Asia School of Business

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3 Things I Value About the MBA for Working Professionals


It’s been close to six months since our first day in ASB! I must say it’s been a roller coaster ride, one with highs and lows, but always exhilarating. In sweet reminiscence, I received my first MBA in the late 1990s when I was offered a job in a multinational company and assigned to their Malaysian office.

At that time, the management theories I learned were occasionally useful at work, but as a young engineer focused on sizing pipelines (the demands of the day back then) and ensuring buckling theories do not become a reality, it was too early to have taken an MBA.

With the pains of working and studying still very fresh in my memory, I decided to attempt this second MBA for three reasons:

  1. By now I would have experienced many real-life issues and challenges at work
  2. The world has changed significantly and business models have evolved, so it is important for me to update myself through a structured and rigorous learning process
  3. I would not be earning a conventional MBA, but an entrepreneurial one that dared us to be “extraordinary and unconventional”

I’d like to share some of the monumental memories of my first semester:

1. We can’t describe ASB without talking about Action Learning

I touched on the value of an MBA that focuses equally on theory and practice. The gem within the ASB MBA for Working Professionals program is the Action Learning curriculum where this concept is demonstrated. Students carefully select company projects to undertake, and through a structured problem definition and problem-solving process, ASB faculty and business coaches work closely with students, providing us with concepts, tools and methods to ensure the best solution prevails. This results in students pitching to a panel of faculty members and company sponsors. If you’re lucky, you even get to present onstage at a symposium!

2. Pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones to become stronger

ASB provides many opportunities for growth – class participation, group collaborations and even video interviews! However, the most important challenge for working professionals is the ability to juggle family, work, and school. This is a mindset challenge. I think we, the first group of working professionals, are still trying to optimize how we juggle all these elements. Slowly but surely, we can see each other “evolving on our own terms.” I’m confident that by the end of the 22 months, butterflies will have emerged from their cocoons! Let’s wait and see.

3. Becoming a close-knit student and faculty community

I must admit, it was odd at first. ASB is a true melting pot and diverse set of people from all walks of life, cultures, ages and ambitions. And, dare I add, corporate moulds (working professionals) walk amongst free spirits (full-timers with entrepreneurial aspirations). Thanks to the respect and open-mindedness that ASB instills in us, classes and corridor talks have become more interesting and fun, taking our relationships beyond “just academics”.

This is my perspective of the first six months. It has been roller-coaster ride with exhilaration, but more importantly one that is filled with knowledge-building, network-forming and life-changing moments. I look forward to the next milestones in this journey with my newfound friends, who are all life teachers in their own right.