Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Perspectives Beyond Measure

“You’re wrong!”
These were the words uttered by our economics professor when illustrating a common student misunderstanding of economics concepts. 

I am not maligning my professor for his stern stand on the correct understanding of economics but he’s perfectly right in his approach.

Having a clear understanding not only of theoretical concepts but also of the situation at hand will at best steer us in the right direction.
The imposing façade of the Asian Institute of Management nestled
in the Central Business District of Makati in the Philippines 
800 plus cases and a significant number of reading materials made my cognitive load all-time high and it seemed thorough understanding of our readings was impossible. Shedding off my cognitive load by outsourcing to classmates was at times practical but more often than not inconvenient. Your classmates might not be able to divulge all the information as he/she also has cognitive limitations. Like in finance cases, whether you like it or not, you have to wade through the numbers in financial statements yourself.
To distribute these intentionally arduous tasks, the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) provides a way in the so-called Learning Teams which are smaller groups of students coming from diverse backgrounds. Before coming to class, we meet our Learning Team to discuss the case or in some instances prepare reports or projects together. This interaction alone provided rich perspectives from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. 

The Zen Garden, a haven for knowledge creation at AIM.
During case discussions in class, there was just overflowing perspectives emanating from brains honed by variety of experiences and there you’ll get to understand why one behaves this way and the other behaves that way. This also has bearing on how one approaches the case at hand.
The main advantage of the case method in my observation is the thorough understanding of business concepts, its practical uses as well as limitations. Add to this the richness of the case re-contextualization in the individual experiences of participants. An internalization of the protagonist’s case induces one to an eclectic blend of psychological, emotional, personal and to some extent spiritual beliefs and choices. It is now up to your distinctive style to tackle the case in the best way you can. You can just pull off tools or frameworks you can aptly use in your analysis.
This article will never be complete without mentioning my school. Nestled at the frontiers of Asia and the West, the Asian Institute of Management has a strategic mix of course offerings both on Asian and Western business systems. I would say it is not a Western management with Asian flavor but the right mix of what’s in the West and what’s in the East. This character emanates from its roots in Asian and Harvard founders.
At one time, AIM was touted as “the single institutional authority on Asian business.” True to this reputation, its faculty members have written numerous cases on businesses located in various Asian countries. Our professors creatively put together these materials in our economics and Asian Business Systems subjects. AIM also has partnerships with Asian Development Bank for some development projects in Asia and some of our professors were directly involved in it. With their experiences from these projects, they have rich insights on what will work and not work in Asian business.
All I can say is that an MBA experience can be the most meaningful one can ever have in his or her entire life. I have gotten this at AIM… different perspectives, right direction, that’s the hallmark of AIM education!

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