Management education, once rooted in the 19th century and steeped in strict market capitalism, has undergone a paradigm shift—as has business itself. Following the 2008 financial crisis and the sensationalized media scandals on questionable leadership, business leaders have realized they can no longer be solely profit-driven. They also must ensure that their practices have a resoundingly positive effect on their communities. To that end, business leaders look for ethics, sound decision-making skills, and cultural sensitivity in their budding managers.
As a consequence, management educators have had to rethink their curricula and determine how to shape a learning experience that will champion values and ethics alongside technical skills. One way has been through adding ethics education. For instance, the Aspen Institute for Business Education noted that 79 percent of universities required ethics classes in 2011—a sharp contrast to the 34 percent who required them in 2001.
But to escape a repeat of the management troubles of the past, the business education of the future must create leaders who can think outside the box and give back to society. This is why collaborations across the public and private sectors must flourish. Institutions no longer can stand alone. One sector’s practices can—and must—inform the other. Together they will create policies that will stimulate inclusive economic growth.
In the developing Asia-Pacific region, we have a particularly strong need for leaders who not only are good, but do good, and do it well. Asia needs entrepreneurial leaders who are dedicated to creating a powerful, positive, and sustainable impact in societies.
At the Asian Institute of Management, we know that we must stay faithful to Asian values and principles as we train the next generation of leaders who will shape our diverse economies and industries. Over the years, we have graduated more than 42,000 students from all over the world, helping them develop a well-rounded perspective on how to effect sustainable solutions and empower their communities to manage growth.
We are working to strengthen our flagship MBA program as we respond to the needs of the 21st-century business environment. We have initiated international study tours and internship programs with various partners to bolster our students’ knowledge, expose them to other cultures, and immerse them in different ways of thinking and doing.
We also are giving our MBA students opportunities to take electives with students from our Zuellig Graduate School of Development Management (ZSDM). Taking a threefold approach to change, the ZSDM encourages students to change themselves as individuals, change their organizations as institutions, and change their society to make a better world. The ZSDM offers a master’s in development management (MDM) that immerses students in projects for both the public and private sectors. For instance, through the international field review, students travel to another Asian country to study selected development projects and assess field results versus project design. MDM students also participate in a rapid area assessment where they visit far-flung provinces in the Philippines that have suffered displacement and economic devastation as a result of natural disasters or armed conflict.
AIM also fosters stronger ties with the government and various communities, particularly through our School of Executive Education. In 2015, we concluded the first leg of our Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Program, which trains innovators to bring their lab research to market. It is run in partnership with the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology and the U.K.’s Royal Academy of Engineering.
We envision AIM as a platform for various collaborations that not only will produce inspiring impact, but also will sustain it. In addition, we want AIM to be a place where students—whether in business or development—learn that making the right decisions can make all the difference.
We believe that if the leaders we produce are defined by their integrity, intelligence, innovation, impact, and inspiration, then both our leaders and their communities will have a myriad of opportunities. If we continue to balance the bottom line with responsible stewardship, we can sustain this proverbial bright future for generations to come.
Jikeong Kang is President, CEO, and Dean at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in Manila, the Philippines.