November 3, 2008

Prof. Ricky Lim's Interview at Pagalguy.com

Prof. Ricky Lim , Associate Dean of AIM's W. SyCip Graduate School of Business, recently had an interview published at Pagalguy.com. The website is known as a great resource for MBA studies all over the world for a lot of Indian prospective students.

Here's an excerpt of the interview:

Pagalguy: The Asian Institute of Management website claims the MBA program to be 'participative' and conforming to Henry Mintzberg's beliefs on MBA programs. Please give 3 examples that illustrate this, contrasting them against how those 3 situations would be handled in a regular MBA program in other b-schools.

RAL: In the MM and MBA we make students do a “walkabout.” This is based on the Australian aborigine custom of sending young men into the bush, to fend for themselves. In the AIM version we send students out on a mission of self-discovery. They stay away for a few weeks on projects of their choice—the professor should not interfere in this choice, nor are there pushed to do a corporate internship . Instead we ask students do something risky, very challenging, something they have not done before. The experience must be transformational. Students can build a well for a poor Filipino village, or start a reading library for a local community; one student decided to take dancing lessons, not having the experience in his entire life: he became quite a competent tango dancer! The lessons learned are not at all textbook, but in Mintzbergian fashion, the student learns from visceral experience, which makes learning sticky and permanent.

Mintzberg also wrote about how managers spend time kibitzing, walking around, communicating, and not necessarily thinking and planning. This is the way we learn, the way we make sense of the world. That describes the day of an AIM student: a continuous building and creative destroying learning cycle of evening discussion with can groups, the “learning” team of buddies that catch each other; the next day’s round of cases, typically 3 per day, 1.5 hour sessions of intense communicating, exchanging. There could be field work, group presentations, mock board room scenes, role plays, improvisational exercises.

Mintzberg believed that a true MBA student was international. Compared to our Asian competitors, we are probably more heterogeneous in class composition. AIM has active bilateral exchange programs with about 35 schools each year, in the US, Europe, and Asia. Our students get a chance to see other cultures for one semester, and AIM students in Manila interact with non-Asians as well: this semester 35 students, about 1/3 AIM’s total student body, came from Europe, South America, and Asia to enroll at AIM.
The full interview transcript can be accessed at the Pagalguy site .

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