September 14, 2007

Cocktails with the President

After the debacle that was the third Language of Business (LOB) exam, we had a scheduled cocktail with the President of the Asian Institute of Management, Francis G. Estrada.

The brief event started with a short talk by Mr. Estrada on the "New Asia," citing the new role of the region in the global economy. He also stressed how on the roles of Asian managers and entrepreneurs will be vital. The President's talk was full of insights, but what I found equally interesting was the Question and Answer portion that followed.

The Q&A was kicked off by Neil Risos by asking about AIM's decision to cut the MBA program from 24 months to 16 months. Mr. Estrada replied that there was a global trend of shortening the MBA and the decision was done with a lot of thought. He said that the academic brain trust of AIM was able to compress the parts and remove redundancies in the 24-month program and they are closely monitoring the progress of the situation.

I then asked about Mr. Estrada's student-related plans he hopes to implement during his tenure and he mentioned two things in reply: a plan to have alumni act as mentors to the students and another thing which I've forgotten (doh!).

Mr. Estrada also mentioned of a plan to extend AIM's presence to other locations in the region, where he mentioned countries like Indonesia, China and India as countries where AIM should have presence. Very interesting.

A very good advice Mr. Estrada gave was the importance of having crisp communication skills. He related how in his over 20 years experience in corporate investment banking, clear and crisp communication has been a key skill. He shared that he P&G style of memo-writing is best-- state your point from the start, then indicate the reasons for doing so. He even candidly shared how failure to communicate crisply has driven MBA grads to tears in frustration.

The evening was a good break from the activities we had this week and a good avenue to learn about updates on the institute.

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It's WAC night once again and it's good our schedule for the day was relatively light, with our LOB class getting canceled. My other highlight is the talk I gave at the Y4IT conference on Web 2.0. I really believe the classes in Management Communication (MC) was a great help in the success of my talk.

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