Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Letter to APU: "How to Improve APM/GSM"

My campus decided to hold an essay competition in order to get the students' honest opinions about the overall education system used in APU, specifically the APM/GSM (International Management) area study. I thought that this essay might be good to post online to tell future APM/GSM students about the positive things and negative things that they may experience in APU. I hope that this message will be seen or heard by the dean as well as the authorities who have the power to change the current APM/GSM.

One disclaimer before the beginning of my essay: this is MY personal opinion regarding the matter. It doesn't mean that my opinion is the right one, heck some of them may even be wrong. It's just the opinion of a third year APM student. Also, I apologize for suddenly writing a 1,000 word essay on a blog. Must be tiring to read.

Everyone wants to be the best. That is a given. In this case, I am sure that APU wants APM/GSM to be in the list of top 10 business schools in the world, if not, the best business school in the world. I believe that APM/GSM professors have done all that they can to make APM/GSM a better business school by creating events, pouring their hearts and souls into teaching their students and learning from the best business schools in the world. However, APM/GSM has yet to be accredited by the AACSB, or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. The AACSB accreditation represents the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide. Receiving this accreditation would definitely prove that APM/GSM graduates are highly skilled and they will definitely become more desirable to companies around the world (AACSB Accredited, 2016). This has been a problem for quite some time for APU, which is why I would like to state my opinion on my ideal APM/GSM in order to assist with improving the quality of APM/GSM.

First of all, I believe that APM/GSM does not necessarily have to create more ideas to improve APM/GSM. Some of the programs that we utilize in APU are wonderful enough. Therefore, the question that we should ask ourselves is ‘why are the programs we have not enough to contribute to the improvement of the quality of APM/GSM?’ The answer to this question is quality. Students are not motivated enough to make a difference. I could say this with confidence because most students think that they have nothing to gain by improving APM/GSM standards. Even if professors create the most brilliant event with the top CEOs from every top company, students will not learn anything new if they do not engage themselves in that event. Most students in APU will just passively listen to the speakers from these events and forget the contents within the next hour. So the first issue we have is to motivate the students to improve APM/GSM standards. In order to do so, their interests must be piqued and they need to have the interest to participate (i.e. two way communication, et cetera).

Next, I believe that APU students could learn outside of class. So, I would like to discuss about the circles that are able to help with APM/GSM’s improvement. For example, GBL or the Global Business Leader circle is an amazing place for APM/GSM students to start discussing problems in the business world. However, I have heard from my friends that GBL’s quality have recently decreased. One way I could think of to solve this is to have an advisor – a professor from APM/GSM who is willing to help create activities and discussions about the business world. Theories should be taught in the classes, but learning from actual events and cases that happen around the world from circles can really boost the students’ knowledge, get them thinking and in the long run, they can solve these problems and create a better change.

Aside from improving APM/GSM by using available resources, I believe that learning from the world’s current top business schools will definitely help with improving APM/GSM standards to be even more ideal. A good business school to learn from is the Harvard Business School. HBS starts each day by asking “What difference will you make in the world?” This question gets students motivated, thinking and dreaming about their future. They also teach their students to learn how to make decisions in the face of conflicting data, complex politics and intense pressures. Students are asked to explore new ventures and connect with entrepreneurs from all around the world. Finally, they also provide with the world’s newest updated leading research and resources to keep the students enlightened with newer information from any part of the world (HBS, 2016). Aside from learning from the strengths of business schools, APM/GSM could learn from others’ mistakes. A lot of HBS students have stated that professors have pushed them way too hard, some policies were too rigid and ridiculous and the school itself had expensive gatherings and social activities that students seem to become “customers” of the business instead of a normal student studying at a university (Byrne, 2015).

Finally, I believe that teachers should teach accordingly. I am a student of the Accounting and Finance major and I experienced a lot of trouble because most teachers believed that students should study by themselves and that teachers should not “spoon feed” their students. However, the majority of students will agree with me when I say that accounting is not the easiest subject to learn. Teachers should teach everything carefully and in detail. Explanations should not stray away from the materials being taught at the time and examples should be short, simple and direct. Of course, majors like Management and Marketing should be taught another way. According to the materials being taught, teachers should provide the students with a real life business case (preferably something recent) and guidelines to analyze it. I believe that teachers should teach the students differently, according to the majors. This brings me to my next point, which is the order of the lessons being taught. In APU, students could take some lessons in the wrong order (e.g. students are able to take Accounting 2 before finishing Accounting 1). This is unsystematic and it could cause confusion. Students will just take courses for the sake of completing their credits instead of actually learning something. APU should fix this system to create the ideal learning process for their students.

In conclusion, before creating any new innovations, I believe that APU should change and improve the resources that they have now. If they keep things as they are, it will be difficult for APU to really improve their standards and, of course, it would be very difficult to receive the AACSB accreditation. The foundation is the most important part, thus it should be fixed before adding more ideas to improve APM/GSM’s quality.

That's just my opinion on this matter. If you have any other suggestions, comments or criticism, please just leave them in the comment box below!  

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