Bernardo M. Villegas
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Several Routes to Business Profession (Part 2)

          Over the last ten years, however, I have noticed that more Filipino young professionals are discovering the advantages of taking their MBA in European schools, which are usually less expensive than the US business schools and are better in some cases in preparing business executives for a global career in business.  Examples of these top European business schools are the IESE Business School, ESADE and IE Business School in Spain; the University of Oxford: Said, London Business School, University of Cambridge: Judge in the UK; INSEAD, HEC Paris and Essec Business School in France; IMD in Switzerland; and ESMT Berlin in Germany.  These European business schools are usually more diverse in their faculty, student population and the teaching materials, especially business cases, used in the MBA program.  An added advantage in taking up the MBA in Europe is the opportunity to learn or perfect another language beside English.  I may be biased, since I am a Visiting Professor in this school, but the ideal school for a Filipino professional is the IESE Business School in Barcelona.  Not only is it often rated as Number One or at least in the top ten among all the MBA schools in the world.  A Filipino can leverage on our Spanish cultural background to perfect the language of Cervantes while studying at IESE.  It must be remembered that Spanish is the most widely spoken Western language after English.  Soon the Philippines may be the gateway of South American investors to Asia.  Spanish would be a handy language in which to be fluent.

         Young Filipino professionals who are eyeing a management career in the Asian region, which will be the epicenter of economic growth during at least the next twenty years may also want to consider taking their MBA studies in some Asian country or another.  The top business school in Asia today is the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai, which was founded by a joint group of the IESE Business School and Harvard Business School with the help of the European Union.  I know of a number of Filipino Chinese professionals who have enrolled at CEIBS taking advantage of their knowledge of the Mandarin language.  Although classes are given in English there, it is always a distinct advantage for networking with Chinese businessmen to know Mandarin. Other top business schools in the Asian region are the Hongkong University of Science and Technology, Singapore Management University, the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, Peking University, the INSEAD campus in Singapore, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Antal.   All these schools also require a relatively high score in the GMAT.  In India, there are thousands of young professionals, especially those who graduate from the various institutes of technology for which India is famous, who get scores close to the maximum of 800 in GMAT.  Thus, competition is very tough.

         Another route to the top in business enterprises is the so-called Master of Science in Management (MSM) programs given in many of the European business schools.  This degree program can be taken straight from the first year of the university and does not require previous work experience as most MBA programs.  The typical curriculum usually includes some work-study program during which in the last year the students acquire on the job training with partner corporations in different parts of the world.  In the Philippines, the only university I know that offers a Master of Science in Management is the University of Asia and the Pacific, a five-year program.  Recently with the advent of the K to 12 program, UA&P introduced an innovative program called the 6YP which enables someone entering Grade 11 of Senior High School (which is equivalent to the first year of Junior College) to work for the Master of Science in Management in six years which include the two years of junior college.  Those who have this degree have an advantage of entering a corporation, not from the bottom, but already at a middle-management level.  These need not take up an MBA in the future.  They have a foundation in management sciences strong enough for them to learn how to rise to the top from the school of hard knocks.  Another innovative program for those in their early twenties, either recently graduated from college or in their last year of college in any specialization, is the Young Talent Path (YTP) of the IESE Business School The YTP is especially designed  for current undergraduates and first-year professionals who wish to secure a place in the IESE full-time MBA program after working for two to three years upon graduation from college.  Those interested may log on to

         Finally, there are those who are in their thirties or early forties who have been working as business managers since graduating from college and have never taken any formal course in management.  They may be tops in their respective functional areas such as finance, marketing, production, personnel management, etc. but are lacking in skills required of a CEO or top executive, especially in leading people, strategic thinking, and institution building.  In my opinion, as the Philippines grows at 7 to 10 percent GDP-wise in the next ten to twenty years, these are the people who will be most ready to assume the many positions that will surface at the top of the corporate ladder   How do we produce CEOs from these middle management people almost overnight?  The answer is Executive Education, which is now becoming a more important offering of business schools all over the world than the MBA programs.  In the most recent Financial Times Executive Education Rankings 2017, there is a list of the top business schools all over the world that offer the best executive education programs.  These are not full-time programs for the obvious reason that you cannot get middle level managers to leave their work for too long a time.  These are offered either in-house (called customized programs) or in open-enrolment programs that are modular, international in student body and multi-located (sessions are usually offered in several cities all over the world which also help in developing a global mindset among the participants).  These executive education programs are often complemented by what are called Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), especially for those who are already too involved in management responsibilities that their freedom to travel to the foreign venues is quite limited.

           For the information of Philippine business executives,  according to the Financial Times (2017), the top ten business schools in the world in offering both customized and open-enrolment executive education programs (starting from the top) are the IESE Business School, IMD, Harvard Business School, Centre for Creative Learning tied with London Business School for fourth place, INSEAD, HEC Paris, ESMT Berlin, Stanford Graduate School of Business tied with University of Oxford: Said for the ninth place, and University of Michigan.  In Asia, among the top fifty are CEIBS, National University of Singapore Business School, and Peking University: Guangha.  In the Philippines, the Asian Institute of Management offers a few executive education programs.  Although still at an early stage of development, the UA&P’s Southeast Asian Business Studies Program, in collaboration with select IESE Business School professors, offers an Advanced Management Program (AMP), an open-enrolment program that is modular and has sessions in several cities in Asia and in Barcelona.   The SEABS also offers some customized programs which already have been offered in-house to middle managers of IBM and Jollibee. Those interested may log in on the website.  As I wrote at the beginning there are several ways of skinning a cat in this matter of preparing for a business career.  Choose your wild.  For comments, my email address is