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.

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