April 14, 2008

Live Blogging at the WSGSB Dean's Forum

I'm blogging at the forum hosted by the MBA Program Administrators with W. SyCip Graduate School of Business Dean Victoria Licuanan and Associate Dean Ricky Lim. The forum is meant to address the current students' concerns on current burning issues.

Prof. Licuanan started the event and Prof. Lim then proceeded to shed some light on the EQUIS accreditation issue. Prof. Lim outlined the points in which AIM faced with the EMFD. The points were primarily grounded on the faculty, diversity and governance. The final issue was centered on the AIM Faculty Association tiff and Prof. Lim said the school is not entirely agreeable with the findings on that point.

Prof. Licuanan just shared the number of schools with the EQUIS, AMBA and AACSB. She pointed out that the accrediting bodies do give recommendations for constant improvement. She also said that the EQUIS accreditation leans towards academic research, something AIM is not doing much of. She relates that AIM's thrust have always been practitioner-based research and developing competent managers. The biggest point, according to Prof. Licuanan, that AIM had disagreements with was the governance issue. She said that the governance issue prompted the school to withdraw the application and pursue the accreditation in two years.

In terms of other items, Prof. Lim said that the exchange programs and placement efforts would not be affected much by the EQUIS application withdrawal. He said that the last thing companies look at in the MBA graduate is the accreditation. As for the style considerations on removing the AACSB plaque on the school's main lobby, Prof. Lim clarified that accredited schools do not actually place the plaques and certifications prominently.

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Prof. Lim opened the floor to questions from our class and I was able to catch some of the first few questions:

  • "Why it took long to talk to MBA students?" - Prof. Licuanan apologized for the delay, and she pointed out timing problems. She said that they should have held a forum earlier.
  • "Are we set to lose the AACSB?" - Prof. Licuanan said that they are launching initiatives to avoid that from happening, such as beefing up the research front.
  • "How can we deal with the external community's impression of the accreditation withdrawal?" - Prof. Lim said that they would be launching public relations campaigns to soften the blow. He also shifted to the issue of placement and said that the school would be more interested in enhancing its image on that respect.
  • "What is the value of the EQUIS accreditation?" - Prof. Lim said it's a seal of approval and a way of telling the school what to improve on. Prof. Licuanan said she appreciated the feedback the EMFD gave, because 'it makes you look and the mirror and see your warts and pimples," and lets you know what you need to work on.
After those questions, I chimed in and brought up the issues raised by a "Concerned Alumnus" from this blog. Frank Shrope, one of the members of the MBA class, read most of the points put forward. Prof. Licuanan and Prof. Lim addressed the points one by one, even saying that the "alumnus'" comparison of batches is like comparing apples to oranges. They assured the batch that they acknowledge the points and they will act on them.

My blog post started a string of tough questions, and in my opinion, Professors Licuanan and Lim are now more aware of the internal issues our class is contending with every day. The forum evolved to a more constructive activity when the class offered suggestions on how things could be improved. I personally feel that the forum brought closure to a great majority of internal and external issues.

While it took our school's leaders some time to hold this forum, I appreciate our the Deans' efforts in confronting the issues head on and I trust that they will do their best in acting on issues and keeping WSGSB competitive.

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With five days left before the last official day of our core subjects, I find it fitting that many of the issues have been laid to rest. If there is one lesson I could see from the events in the past week, it is that AIM needs all stakeholders-- the leadership, faculty, students and alumni-- to continue to improve and remain in Asia's top echelon of business schools. Issues and problems will always spring up in a lot of places and it is the having the courage to question, confront and act on the big and small issues will be the key to staying relevant in today's competitive global environment.

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As always, feel free to email me at regnard (at) raquedan.com for questions.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

What was the reaction of your classmates? Was the accreditation issue the only concern(s) they raised?

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't AIM conduct a survey of its recruiters to determine if, for example, they would stop recruiting at AIM because it's no longer accredited by Equis and might not apply for AACSB re-accreditation?

Regnard Kreisler C. Raquedan said...

@ anonymous (1):

The class raised internal class issues such grades and mentoring, among other things.

@ anonymous (2):

From what I gathered earlier, the Deans have learned from experience that accreditations carry minimal weight in the actual job application and interview process. The see the accreditations as a "seal of approval" for that the school is doing.

Anonymous said...

You know the saying "67.354 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot." So while it may well be that "accreditations carry minimal weight in job application and interview," wouldn't it be nice to have some HARD data for a change, the kind that comes from a valid and reliable survey? Then maybe students (current and future) won't worry that their placement chances are now greatly diminished.

Regnard Kreisler C. Raquedan said...

@ anonymous (3):

I'm still not sold on that idea, personally. There should be a good cost/benefit balance.

Given the dynamism of the global job market, a 6 month survey would be useless in 2 years, and by that time, the EQUIS accreditation may already have been re-obtained by AIM.

I find the last sentence in your comment a bit alarming-- I don't imagine myself being told "I'm sorry I can't offer you a job because your school is not accredited by XXX." I believe I'm the only entity who can greatly diminish my chances of securing a great career.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to alarm you. I only meant that if students were worried of the impact (of the "de-accreditation") on their job prospects, then hearing it from the recruiters would assuage such fears.

Truth be told, the school's reputation is only one way of opening the recruiter's door. The alumni's reputation is probably more effective. Once that door is open then, as you put it, you're the only one who will diminish your employement chances.

Regnard Kreisler C. Raquedan said...

@ anonymous (4):

No worries, I know that placement is a HUGE deal to a lot of people and I'm just being practical. :)