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The Face of a New MBA, As Told By ASB’s Leaders


Deciding to pursue the dream, especially when the world is in a state of crisis is a feat reserved for the brave, and unconventional. When negativity and uncertainty run rampant, only those bold enough to step into the next phase of their lives will experience true growth. But even as the world shapes itself around this new norm, taking a backseat to a life-changing education isn’t an option to consider.

In the halls of ASB, Emily Preiss, Senior Director of Admissions, and Sean Ferguson, Associate Dean too, stand by this conviction. “It’s the ‘new norm’ like everyone says. Regardless, I believe that ASB has truly been one of the first institutions to foster this sense of ever-changing, innovative culture in all our students.” “It’s not without challenge, but we’ve been equipped for something like this for a very long time,” said Emily.

Beyond “Beneficial”, the MBA Deals New Cards to the Table

“A lot of people think that all MBAs are created equal. They’re not.” Sean is on the topic of the Return on Investment (ROIs) of an MBA, or how it’s success is truly measured in an ever-changing ecosystem. “For instance, in our class of 2019, 35 of the students there went to work in 14 different countries across 5 different continents. “It’s the ASB MBA that allows them to make that transition from local education to something global, and have a salary scale to reflect that arc in their career.”

On that same note, the average salaries for 2019 ASB graduates ranged around the USD $73,000 mark. Emily also elaborated on this. “It’s important to understand that our students come from two backgrounds.” The first group of people that would benefit from the ASB MBA would be those from emerging countries, looking to get their foot in the door of international careers and with it, access to working in global markets with a reflecting salary.

Second, would be those already in a mature market, but still looking to participate in the growing Asian economy and job market. Backed by data, the rate of salary increases after an Asian MBA outperforms USA-based MBAs by 27% and other international MBAs by 42%.

All MBAs Are Not Created Equal.

But salary and job titles are hardly the only two reasons one should opt for doing an MBA during this time. “However you want to look at it, there is massive growth in Asia,” said Sean. He continued. “One of the reasons can of course be attributed to how Asia has been very effective and proactive with handling the COVID-19 situation. That in itself is accelerating Asia’s contribution to hot sectors like health and tech.”

Aside from the COVID-19 management, ASB has also noticed other significant trends. These include the demand for smart factories, the massive power of China moving up the manufacturing chain and the pools of talent to be found in the Southeast Asian region; which in turn makes an MBA based around Asian principles a powerful tool in any professional’s arsenal.

Access to a global platform for your career, and foreign currency are still very strong factors as to why an MBA continues to not just be relevant. Instead, it’s an ideal fast track for any professional looking to expand into C-suite positions and higher roles very quickly on, without having to take on 20-30 years moving up the ladder.

Be that as it may, it’s obvious that the ASB MBA has a new value proposition this time. One that capitalizes on Southeast Asia’s immense and developing prowess around the new norm, shaped by post-pandemic demands and emerging trends.

How ASB’s Battle-tested Syllabus Still Over Delivers on Value

How does someone take full advantage of the MBA experience in the midst of a pandemic? The ASB MIT Track is a 5-week long excursion to the US, 4 of those weeks spent in the MIT faculty in Massachusetts as students live, study and discover the roots of their world-class syllabus. But even with travel restrictions, ASB’s MIT Track, one of the main highlights of the entire programme, will still be carried on — if only slightly revamped.

ASB’s Action Learning projects are one of the many highlights of their student experiences. A true opportunity to interact with global markets via project-based learning, the Action Learning experience goes above and beyond the classroom–right into the real-life businesses around the world. “In terms of how we’re approaching it, MIT has agreed to extend the duration of time.

This means students are able to carry out their US excursion within 3 years of their graduation, so there’s flexibility there for them,” explained Emily. She continued. “We also do have a China Track, and we’re exploring the possibility of doing an online virtual experience, if we’re not able to physically be there.” ASB’s tuition fees will also cover room accommodation, boarding necessities and insurance.

“Data still shows ASB to be the market leaders when it comes to scholarships and financial aid, which we encourage every potential student to look to and see if they qualify before enrolling,” Emily said. Yet, ASB remains true to their promise of global-tier education. It’s entire syllabus is not just “infused” with MIT teachings, but built around the strong foundation of courses led by MIT faculty, core values and student culture.

When on the subject of class sessions as of the moment, Emily categorized ASB students into two groups. “Right now we’re in what’s called dual delivery mode. We have the roomers (those already living on campus) when the lockdown was initiated and the zoomers (students who are taking their classes online).” “We also have pre recorded sessions to cater to people in every single time zone there is.”

Throwing Out the Textbook, Moving on to a New World

Both the textbook and rulebook should be thrown out by any educational institution, in order to prepare their graduates for the modern day. Thankfully, ASB has been preparing for this for a very, very long time. “Rather than learning from a textbook or old case studies, our students have the opportunity to engage with the companies who are accelerating due to the changes of a COVID world,” Sean explained.

Emily continued, on that note. “I think what really sets us apart is the fact that ASB has embedded Action Learning into each semester.” “Now, there’s tons of schools trying to play catch up. They’re only just figuring out how to get their program integrated with whatever has been passing them by.” “We’ve also got a huge majority of students who go on to work in the technology sector which, as we know, will only accelerate in a post-COVID world.”

Emily and Sean continued to explain that ASB’s syllabus has always been immersive-first, regardless of how it’s delivered. This would mean that they’re still getting the Action Learning experience, the Summer Associate Programs (SAP) carried out, with just a different tailored approach.

Without missing a beat, ASB opens her arms wide to shaping the new generation of leaders. Because although not every single MBA will remain equal, ASB’s ROI-focused syllabus is a prime example of how education will never take a backseat–regardless of the climate we’re in.