Bernardo M. Villegas
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Qualities Of A Good Mentor
published: May 10, 2019





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Innovations in the Educational Sector (Part 4)

          Also unique and imitated subsequently by other educational institutions was the Entrepreneurial Management (EM) Program launched in 1989 for entering first year students who already had clearly in their minds that they did not want to be corporate employees upon graduation from college.  They wanted to start a business of their own.  In fact, from day one of their studies at UA&P, they already were guided by very experienced mentors on how to start a new business venture even while they were still studying in UA&P.    As they proceeded from one year level to another during their four-year program, they were advised on how to actually prepare a business plan and implement it during their four years of undergraduate training.  They went through a series of panel interviews with faculty members and received individual mentoring as they perfected their business plans and actually implemented them so that they could only graduate with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurial Management if the business they started was already registering a profit. As is true in any universe of start ups, not all the business ventures had been sustained over the long run.  In fact, some of the EM graduates actually ended up as corporate employees who were appreciated for their “intrapreneurial” talents, creativity and the ability to take risk within the corporate structure.  A significant number, however, blossomed into medium-scale enterprises, especially in the food, fashion, furniture and fun (tourism) industries, the four P’s among the sunrise sectors of an emerging market like the Philippines.

         In the area of business education, one of the most innovative programs introduced by CRC-UAP was the Strategic Business Economics Program (SBEP) started very early in the history of CRC (the late 1970s).  SBEP was for senior executives from both the private and public sectors who saw a need for greater economic literacy in order to better understand the global, national, sectoral and regional economic environments in which they were operating.  The courses are taught by economists and other professional specialists who are very familiar with the requirements of business for economic information.  It was notable that even graduates from the best business schools abroad like Harvard, Wharton, Northwestern, Stanford and Chicago still were attracted to the program because they felt that their respective MBA curricula gave short shrift to economics as applied to business.  Although the vast majority of the more than 1,000 top executives who have taken the SBEP come from the corporate sector, a good number were government officials like Senators, members of the House of Representatives, governors and mayors.  Thanks to this program that is not offered by any other university in the Philippines or Asia, there is today a pool of top executives in the Philippines who find themselves at par in the knowledge of economic and practice with top government officials who  formulate and implement  economic policy, such as the Central Bank, the NEDA, the Department of Finance and others.  These more economically literate executives from the private sector have improved the intelligent feedback they can give to economic policy makers in the government sector.  An added feature of the SBEP is the possibility for the participants to earn a masteral degree in business economics (MBE) if they work on a business economic topic (whether in marketing, finance, production people management or general management). Although only a small minority among the participants, these MBE holders constitute an additional pool of masteral degree holders who can teach in the undergraduate schools of business, especially as part-time professors.

         Finally, the most recent innovative program of UA&P is the Master in Applied Business Analytics (MABA) which addresses the need for practitioners in the emerging field of business analytics.  It complements offerings in this field in other universities that generally very theoretical and highly advanced courses in Big Data and business analytics.  Following the tradition from the very beginning of CRC that  offered only economics or business courses that are immediately applicable to the  actual practice of business in the Philippines, MABA program aims not only to meet the growing demand for people with business competencies, leadership and managerial skills but also to provide the much-needed professionals schooled with humanist and ethical perspectives, capable of making sense of data to provide insights that will drive business and organizational solutions.  It is being delivered in collaboration with the Analytics Association of the Philippines, yet another evidence that UA&P is steeped in industry-academe cooperation, a foundational characteristic of the institution.   For comments, my email address is bernardo.villegas@uap.asia