HIGHLIGHTS

  • In 1956, Philippine businessmen Washington Sycip and Ramon del Rosario with Harvard professor Stephen Fuller hatched the idea of pooling resources to create a single superior business school for Asia.
  • AIM’s original course was the two-year Masters in Business Management with instruction based on the famous case method developed at Harvard Business School. Research and consulting complement the work of teaching for AIM’s international faculty, and keep the Institute’s “case bank” abreast of the latest trends and problems.
  • Like the business of Asia, the impact of AIM transcends national borders. To date, some twenty thousand individuals have received AIM training, more than half from dozens of neighboring countries.
  • The RMAF Board of Trustees recognizes “its setting regionwide standards for excellence and relevance in training Asians to manage Asia’s business and development.”

 CITATION

The end of empire not only reconfigured Asia’s political life, it also changed its business and industry. As Asians asserted their leadership, foreign managers departed, bureaucrats and military men found themselves managing important resources and assets, and family-owned firms began to transform themselves into professionally managed corporations. Yet competent managers were in short supply. For young Asians seeking formal business training there were few options, all the more so for the vast majority who could not afford to study in the West.

Responding to this need were Philippine businessmen Washington SyCip and Ramon V. del Rosario. With Harvard professor Stephen Fuller, they broached in 1956 the idea of pooling institutional resources to create a single superior business school for Asia. This idea bore fruit in 1968 when Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle Universities joined forces to establish the Asian Institute of Management, or AIM. Fuller became the founding president; SyCip, chairman of the board—a post he holds until now. Early financial support came from the Ford Foundation, USAID, and, most importantly, Filipino industrialist Eugenio Lopez, Sr. The Ayala Corporation provided land in the burgeoning business district of Makati for a new campus, which opened in 1970.

AIM’s original course was the two-year Masters in Business Management. Instruction was based on the famous case method developed at Harvard Business School. In the beginning, AIM functioned primarily to transfer Western management principles and techniques to Asia. An early objective of the Institute, however, was to expand its bank of Asian cases to present its students with authentically Asian solutions to the region’s management problems. Guided both by a local board of trustees and an international board of governors, AIM has been striving in this direction ever since.

A one-year Master in Management Program, inaugurated in 1974, was the first of AIM’s innovations in response to the fast-changing needs of the region. New programs soon followed tailored especially for air transport managers, marketing managers, bank managers, and, since 1985, for rural and general development managers—an endeavor that reflects the Institute’s commitment to “the disadvantaged, the underprivileged, and the poor.” There also came short courses for middle and senior executives and workshops for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and women in business. Many of these are offered outside the Philippines. Today, AIM executes some twenty distinct programs each year.

Like the business of Asia, the impact of AIM transcends national borders. To date, some twenty thousand individuals have received AIM training, more than half from dozens of neighboring countries, conspicuously Indonesia and Malaysia. Through its business magazine and management awards, as well as offices in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, AIM maintains a high profile throughout Asia. Most importantly, its graduates fill the senior and middle ranks of some of the region’s best-run companies and serve widely in government. Research and consulting complement the work of teaching for AIM’s international faculty, and keep the Institute’s “case bank” abreast of the latest trends and problems. Although foundation and development agency grants provide welcome support for AIM’s research, the school relies largely on the marketability of its programs and services to pay the bills.

Since 1972, when Sixto Roxas became president, Filipinos have led AIM. Today the president is long-time AIM faculty member, Felipe B. Alfonso. Under his direction, AIM looks pragmatically ahead, keeping its courses and programs fresh and anticipating an ever greater need for astute, well-trained, and Asia-sensitive managers as the Pacific Century approaches.

In electing the ASIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT to receive the 1995 Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding, the board of trustees recognizes its setting regionwide standards for excellence and relevance in training Asians to manage Asia’s business and development.

 RESPONSE

The Asian Institute of Management is honored to be the Ramon Magsaysay awardee for international understanding. This award is meaningful because we have gone beyond those early days when we were identified as the “Harvard Business School of Asia,” since we were established with the assistance of the Harvard Business School. This label was a flattering comparison, but hardly original and defensible, not at all innovative.

The Asian Institute of Management was started by elite schools, Ateneo and La Salle, and by elite business families such as the Ayalas and the Lopezes. We were a simple conduit of Western management principles to Asian managers. We delivered these principles well to our Master’s in Business Management (MBM) students, many of whom have come into their own as chief executive officers. Nonetheless, AIM had to innovate, to be more than just an elite institution for elite Asians.

Early on, we determined that business could not survive without the concurrent development of the countryside. Profitable business could not ignore social upliftment for Asia’s disadvantaged people. It was in this context that in the seventies we pioneered our first RDMP, or Rural Development Management Program. In the RDMP, we performed action research and wrote case studies about how we could improve the lot for our poor, ignored rural areas. This has since evolved into our Center for Development Management, or CDM, which comprises a one-year master’s program for development management, as well as short courses and forums that specifically address developing country needs. We invited participation from government and NGOs, as well as funding agencies such as the Asian Development Bank, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the Ford Foundation, and others, into our action research. Ramon Magsaysay would have been proud of AIM: it is now a win-win, collaborative merger of the elite schools and businesses, funding agencies, government, and NGOs, working together toward the total development of Asia.

On a parallel track, we have continued to perform case research on Asian managerial and for-profit enterprise practices. We have translated all of these efforts into our redesigned two-year MBM, one-year Master’s in Management (MM), and short-term Executive Education (EE) programs.

Together our development and enterprise programs have generated over twenty-three thousand alumni in the last twenty-seven years. We are proud to say that our alumni are in policy-making and decision-making positions, trying to make life a little easier and more uplifting for the next generations of Asians.

We, the faculty and staff, would not have achieved so much were it not for the support of all AIM governors, trustees, social investors, and alumni. Because of them, AIM is a dynamic learning institution responding to the changing trends in the region.

We share with all of you this honor. You are part of our success. With deep gratitude for your contributions, we will take up the challenge to prove ourselves worthy of this distinction. We will not rest on our laurels. May the Ramon Magsaysay Award inspire us to higher and higher achievements.

 BIOGRAPHY

In the years shortly after World War II, the Philippines was a devastated young republic struggling toward rehabilitation and recovery. Business, which had been dominated before the war by American and other foreign companies, was seeing the emergence of young Filipino and Chinese entrepreneurs and professionals, many of them running new family-owned firms. With schools still rebuilding themselves and graduate programs wanting in qualified faculty, Filipino professionals who could run business corporations and provide vision and direction to the country’s economic development were a valuable but scarce resource.

In 1949, seventeen young business executives thought they could help fill that need by establishing the Executive Training Institute of the Philippines (ETIOP). These were the same executives, led by Ramon del Rosario, Sr., who organized the Philippine Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) two years before. On behalf of ETIOP, del Rosario asked the Harvard University Business School to send a team of professors who could run an advanced management program in his country for one month. Harvard was not inclined to do so but referred del Rosario to Professor Harry Hansen, who gladly formed a team of Harvard faculty to conduct a program in the Philippines, on their own rather than as formal representatives of Harvard Business School.

The ETIOP’s Advanced Management Program was inaugurated in 1953 in Baguio City and drew participants not only from the Philippines but from Burma, Indonesia, Japan, Taiwan, and Thailand as well. So great was the demand for the program that it was offered every year until the early sixties.

(For the complete biography, please email biographies@rmaf.org.ph)