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COMING SOON | AIM to offer free online courses

The new logo of the Asian Institute of Management. Image from their website. means BUSINESS

MANILA, Philippines -- The Asian Institute of Management will soon be offering free courses through a partnership with online learning destination edX, an initiative of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“We haven't signed the papers yet, but we are gonna be partnering with edX,” AIM president and dean Dr. Jikyeong Kang said at a press conference  where she revealed other big changes to celebrate the institute's 50th anniversary in 2018.

“We are going to be developing a few courses to begin with in the areas of data science ... (and) more accessible short courses,” she said.

Kang acknowledged that, while AIM's tuition is relatively cheap compared to other business schools in the region, it remains expensive locally. This is the reason they decided to offer certain courses free online, not just for Filipinos but for anyone with Internet access.

However, if users want to be certified for the skills and knowledge they acquire, they will need to pay “a small fee” as part of the edX model.

“It's not just a premier school with the premier fees. But we also want to serve the community and the country as well,” Kang said.

She also unveiled a new, colorful logo dubbed the “Nexus,” made up of overlapping ovals and the name of the school in the center.

According to Kang, the change signals a new beginning, with AIM changing as Asia and the businesses in it are.

She said she hoped to call attention to the exciting opportunities at the institute, which was founded in 1968 by members of the Harvard Business School to be the Asian pioneer in management education.

Kang also declared plans for two new programs which she expects, with the board's approval, to be rolled out next year.

The first is a Master of Science in Data Science, which would provide a multidisciplinary approach to big data.

The second is a Masters in Disaster, Risk, and Crisis Management. This would teach civil society, government, and industry to prepare for disasters, and minimize destruction should they occur.

Kang added they are also planning to offer a short program on innovation and business for full-time workers with little time to spare.

In celebration of Women's Month in March, the AIM president said the school is developing two short programs to support women leaders because, while the Philippines in particular was “good” at producing women leaders, when it came to having women in senior management, it could “do a lot better.”

The first short program is the Senior Management Program for Women's Leadership, which AIM is designing in collaboration with the Center for Creative Leadership, and the other is the Top Management Program for Women Leaders, which AIM is working on with the Harvard-established IMD in Switzerland.

Kang also noted that AIM launched two new programs in 2016: the “new and improved” Masters of Entrepreneurship -- which counted the founders of Mary Grace and Potato Corner as its graduates -- and the Master of Science in Innovation and Business, which targeted STEAM (science, technology, engineering, architecture, agriculture, medicine, and math) graduates.

Kang said AIM's main building will also undergo “major cosmetic work” and new buildings could be added. The buildings will be environment-friendly, open and fluid, encouraging students and visitors to meet and interact with each other.

She stressed that tuition would not be hiked for the construction, estimated to cost at least a billion pesos. Kang added that classes would continue during construction.

Bud Sorenson, one of the founders of AIM 49 years ago, was present at the press conference. He said AIM had a unique role in developing Southeast Asia in anticipation of a “turbulent” economic future.

Back in the United States, he said, people often talked about China, India, Japan, and South Korea. But he believed Southeast Asia had as much economic potential as the other countries often mentioned. AIM's focus was to prepare Southeast Asian leaders to fulfill this potential.

Kang said they expect an annual compounded growth of 30 percent in AIM’s student population over the next five years, as many “bright, young people” in Asia still aspire for an MBA. This is the opposite of the trend in the US, for example.

She pointed out that AIM's MBA students could command a 156-percent increase in their salary upon graduating, although they still want to improve their placement rate.

AIM's MBA students had an 86 percent placement rate three months after graduation and a 96 percent placement rate six months after graduation.