1 Oct 2019 marked the launch of the Asia School of Business in collaboration with MIT Sloan Management (ASB) new brand campaign – Master of Business “in Action”, or simply #ASBMBAction. The campaign, which highlights the action-oriented structure of the ASB MBA programme, aims to raise brand awareness among extraordinary and unconventional talent interested in Asia.

Disseminated largely online through the social media platforms of ASB students, faculty, and staff, the campaign utilises the online networks of these ASB “nano-influencers” to reach similarly minded individuals in a targeted way. The campaign launch has been well-received by many on social media, with numerous reshares from ASB’s official platforms @theasbmba and two trending hashtags: #ASBMBAction and #ThisismyMBA.

Production for the campaign began two months before launch, capturing moments from the incoming cohort’s orientation and cultural immersion week. Production culminated during a full-day team-building and peer-learning event attended by ASB students, staff, and faculty members at a hillside resort on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. In line with ASB’s strong people-oriented culture, each student, staff member, and faculty member had the opportunity to shoot personalised campaign content for their social media platforms as well.

A highly unconventional B-school campaign

The unorthodox approach of the campaign brand ad, featuring students who have shed business suits in favour of colourful T-shirts emblazoned with “#ASBMBAction”, is fully intentional.

Professor Loredana Padurean, Associate Dean and Faculty Director for Action Learning at ASB, shares the reason for the campaign. “The ASB MBA is more action-packed than any other programme in the world, not only with the five Action Learning projects all across Asia but also our month-long MIT Sloan Spring Immersion Programme and global Career Treks. The #ASBMBAction campaign focuses on the transformative journey of our extraordinary and unconventional ASB students in their process of becoming Masters of Business in Action!

Gary Liao, an alumnus of the Class of 2019 now working as an associate at McKinsey Taiwan, sees great value in his unconventional ASB education. He says: “As a startup, ASB has an entrepreneurial institutional culture that embraces innovation and encourages its students to be intellectually curious and to challenge the conventional wisdom of the day.” He credits the skills, connections, and experiences he took away from ASB as having prepared him for “the rapidly changing and increasingly interconnected world of tomorrow.

An MBA designed for Action Learning

In ASB’s “action-packed” MBA, students spend a third of their instructional time on five semester-long Action Learning projects⁠ – designed to accelerate learning through doing – with up to five host companies in potentially five different countries.

Professor Charles Fine, founding President and Dean of ASB and the Chrysler Leaders for Global Operations Professor of Management at MIT Sloan, said: “By being able to take a clean sheet of paper, we were able to design a curriculum around Action Learning right from the start. So we built ASB’s curriculum around MIT Sloan’s world-class syllabus and heavily incorporate Action Learning projects with companies in Asia every semester.

As a result, each student’s MBA experience is unique. Amelia Crespo, an MBA student from the Class of 2020, shared: “So far, I’ve taken on an HR role tackling employee engagement for a multinational engineering firm in Kuala Lumpur and an IT role strategising digital transformation for a global food production company in Manila. Now I’m excited to begin my third project for a major property developer in Bangkok. Being able to select my Action Learning projects means I can tailor my MBA education to explore new industries and job functions while getting experience in diverse markets.

A world-first partnership with MIT Sloan

ASB’s signature Action Learning programme, adapted from MIT Sloan’s philosophy of mens et manus (mind and hand), is just one aspect of the ASB–MIT Sloan partnership.

In addition to extensive travel across Asia, ASB students spend four weeks on campus at MIT Sloan in Cambridge, Massachusetts to attend courses for their Spring Immersion Programme, and they graduate with a certificate of completion and Affiliate Alumni status from MIT Sloan in addition to a full MBA degree from ASB. Students also learn from senior MIT Sloan faculty who fly to Kuala Lumpur to deliver a portion of the MBA curriculum at ASB in identical modules to those delivered at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Professor S.P. Kothari, who is the Gordon Y Billard Professor of Accounting and Finance at MIT Sloan and Chief Economist and Director of the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis (DERA) at the US Securities and Exchange Commission, said of his experience teaching at ASB: “The students excelled in their enthusiasm, communication and class participation skills, and their attitudes. The diversity of ethnic and geo-political backgrounds is impressive… the overall intelligence and leadership potential is among the best I have seen in my 30 years of teaching MBA students in the US and elsewhere in the world.

Seeking unconventional MBA candidates

Ultimately, the #ASBMBAction campaign aims to attract extraordinary and unconventional talent to pursue an action-oriented MBA in Asia.

ASB offers two MBA programmes, a full-time residential MBA – designed for aspiring career shifters into Asia, and an MBA for Working Professionals – designed for mid-career professionals who wish to accelerate their leadership while working full-time. Both programmes award a fully accredited ASB Master in Business Administration, with a certificate of completion from MIT Sloan. Generous scholarships are also available for full-time residential MBA applicants.