ACTION LEARNING IN THE FULL-TIME MBA
Action Learning (AL) projects are the highlight of the MBA student experience at ASB. Our students embark on projects that are diverse and mission-driven – whether it involves observing a Thai airline’s turnaround process, conducting home interviews with Burmese women, optimizing the operations of a Malaysian e-commerce warehouse, or delivering a high-level, 5-year roadmap to the capital market regulators of Southeast Asia, the experience is anything but ordinary.
Imagine being out of the classroom and getting your hands dirty in a real-life business case anywhere from Cambodia to Greater China! Being located in the fastest growth region of Southeast Asia, our exciting AL projects are truly immersive, as our students have opportunities to travel to our corporate hosts to work on-site with them on their projects.
Since our inception in 2016, ASB has partnered with 173 host partners on 352 AL projects across 29 countries worldwide. We have worked in the following countries:
- Americas – Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States of America
- Asia-Pacific – Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam
- EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) – Germany, Ghana, Mauritius, Italy, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates
* Data is accurate up to Summer 2021
THE CYCLE OF LEARNING IN ACTION
There is simply no substitute for practical real-life experience to complement the theories in class, no matter how rigorous the classes are. We have built an entire curriculum around AL, one of MIT Sloan’s most recognizable assets, that bridges this gap.
ASB students rotate between spending time in the classroom learning the latest theoretical tools and frameworks taught by our MIT Sloan and resident faculty, and on-site at the host partner’s premises across Asia. Students work in diverse teams, supervised by our faculty and business coaches.
Our vigorous learning cycle is repeated several times throughout each project, perfecting students’ SMART and SHARP skills and chances of success.
ACTION LEARNING PROJECTS AND FOCUS
The Full-Time MBA program includes five AL projects, one during each term. Each AL engagement is semester-long, with a total of 4 weeks of on-site immersion, and our students spend up to one-third of their time working on Action Learning projects for up to five different host partners potentially across five different countries.
Each AL project includes 2-3 extended “on-site” visits, which involve travel to the host partner’s location or in the field to observe processes, meet with project stakeholders, and collect data for extensive analysis.
Project Schedule by Term
- Term 1 (Fall) – Malaysia-Based Team Project
- Term 2 (Spring) – ASEAN-Based Team Project
- Term 3 (Summer) – Summer Associate Program (anywhere in the world)
- Term 4 (Fall) – APAC-Based Team Project
- Term 5 (Spring) – Product Development Team Project
Typically, an ideal AL project would focus on problems that are critical (but not urgent) business issues, and of various functional areas of the company, whether in marketing, operations, supply chain, innovation, new market/product introduction, growth strategies, etc.
Projects culminate in an ‘Action Learning Symposium’ at the end of each term with over 200 attendees from host partners and other corporate partners of ASB. The Symposium provides opportunities to network and showcase value created for host partners.
BENEFITS FOR HOST COMPANIES
Extensive Faculty Engagement
Potential Economic Value
Access to Global Talent
BENEFITS FOR STUDENTS
Experience different industries, functions, and countries
Create resume-worthy impact to prepare for your next career move
Network with ASB’s corporate partners
Work with peer teams from all over the world
CHOOSING TEAM PROJECTS
An AL team project typically consists of 3-5 team members, and the matching process of ASB student teams with AL projects is a complex, multi-stakeholder process that requires careful consideration of various factors.
Step 1: Selecting Preferences
Before each term begins, students will receive a list of projects across multiple companies, industries, and functions, and they will have the opportunity to indicate their preferences.
The student biotable will be shared with the host partners.
Step 2: Team Assignments
ASB Faculty will decide on the teams, keeping in mind various factors, including preferences indicated by students.
Teams are announced at the start of each term and introduced to the host partners.
From term to term, students can prioritize projects in a particular industry, function or country, or choose highly diverse projects.
Students can manage their own AL experience based on their personal goals and aspirations.
How Four MBA Students Built a Business in the Jungles of Malaysia
Three of my classmates and I worked closely with the Orang Asli, Malaysia’s original inhabitants, in the Belum-Temengor rainforest. Read more >
How We Took Thai Airasia’s Operations to New Heights
This semester, I learned about In-Flight Operations with Thai AirAsia in Bangkok. The goal of the project was to assess the effectiveness of RFID technology. Read more >
SUMMER ASSOCIATE PROGRAM
ASB’s Summer Associate Program (SAP) experience is similar to that of a “summer internship.” Projects are completed on an individual basis and run for 8-12 weeks between June and August. SAP placements can be either student-sourced or ASB-sourced.
Student-sourced projects can take place anywhere in the world with any reputable organization, and students have the responsibility for securing the projects. Many students proactively search for their SAP host on their own. This exercise not only allows students to build and enhance their networking skills, but prepares them for their post-MBA full-time job search.
For those interested in starting a business after graduation, there is also an Entrepreneurship SAP Track available. Subject to the approval of a proposal, students are given a small budget to conduct market research and are tasked with developing a business plan at the end of the project.
ASB-sourced projects are offered by our network of host partners that are keen to gain access to high-caliber global talent, have ASB students bring new perspectives and managerial skills, and try out the fit of potential candidates for full time employment post-graduation. Upon the provision of a project, ASB will announce these opportunities to students and commence a recruiting process similar to that of a full-time engagement.
STUDENT SAP EXPERIENCES
How I Used My Summer to Build an Eco-Tourism Business
This summer, instead of choosing to be stuck in an office, I decided to develop a business plan for an eco-sustainable lodge for surfers on one of the islands in the Philippines.
How Meiyume Is Challenging the “Made in China” Stigma
During my SAP, I developed a commercialization plan for a new machine, worked on an account with a multinational cosmetics company, and pitched a range of 30+ innovation products.
This Summer, I Explored Business Opportunities in Coliving; Here’s What I Learned
In the past six weeks, I have visited coliving locations in New York City, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, and will be flying to Indonesia later this month to explore coliving companies in Bali.
Host an Action Learning project.