with employment.

Filipino talent is very competitive and we don't take advantage of this. The best that we can do is to hone this talent through education and that is now the challenge to AIM.

JMB: As a teacher, what is your ideal student?GSU: I do not know in this country why are the brightest doctors would take up nursing just to go to the US. As a doctor, they could have done something more. Now, we have shortage of doctors in various towns. If this will continue, then what will happen to the healthcare system of this country. My ideal student therefore is the one who stays to serve this country and in the practice of his or her profession he or she maximizes his or her potential.

Another characteristic of my ideal student is his or her desire for continuous learning. In every stage of our life, we have an opportunity to learn and we have to take advantage of that.

I would also like to emphasize to you MBA students that your studies here is not just for the purpose of getting grades. You have to realize that your MBA is a learning exercise and it is given that you will stumble several times. But you have to learn from it. We do that for the purpose of producing managers who are very good decision makers, capable of leading people and value-oriented individuals.

Disclaimer: The response of Professor Ugut was reworded by the author.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Reflections on Myself: The PSI, MI and AIM-EIM Indicators

Based on my results from the AIM-EIM, PSI and MI, I was able to to identify my top three areas of strength and top three areas for growth and improvement.

My top three areas of strength are as follows:

Self-management. On this aspect, I believe I can manage well my studies. During my earlier days here at AIM, I was still adjusting to the academic demands and to the enormous time required to devote to studies. During that time, I missed one lecture in economics and frequently would come to class late. But right now, I won't miss any class and I can allocate my time efficiently for studying each subject. This resulted to my better participation in class especially in LOB.

Linguistic. My strength on this aspect manifests whenever I respond to the cold call. Frequently, whenever I recite, my classmates would laugh. Not because my answers were wrong, but because I can put it in such a way that it is funny. During our LT discussions, I can communicate well to the group and my groupmates understand me well. I'm just thankful that I have the gift of words. I can write well and I was able to share this to others through my writing engagements in various publications since college days.

Analytical. In the LT sessions, I would pose questions that often times lead to better analysis of the case. Sometimes, we discovered the key to soving the problems in the case because of my questions.

The areas that I need to improve on are as follows:

Self-confidence. I'm too awkward when talking to someone like Prof. Macaranas, Prof. Tan or Prof. Lim. Maybe because I think of their authority or achievement and I'm just a minute being far inferior from them. Or maybe, it's because of too much respect for the elders in the way we were raised in the province.

Bodily Kinesthetic. I'm really not good in sports. Whenever I play basketball, it's so hard for me to shoot the ball. Now I would just want to try golf instead of basketball, because in basketball, in order for me to become a good player, I should have started it when I was a kid. But in golf, I can start it now and still be good at it through practice in the coming years.

Details. Sometimes in our LT discussion, I will share to them the general concepts, but I can't point specific details in the case. I'm not very good at connecting the case facts. I have to reread the case everytime specific details are needed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Conversations at Greenbelt

Yesterday, I had a dinner with a friend. This friend of mine was a great influence on my decision to take MBA at AIM instead of Harvard. Somewhere in the middle of our conversation, he said that after my MBA at AIM, I just have to do good in my job or in the business that I plan to put up and be like my profesors at AIM who are excellent in their respective fields. Hmmmmm.... it does make sense and I'm akin to follow that advice.

HBO Class

There's a pretty much interesting thing about this subject. Everytime, we have classes, our profesor would mention things that deeply penetrate my being. Some kind of an emotional touch, despite the tough demands of our course work. Some kind of oasis - a refuge were I get strength to go on.

My question is, "Is this a manifestation that I am learning?" I will know it very soon.

Managing Myself

Our activity on October 13, 2010 was related to managing oneself. This activity was helpful for me to discern my values in life.

I realized from this activity that the three things I want to make my life worthwhile are the following:

1. Doing something beneficial
2. Learning the dimensions of life one step at a time
3. Bringing positive force everywhere I go

Of the three most important things, doing something beneficial is the first thing that I can give up. Though it will cause discontent on my part, but I'm consoled by the fact that it is less essential than the other two.

I am quite fortunate because the "Angel of Death" took away my second priority which was learning the dimensions of life one step at a time. I am a lover of knowledge and I want to learn new things all the time. This loss definitely made me feel that half of my life was taken away and it was such a great paralysis. However, I realized that, this was not the end of my life. I still have life to be lived to the fullest which can be achieved through positivism. And this is what remains with me - a value for certain that will make my life meaningful.

Why do I value positivism?

I remember this tale of two guys who were handicapped and infirm. Both of them were lying in a hospital bed next to each other. Everyday, the guy next to the window would tell the other guy who was blind about the beautiful things he was seeing outside such as the colors of the cars passing by. Those stories amused the blind guy and he was enlivened despite of his misery. One day, the blind guy wondered why was the guy next to the window not talking and telling him stories. When the nurse came to the room, he asked her. The nurse responded, "your friend passed away early this morning." The blind guy wept and said, "now, no one will tell me what's happening outside this hospital." The nurse became skeptical and said to the blind guy, "how come that he's telling you those things? He cannot see what is happening outside because he is also blind."

This story teaches me one thing, positivism is contagious and it gives hope in times of great despair. That is why, let us try to bring positivism whenever we have a chance to do so.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tackling the Generational Barrier in the Workplace

Today, I learned from HBO the following:
1. There are various factors or markers that help shape our attitude.
2. To effect social cohesion, we have to overcome generational barrier.
3. Empathy is at the core of overcoming this barrier.
4. To make things better, we should be flexible enough with our people skills, we should have forbearance and we should discern the reasons for everything that happens around us.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Fellow MBAs

They are my fellow MBAs. So much to learn from the Indians.

The Socratic Teacher

Way back in college, I am in search of a better way of learning chemical engineering. When I had my boards review at the Brains Review Center, I met this professor who teach chemical engineering the Socratic way. Not fully aware of the efficacy of this method, I just realized later how much I learned from him.

Now, that I am at AIM I'm glad to experience the rigors of the Socratic way of learning. Indeed, our professors are the effectual Socrates that can make our learning meaningful

In search for meaning...

Sometimes, there are things in our life that are beyond our comprehension. We sometimes find ourselves in the midst of uncertainty and we have to ask ourselves, "what is this all about?"

Our life is full of such circumstances, that we keep on asking "why?" As Antoine de Saint-Exupery would verbalize it, "What is essential is invisible to the eye." What is really essential? Does essence gives meaning to our lives?

As we pass by the Zen graden of AIM, we will know. In our everyday academic pursuit we will see it all. As such, I'm inviting you to walk with me to Zen.