Siti Najaa Zulkifli
Senior Academic Associate
How long have you been with ASB?
So far (as of May 2019) it has been an exciting 1 year and 3.5 months. And counting.
In one or two sentences tell us what you do? Or what your typical day looks like here?
I am one of the academic associates here at ASB. Starting Fall 2018, I have been made an exclusive academic associate for Action Learning (AL). While I still support the other courses, my main job is to support Action Learning (AL) program. As AL runs every semester (for both cohorts), my work can be divided into 3 phases:
1) Pre-semester: This is when I spent a lot of my time working on the AL syllabi (aka working on “making the sausages”) with the Faculty Director, Prof Loredana and AL Team members. It is a lot of work to optimize the syllabi for the students’ learning taking into consideration their academic calendar, onsite travels, order/arrangement of tools to be taught in class, deliverables, panels and symposium. Then I set up the Moodle page ready to open the course in the beginning of the semester.
2) During semester: I help provide support to the daily class activities scheduled during semester. I also organize and run the panel sessions post AL onsites and handle most communications with students. Towards the end of semester, I support and organize our big event – the student symposium with the AL team.
3) Post-semester: I consolidate all the grading components and finalize the student grades with Faculty Director and release the grades to students.
What kind of project are you currently working on?
We are now in the third semester (for MBA20) where students are travelling to US for their fully-packed-1-month MIT-Trek. I am one of the AAs who is supporting MIT-Trek classes. I am so grateful to be given this opportunity to travel for the second time to MIT. It is one of the AAs advantages to learn from MIT professors while we are “on the job” as we sit in the classes. Truly a privilege and an opportunity not to be missed
What are you most proud of so far?
I am most proud to be working in the AL department. Our AL curriculum is the unique value proposition here at ASB that makes us different from all the other business schools the rest of the world. I am honored to be part of something this great. To be able to work in this core department and contribute to its growing success for ASB.
Can you tell me a little about the team you have been working with?
I could say I work in three teams.
1) Officially I belong to the AAs team. An excellent, collaborative and super talented team of AAs. We are like ninjas. ‘Hidden’ in the classrooms but we are ‘agile’ as we need to move ‘sharp’ and ‘smart’ dealing with our daily tasks.
2) Apart from that, I am also part of the AL team. A unique team with high chemistry lead by a Faculty Director and AL Directors.
3) Last but not least, I am also working in a small team of three with Associate Dean Prof. Loredana in delivering customized Executive Education program for our corporate partners.
What do you think is the most unique aspect of the company?
I would say the way ASB overly-stresses on its values. Honestly, when I first joined ASB, as HR showed me these values, never have I ever thought I would memorized it by heart. At ASB we value respect for people, excellence, well-being, continuous learning and collaboration. It has become the ‘culture of ASB’ that in everything we do and all the decisions we made, we always go back to ‘does it align with the values of ASB’.
What makes you good at your job?
I practiced a mantra that I learned from Prof. Loredana everyday. Proper prior preparation prevent poor performance. Upholding this 6Ps, allows for me to give my best performance on the job.
What are the biggest rewards for working with ASB?
One thing with working at ASB, is I am given the opportunity to explore other ventures. There will be room for experimentation to expand and grow as a person. This allows me to push my boundaries and challenge myself to work on a task I never expected I would do. Over a year at ASB, I worked beyond supporting “classes for the MBA courses”. Outside the four classroom walls, I helped organize AL events (including one in Bangkok), and was trusted to help organizing Exec Ed programs.
What are some challenges you face in your job, and how do you tackle them?
Working in a dynamic and fast-paced ‘junggle’ environment. I have to be very flexible and adaptable to changes. New tasks usually come in as we go. And we pivot a lot. Open-two way and constant communication with my line manager is critical in completing my job successfully. Another challenge is managing multiple stakeholders. AAs function as the bridge connecting Faculty-Students-AL Team-MBA Team. (Bear in mind this is not linear). It is critical for AAs to have good articulation and effective listening skills.
How do you think you can contribute to ASB’s growing success?
ASB mission is to be a premier business school that develops transformative and principled leaders who will contribute to a better future and advance the emerging world. I would regard my contribution as an AA is directly in the process of this development. On a micro level, giving my best in supporting the AL program, Faculty, and Students by creating a smooth class and learning experience. This will be one of the catalysts (that provide the “alternative pathway with lower activation energy” ie increasing the rate) for the transformation of talents to market ready leaders.