Your Smart & Sharp journey starts here
Extraordinary and Unconventional! Principled and Transformative! Future Market Ready!
This is the ASB promise to our future graduates! This is our DNA! But what skills do we have to build in our students to reach this goal? Soft skills? Hard skills?
Dictionaries define the word “soft” as smooth, mild, gentle, quiet, tender, and weak. But what’s soft about navigating competing perspectives and cultures; pitching and presenting projects; handling and delivering critical feedback; dealing with office politics? So why do we still refer to these skills as soft?
Analogously, “hard” is defined with words like firm, rigid, resistant, free of weakness, unlikely to change, harsh, severe. But should the so-called “hard” skills required today—such as coding, system dynamics, finance, accounting, statistics, mathematics, machine learning, engineering—be defined by these attributes? Considering the constant changes in technology, and the subsequent need for users to adapt, these characteristics hardly seem fitting.
At Asia School of Business we do not call these fundamentally important skills soft and hard, instead we have replaced them with “smart” and “sharp”, along with a pedagogical change to reflect the linguistic change (Padurean, 2019).
Smart skills are co-developed with other humans, Sharp skills are co-developed with computers.
The ASB MBA exposes our students to highly diverse cultures, various political and strategic perspectives, and exciting opportunities to test their growing smart and sharp skills in various industries, companies, and positions before graduation. We’ve embedded the nuances of these terms deeply within our curriculum, especially in our unique Action Learning experiences, where participants are exposed to highly diverse cultures, differing perspectives, and real-world business challenges. To navigate these, students need to be both smart and sharp – bringing our fresh new approach into play.
Smart skills are needed to respond to situations and challenges with intelligence and diplomacy. They include, among others, creative and critical thinking, emotional maturity and empathy, cognitive readiness, social intelligence, adaptability, ethical and cultural awareness, etc.
The “Sharp” skills comprise technical capabilities co-develop with machines such as data analytics, optimization, risk assessment, system dynamics, machine learning and they equip managers and leaders with technical tools to make better and faster decisions.
Would You Rather be Soft & Hard or Smart & Sharp?
Did you know that the “soft skills” and “hard skills” terminology was invented by the US Army almost 50 years ago who observed that a platoon’s success resided not only in having people with strong machine operation skills, but also in having individuals who could manage and supervise teams, along with other skills. So they defined soft skills as those that involve actions affecting primarily people and paper, such as inspecting troops, supervising office personnel, conducting studies, preparing maintenance and efficiency reports, and designing bridge structures. In contrast, hard skills were defined as those that require one to work with machines. In today’s fast-evolving, highly disruptive, and unpredictable environment, being simply “hard” or “soft” is not enough; we believe it’s time to get “smart” and “sharp” instead. Stay tuned for our brand ad to find out why!
DEVELOP YOUR SMART & SHARP TOOLKIT AT ASB
Our promise is to build transformative and principled market ready leaders ready to face an unpredictable world and in order to deliver on it, we have to equip our graduates with sharp and smart skills that constantly get activated by learning in action.
This is our extraordinary and unconventional way! The ASB way!
So, what are you waiting for?