Jefri Zaini

Deputy Director of Action Learning

The Deputy Director of Action Learning has been with ASB since November 2016. An engineering graduate of MIT, he started his career in tech in Silicon Valley before moving into consulting, where he travelled extensively implementing solutions in a multitude of industries around the world. Never settling, this creative and experiential learner hopes to create the market-ready leaders of tomorrow here at ASB, through the advancement of the Action Learning Program.

In one or two sentences tell us what you do? Or what does your typical day look like here?

I help source Action Learning (AL) projects for our MBA students. This involves meeting potential host companies (wherever in the world they may be), sharing with them the value our students can provide, and then deciding collaboratively on a project scope and deliverables that will benefit all stakeholders. After that, we assign students to the project (based on students and hosts preferences and diversity), make all the introductions, and ensure the project runs smoothly till completion. We know we have done a good job when the host company comes back wanting more projects!

What kind of project are you currently working on?

Currently, it is mid-semester so all students are working on their respective AL project. In addition to sourcing projects for next semester (always ongoing), we are also busy preparing for our first Unconference in Bangkok where the students will be presenting their findings and recommendations to their respective host company, followed by an unconventional conference where we discuss the future of work and the future of talent.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Every day is different. Every Action Learning project is uniquely different and this necessitates living one of our ASB values: continuous learning. In addition, the diversity within ASB means we consistently receive multiple views and ideas when facing challenges. To top it all off, the ASB culture gives us the freedom to experiment, try new things, and fail forward. At ASB I feel that every experience and challenge is a learning opportunity.

What are you most proud of so far?

Being a new school, I’m most proud of the distinctiveness of our Action Learning program. Poets and Quants (the most popular online magazine for prospective MBA students) quotes that ASB “… can rightly claim having the most innovative MBA program in the world today.” It’s validating for a young school like ASB (founded barely 3 years ago) to receive such recognition. My reaction though is: “Great! Thank you! What’s next?”

Can you tell me a little about the team you have been working with?

I work with a small but extremely productive team. Working with the AL team is like racing a car while simultaneously upgrading the engine at full speed! We are continuously learning and adapting to new challenges while pushing ourselves to improve. One of our team’s motto is: “If it ain’t broke, we make it better!”

What do you think is the most unique aspect of ASB?

Action Learning is the core of the ASB curriculum and the school’s differentiating factor.

The open and understanding approach from leadership allows us to experiment freely and be creative. Instead of focusing on problems, we focus on the solutions. As employees, we are empowered to take ownership of our projects.

What have you learned from working with the students and hosts?

I learned about the value of collaboration and relationship building. Coming from an engineering background, I was more invested in the quantitative skills (called “sharp skills” at ASB). ASB has taught me that building long lasting relationships with students and hosts (an important skillset we call “smart skills”) is what I was lacking all this while.

What makes ASB a good employer?

ASB is a great employer to people that are mission driven and want to make a difference in the world.

The culture encourages us to experiment and be creative. We don’t just say it, we actually do it.

I find it motivating to come to work every day alongside a very diverse set of people from all over the world.