AIM and Yale students partner to help social enterprises in Philippines

For two business schools, brains and heart go hand-in-hand in developing great leaders and managers. MBA students from Asian Institute of Management (AIM) recently partnered with their counterparts from Yale University to work with five local social enterprises and help them address key issues within the organization.

The AIM students partnered with Yale School of Management student club Global Social Enterprise (GSE), which provides pro-bono consulting services to internationally-focused non-profit, public, and private sector organizations.For AIM-Washington SyCip Graduate School of Business dean Horacio M. Borromeo, Jr., PhD, the partnership was an opportunity for the MBA students to develop crucial skills necessary to lead their own social enterprise or create shared value within their workplaces.“Working with social enterprises helps students develop analytical skills and creative thinking, while keeping them focused on how to create value beyond profit,” said Borromeo. “It also gives our students the opportunity to combine their knowledge and experience to develop sustainable, responsive solutions.”Interested social enterprises sent their applications to GSE in order to qualify as a partner and were selected based on the diversity of their impact and the feasibility of their projects. Students from AIM’s 2014 MBA cohort also applied to be part of the student teams, which were composed of one AIM representative and five Yale-GSE members.The AIM and Yale-GSE teams worked with the Center for Community Transformations, East Meets West, MyShelter Foundation, Bambike Revolution Cycle, and Gifts and Graces Foundation, and were supervised by four teaching assistants.

The student teams worked with the social enterprises for five days, doing field work and consulting, and focusing on various aspects of the organization, from supply chain management to marketing to evaluating feasibility for future projects.

The Center for Community Transformations team worked on analyzing the financial viability of processing agricultural waste for fuel, while the East Meets West team focused on one of the organization’s programs, Breath of Life, a program providing cheap and effective neonatal health care technologies to hospitals.

Meanwhile, the team assigned to Bambike participated in a marketing session, in order to help them conduct market segmentation and customer targeting exercises for two Bambike models and develop marketing strategies for the company.

The team working with MyShelter Foundation was tasked to work on the foundation’s Liter of Light program, which aims to end energy poverty in the Philippines. The team tackled the question of how to turn the program into a self-sustaining business, and focused on two keys areas in the value chain—sourcing and manufacturing.

Lastly, the team working with Gifts and Graces Foundation looked into the organization’s supply chain management, in view of their goal to expand their retail presence in order to impact more communities. The student team introduced an assumption-based planning tool to the foundation, and is also looking to do internal operations analysis and external best practice collection.


For AIM MBA student Anunay Sahay, who was a member of the Gifts and Graces team, the initiative was an opportunity to apply management concepts and practices to real-life situations.

“Social entrepreneurship and inclusive development have been key focus areas for our development as management professionals,” shared Sahay. “This partnership with the Yale School of Management has been an opportunity to delve deeper into the actual operations of social enterprises and apply our learnings at school real-time to assist SEs.”

Yale GSE member Mila Singh appreciated the opportunity to learn from social enterprises firsthand, and to give them advice on how to address key issues.

“Being in the Philippines was an incredible experience that enabled Yale GSE students to immerse themselves in a new culture and business environment. We learned about how social enterprises are making a huge impact in the country,” reflected Singh. “They allowed us to learn about their enterprises and give them advice on strategic business initiatives. We were grateful for the learning experience and we also hope that our work had a positive impact on our client partners.”

Sahay’s batchmate Wesley Quesang, who was part of the Center for Community Transformations team, singled out collaborating with their Yale counterparts as one of the highlights of the program.

“I had a chance to apply my learning from the case room and share experiences with the Yale students,” said Quesang. “It was very fascinating as they came from different countries and background with experiences that helped a lot in coming up with ingenious solutions that fit the pressing issues of the social enterprise.”

Yale GSE member Meg Watkins was drawn to the program because of its practical, real-world approach and the opportunity to work with social enterprises of various sizes and with varying social impact goals. Watkins also noted that their AIM counterparts’ local knowledge and expertise helped them in their projects with the partner enterprises.

“Working with our AIM counterparts gave the teams crucial local perspective in addition to added technical expertise,” noted Watkins. “Yale’s experience with AIM encouraged us to maintain and foster a productive and friendly relationship with AIM moving forward.”

Borromeo believes that the initiative also showed what the Philippines and what institutions like AIM can do for aspiring leaders.

“Our work with the Yale GSE has given our students exposure to new ways of doing things, but at the same time, we were also able to introduce the GSE members to all these contexts,” he remarked. “There’s no better learning experience than being in the trenches.”

Meanwhile, AIM president Dr. Steven J. DeKrey sees the collaboration of AIM and Yale on social entrepreneurship as the first step of a larger and sustainable partnership, as partners in the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM), a network pioneered by Yale. “The network is valuable to AIM, and the partners all want to connect even more. We’ll be collaborating on multiple fronts. We have signed a memorandum of understanding with Yale for a joint degree offering, enabling students from both universities to be connected and have access to the wealth of resources between Yale and AIM,” he said.

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