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Showing posts from August, 2007

Young MBA Graduate

I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but there's a running joke in our class (at least in our section) about "The Young MBA Graduate", made famous by our Economics professor, Dr. Federico Macaranas.

As Prof. Macaranas' story goes, he gives little nuggets of wisdom to this unnamed and fictitious young MBA graduate (hence the name) who struggles mightily in Economics. Prof. Macaranas would share little parables of how knowing Economics separates the good MBA's from the rest and having little Economics knowledge can get you fired.

I guess the fact that the class jokes about it a lot, even on other classes, is a truism to the notion that comedy is about truth (Economics is a difficult course) and pain (We, as students of the Economics class, are screwed). Maybe its our way of coping with the stress and pressures of MBA school life.

Call it a joke or a coping mechanism or whatever you like. In the end, that is what we students want to be: a Young MBA…

Placement of Confidence

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Yesterday, AIM's Career Management Services (CMS) held an orientation for the first year MBA students. While the content of the orientation is very informative, one set of statistic struck me: In 2006, the MBA class graduates were placed 100%.

What makes this very relevant to me is that when I was doing my research for a business school, one of the flags that going to the Asian Institute of Management was its approach to student career placement: it was all up to the student! I was reading through a few forums dated 2004 and the feedback on the career placement was generally negative.

The CMS was created in 2005 to address the placement concerns and the rise of placement rates was meteoric since. Three years in to coordinating with companies via trips and on-campus recruitment, the CMS was able to turn a virtual zero into 100%. I guess that puts our batch and future MBA classes in very good hands, career-wise.

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Another activity we had during the CMS Orientation was the election of S…

Cycles

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With almost a month going into the 16 month MBA program here at the Asian Institute of Management, I'm starting to get a better feel of the working cycle of an MBA student. What seems to be an unending cycle of "case-discuss-exam-rest" is starting to emerge and like any other cycle, there times when you up there and there are time when you are down and out.

At this point in time, I think I'm starting to go to the "up" phase of my cycle:
I just received my score for the QA quiz last Friday and I'm glad to say I got a nice score in that one. (20/20)
As I've mentioned in a previous post, I got a decent grade in my LOB quiz.On the first WAC, I got a decent HP-.
The AIM Blogger is rising up the Google search engine rank for the keyword "MBA Blogger" (Rank# 17 as of this writing).I've also been able to find the time to play basketball with the other MBA guys.However, there seems to be looming challenges, which would be the "down" cycle…

Q & A with Larry Tan

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Hilario "Larry" G. Tan is our well-respected teacher for the Language of Business (LOB) class in the MBA program. His expertise in accounting and finance is drawn from his experience in working with some of the biggest accounting and audit firms in the Philippines. He is also the Program Director of the Pre-MBA program.

His tips of "reading between the lies" of financial statements and making things "clear as mud" have undoubtedly made strong impressions with the members of the MBA class. He was very kind enough to answer a few questions on LOB-- how it was handled during his time and how to pass his class with flying colors:

The AIM Blogger (TAB): In your opinion, what has changed from the Language of Business (LOB) class you took in your MBA to the
class you are teaching now?
Larry Tan (LT): When I took my MBA, we had only three sessions in LOB, one was a video showing on basic accounting, and another two sessions of reading annual reports of different comp…

Fixer Upper

MBA classes have been gaining steam this week and it was inevitable for me to feel the pressure. The past few days have been characterized by sleep deprivation, increased consumption of caffeine and the urge to argue with anybody in sight (especially in class). Judging from the decreasing energy from the members in the class, it's safe to say I am not the only one hitting the wall, so to speak.

So when we had our communication workshop for our Management Communication (MC) activity yesterday, I felt it was a great way to release the stress and tension everybody was feeling. Our facilitator for the workshop, the talented and accomplished Ms. Ana Valdez-Lim (or Teacher Ana), lead the session on Improvisational acting or "improv," which aimed to help us be at ease during public communication.

We had a few improv actors to help get the session going and our class had a chance to do some improv acting exercises where everybody was practically jumping up and down, making weird s…

Losing Grip

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Pressure is defined as the amount of force per unit of area. Imagine a strong force being applied to a city block. That's the pressure here in AIM.

I have to admit, I really thought the pressure couldn't get any higher than the levels of the Pre-MBA, where everyone was hellbent on catching up on Financial Accounting. Well, the pressure seems to be rising and coming from all sides as the days go by-- undue stress from dealing with the expectations in class, CAN group discussions, personal matters inside and outside of AIM is really hitting the roof.

Where is this pressure coming from? Here's my list:
Quizzes - We have two major quizzes this week and I'm not yet that confident with my knowledge and skills. I've performed rather poorly in an exam (albeit ungraded), and I really want to do better. Management of this pressure is contingent on my study efficiency, time management and retention.CAN Group Discussions - Dealing with people is never 100% perfect and my CAN grou…

Scenes from the First WAC Night

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The first WAC night was marked by MBA students from AIM pulling all-nighters. Some finished early, some were able to send their case analysis just before the 8am deadline. Regardless of whether someone cruised past the case or ground it out, lessons on time management, focus and stress management were learned. Speaking of the case, a case by our very own Prof. Ricky Lim on a Quantitative Analysis/Marketing problem was given.

Here are some images taken just as the cases were dropped on our pigeon holes:

My trusty pigeon hole, bringer of case packs and WACs:

MBA students flocking the pigeon hole area:

My classmate Prashant with the case:Neil Risos is all smiles in this one:

Cheska Herrera picks her case gleefully:

Kanishka wants to show the world his case:

These guys are ready for action:

Archit (right) may be taking his case seriously:

Ruchak Mehta (left) and Berto Siahaan (right) ready to take on the case:

Harneet picks his, while Pankaj looks on:

Saurabh is probably too happy to see his case:

First of Many Fridays

August 17, 2007 will remembered by the first batch of AIM 16-month MBA students as their first WAC night. WAC or Written Analysis of Cases is a stand-alone course where students are required to write a paper relating to our other courses (Language of Business, Quantitative Analysis, Marketing Management, etc.) on a case analysis format. We get our cases and instructions on a Friday at 5 o'clock and we are supposed to submit the paper on the following Saturday at 8 o'clock in the morning.

The WAC course is one of the hallmarks of taking one's MBA at the Asian Institute of Management. Writing an analytical paper on a topic yet to be announced with the extraordinary time constraint, I would imagine, would be taxing and laborious. Another kicker in the situation is that each paper would be checked and evaluator by a different person every week, therefore, a good paper you write will get good grades this week and using the same approach can get you a low mark the next.

I personal…

Toughness

We received our final Learning Team (or CAN group) assignments last August 14 and the team composition is not very different from the team I was part of during our Team Building Activity the previous week. With the new additions, I personally feel that the new group, while more diverse, requires a lot of toughness on my part. Why? In my opinion, our CAN group has some of the most vocal and argumentative students therefore a great deal of fortitude is needed.

We have learning a lot on teams from our Human Behavior and Organization class with Prof. Jun Borromeo, but really dealing with high-performance groups in real life is the best teacher. The oft-quoted stages of team development (Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning & Transforming) do happen and I feel we are no exception. The group has eight members, four Filipinos and four Indians. We have five with Engineering/IT backgrounds and three business and finance backgrounds. A pretty solid group if you ask me. (Alth…

Thinking in Bullets

The Economics classes under Prof. Macaranas have been deep dives into economic concepts that even the case discussions have been centering on theory. I can't blame him though-- his personal mission is to help us become fundamentally sound with Economics and make us appreciate the economics forces around us. He has even required our MBA class to read the Wall Street Journal and try to make sure we understood the headlines and business sections, not just the features section.Who would have thought?: The intensive and rigorous handling of Pre-MBA program a couple of weeks ago is turning out to be a masterful move by AIM. I personally feel that the Financial Accounting and Quantitative Analysis boot camps toughened me up mentally and, in a way, prepared me to the workload of the MBA proper.
Observation #1: I also realized the use of weekends during my MBA: catching up on my readings.As of this writing, the CAN groupings have not yet been assigned. (CAN Groups are the learning teams eac…

Q & A with Prof. Ricky Lim

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Prof. Ricky Lim, Associate Dean of the Washington SyCip Graduate School of Business of the Asian Institute of Management, was very gracious to answer a few questions about AIM, current events and prospective MBA students:

The AIM Blogger (TAB): In your opinion, what makes AIM very relevant today?
Ricky Lim (RL): This is the Asian century. The balance of economic power is swinging to Asia, particularly China and India. Understanding how these countries work is an imperative, because much of the production and brain power will come from these two countries--together they form what? 2.4 billion people, about a third of humanity.

But we smaller Asian countries play a role as well. You know Filipinos are the workers of the future. Have suitcase, will travel to just about anywhere, do anything. And send back 15 billion dollars a year. The Philippines may well be the new paradigm of economies: everything outsourced, nothing produced. Ditto for complex Indonesia, one of the last …

Bollywood Villain

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The person shown in the image above is Gulshan Grover, a well-known Bollywood actor. Why is his face appearing on a blog about MBA at the Asian Institute of Management? Well, there's a little story behind that.

Yesterday, August 10, 2007, we had a team building activity where the whole MBA class was divided into learning teams and each team were asked to do a couple of activities. Our group was composed of four Indians, two Filipinos and one British-Filipino. The theme of the team building activity was working on cross-cultural teams. The day was split in two sessions-- a task that had each individual assess his or her sources of excitement and anxiety when relating to people of different cultures and a group activity called "The Amazing Lunch," where each group had to do something adventurous together.

Given that the majority of the group was comprised of Indians, the reference to Bollywood came from the unlikeliest of places. During our group discussion and reflection on…

Shoveling Crap

The good thing about MBA at AIM is the professors are receptive and sensitive enough to know when a student is spewing out motherhood "world peace" that borders on being classified as fluffy crap type of answers during discussions. The bad thing though is some students take some time to know when to get a clue when the facilitating professor is cuing that student to hit the breaks.

Our classes in the last two days are generally manageable. We had our first sessions for Marketing Management (MM) under Prof. Jose Miranda and Management Communication (MC) under Prof. Gloria Chan yesterday. Those two subjects provide sanctuary from the Language of Business class of Prof. Larry Tan. Then today, we got our first taste of Human Behavior and Organization (HBO) under Prof. Jun Borromeo and Economics (ECO) under Prof. Federico Macaranas.

Our HBO class has got to be most open field for "world peace" and "touchy feely" discussions. I won't cite names but I was prac…

The Convocation

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The Asian Institute of Management held a convocation at the SGV Caseroom for the new batch of MBA students yesterday. It was the first time that almost all of the new students were all in one room, with the folks who did not attend the Pre-MBA joining in on the action.

Here are some pictures I took. (Please take note that I am in no way claiming to be an expert photographer).

MBA students trickling in the SGV Caseroom:

Thankfully everyone was prompt:

More MBA students filling up the caseroom:

Indian MBA classmates: Kshitij, Armita and Shweta:
The event was hosted by Prof. Maurino Bolante and he did a fantastic job of keeping the energy high.

Asian Institute of Management Dean Prof. Victoria Licuanan gave a brief but inspiring talk:
Prof. Ricardo Lim giving one of his trademark speeches, giving us an overview of the MBA program at AIM:
The class listening intently(?):
A pair of seniors give a testimonial on life at AIM:
A better view of the SGV caseroom:
Mr. Rey R. Reyes explaining the functions…

An End and A Beginning

A few hours ago, the Ateneo De Manila University's Graduate School of Business (AGSB) and School of Government (AGS) held its commencement exercises. Being a graduate of the Information Technology cluster of the AGSB, it was a momentous occasion.

I had a chance to reflect on the messages of the Dr. Alfredo Bengzon, the event's invited speaker and Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, president of the university. I've outlined the points that struck me positively:
"Reducing inequality is the highest form of human achievement." - I really liked this statement Dr. Bengzon quoted from Bill Gates. Dr. Bengzon related that the graduating class has the privilege to see both ends of the spectrum of social classes, with the Philippines being a country of having rich and poor sectors being very egregious. We are graduates are in a position to help reduce the gap and make the country our business.The Ateneo Way - The values of excellence, service and cura personalis are not that differen…

Momentary Glory

Glory is fleeting indeed.

I went to Ateneo to pick up my graduation kit. It consists of the regalia (graduation dress), the graduation cap, program, tickets and my full set of graduation pictures (I'll upload them soon.). I really felt proud that I'm done with my MS in Information Management and there's really nothing like walking around the campus as a graduation candidate. You feel that sense of entitlement.

But like waking from a nice dream, I went to AIM and boom-- the second brain-busting Financial Accounting exam was in front of me. The exam really shows that finance is one of the Asian Institute of Management's strong points (and one of my improvement areas). AIM MBA students are expected to have the knowledge of a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) by the the time the financial courses are done. I'm sure that possible, but it's like expecting a newbie programmer to be a SCJP (Sun Certified Java Programmer) in two months-- It's possible, but it's a …

Another Blogger from AIM

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I'd like to cite one of my MBA classmates who is into blogging-- Ravi Shekhar.

He shares his thoughts on the Pre-MBA program we're taking. To quote his blog:

Probably it has something to do with the fact that its been almost 5 years now when I'd last lived a student life but I'm sure finding it difficult to cope with the pressure. Now what am I supposed to do today?? Even If I don' sleep tonight as I've to read more than 100 pages of theory and have to solve many problems alongwith submitting an assignment what will I do tomorow then?? As therz going to be a quiz on day after tomorrow!!!

It's very interesting to we have the same sentiments on how to cope with the Pre-MBA pressure so far. But I'm sure we'll all push through. Are there any more AIM bloggers out there?

Me Versus Accounting: Accounting Wins

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The results of our first quiz in Financial Accounting for the Pre-MBA course are out. Here's my not so sensational score:


If you ask me, my 42 out of 85 (49.4%) score is reflective of what I currently know about Financial Accounting. This assessment means I really need work on knowing the terminologies of accounting and know the effects of tweaks such understatements and overstatements on the accounting equation. I think I was able to narrow most of the 4-choice questions down to a 50-50 decision, but it seems I'm really not there yet. I'm trying to be positive about things but I can't say I'm totally happy. Who likes a low test score anyway?

This test score somehow casted some doubt on my ability to handle the MBA for a few seconds. I then looked at the big picture-- two weeks ago, I didn't really know that revenue is different from income, that debit and credit just means the opposite sides of a balance sheet and what accruals and deferrals mean. I probably sco…