Bernardo M. Villegas
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Addressing Shortage of ASEAN Managers

           The above-average growth that ASEAN economies will experience in the coming decades will put a strain on the supply of experienced and competent managers who will be needed in increasing numbers in such sunrise industries as food and beverage, fashion goods, real estate and housing, tourism, logistics, infrastructures, public utilities, agribusiness, transport and communication, health services, and education.  Traditional business schools will be hard put in churning out graduates who will have the functional expertise as well as the leadership qualities such as people development, strategic thinking and institution building.  There can be a veritable free flow of management personnel from the Philippines to such emerging markets as Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and Thailand (that is suffering from acute shortages of manpower on all fronts because of a premature demographic crisis). One is reminded of the way Indonesian conglomerates depended on the leading accounting firm SGV in the last century to provide a supply of accountants, auditors and financial executives, many of whom are still residing in Indonesia.  A prime example of the Filipino expats in Indonesia is Manuel V. Pangilinan who worked for the Salim group, one of the largest conglomerate in Indonesia.

          How will the AEC obtain a quick supply of experienced managers and executives?  The answer may be found in the May 18, 2015 issue of the Financial Times Business Education supplement.  In a series of articles accompanying the annual ranking of executive education programs all over the world, a clear trend of traditional business schools towards the executive education market was clearly identified. In the Editor’s Letter of the issue, Della Bradshaw recalled that in 2005, the Financial Times already foresaw that the MBA market was facing a shakeout:  “Academic pursuits not based on reality.”   What businesses were looking for were executive education programs that addressed the need for their own managers to upgrade their ability to lead their respective organizations.  In fact, more and more of the “star professors” of these business schools were earning huge sums by “telling executives how to develop a coherent strategy in a rapidly changing world, be relevant to customers and make money.  Much of this they do under the rubric of the executive short courses that are the subject of this magazine.”  As MBA programs become less relevant to the immediate needs of business for leader-managers, the top business schools are offering more and more of these short customized or open programs for practising executives. 

          I am not surprised that in the most recent survey of the Financial Times, the IESE Business School has been ranked over-all Number One, also Number One in customized programs and Number 3 in the open rank.  Overall, Harvard is ranked Number Six just one rank behind the London Business School.  The only Asian business schools ranked among the top 50 are the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) No. 22, Peking University, Guanghua No. 45 and Indian Institute of Management: Bangalore No. 48.  It can be pointed out that CEIBS received a lot of help from the IESE Business School in the initial stages of its development in Shanghai.  As a Visiting Professor of the IESE Business School, I have seen IESE rise from its humble beginnings in the late fifties (with the help of the Harvard Business School) to its premier position today by giving the highest priority to executive education rather than the MBA.  Its very first program was an Advanced Management Program for owners of businesses and CEOs of Spanish and European enterprises.  Only much later in its existence did it develop a world-class MBA program.



     In the Philippines, a leading academic institution in both customized and open programs for executive education is the Ateneo University.  Its professional schools have developed a diversity of in-house and open programs for executives of leading national and multinational enterprises in the Philippines.  Other educational institutions that have already diversified into executive education programs are the Asian Institute of Management and the De La Salle University. With the help of the IESE Business School, the University of Asia and the Pacific is entering the executive education market to address the needs for new leaders who can be promoted to take over a wider and expanded role in the organization.  Many of these leaders will have to come from the departmental heads, such as supervisors, assistant managers and executive assistant.  While these potential leaders may be competent in their respective specializations, they usually lack the knowledge and skills of managing people from different functional areas.  The in-company training program being offered by UA&P to business enterprises in the Metro Manila area is designed to meet this need.

          The Master of Science in Management is being offered as an in-house executive education that can be customized to the needs of each corporation.  It is a modular program that is spread over a two-year period.  The participant my opt to finish after a year with a certificate in Business Management or he/she can opt to proceed to the second year, which, upon satisfactory completion of all academic requirements will lead to a Master of Science in Management.  Classes will be offered on a pre-agreed company time, provided that classes will be given three times a week, three hours per session.  Classes will be held within company premises.  The program delivery consists of qualified and experienced faculty and dynamic and highly interactive teaching methods, which include case studies, group discussions, simulations, presentations and lectures.  The benefits of the Program are obvious:  It is convenient for the participants because it will be held within company premises and on pre-agreed company time; the Program provides gradual learning as it builds up learning from knowing how firms operate and interact with its environment to formulating and analyzing strategies and finally,  to how leaders can make their firms compete and influence its environment.  The Program also provides a unique mentoring system that will guide participants individually all throughout the course.  For those who will make the extra effort among the participants, the Program can lead to a master’s degree in management science.

          The ultimate in executive education that IESE professors will deliver to CEOs, owners and business and senior executives in the ASEAN region is the Advanced Management Program (the AMP) that will start its fourth offering on September 21, 2015 in Manila.  The AMP takes a general but strategic focus on key business, industry and global issues that will shape the future business landscape and thinking in Southeast Asia.  From this perspective, the AMP participants will be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to capitalize on the opportunities offered by the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) as it interacts with the rest of the global community, especially the largest emerging markets of today, China and India.  Those who are interested in these executive education programs may inquire from the email:  For comments, my email address is