I t is my very great pleasure to welcome everyone to the ground breaking ceremony of the Asia School of Business (ASB) campus. This event marks another significant milestone since the signing ceremony in Boston about a year ago in April 2015 that initiated the collaboration between Bank Negara Malaysia and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan (MIT Sloan) School of Management to establish the Asia School of Business in Kuala Lumpur.
The establishment of ASB aims to develop future leaders that will contribute towards the advancement of the emerging world, in particular, in Asia. In view of Asia’s increasing role in the global economy, there is already a growing global interest to be part of the Asian experience and its exciting transformation and growth potential. The Asia School of Business offers two key value propositions: the practical application of business management education; and being a global learning centre that focuses on issues and challenges from the emerging world, especially from the Asian region.
Less than a year since the signing of the MOU with MIT, much has been achieved. This very much reflects the drive and commitment of those involved from MIT and from the Bank Negara Malaysia team. Firstly, the project was able to rise to the challenge of all the necessary regulatory approvals in record time. Then there was the finalisation of the curriculum that has drawn from the best offered by the MIT Sloan School that is reinforced by the perspectives from the emerging world, in particular from Asia. The school will also benefit immensely from the MIT Sloan’s Action Learning approach to education that allows for the practical orientation of the learning experience. For this we have already built up a network of corporate partners from the different parts of the region to support this endeavour.
Progress has also been achieved in the student recruitment that meets the high MIT standards. Given that a major motivation of students that attend business schools in this globalised world is not only the education it offers and the exposure gained from businesses but also the opportunity to build networks of regional and international associations. The diversity in backgrounds and jurisdictions for our intake of students will provide this experience. For this inaugural MBA program, the applications received so far are high calibre applicants from all parts of the world. The recruitment is still an ongoing process, with applicants that span six different continents. Finally, the temporary campus for this first intake of students is now ready. All the facilities in Sasana Kijang for the school including the work area for the faculty and learning rooms have been completed. Concurrent with this, the work on the architectural design of the new campus on this 20 acre land in the green lung of Kuala Lumpur has commenced. Not only will it meet all the functionality and logistic requirements but it will also have an Asian identity and character that will not only reinforce the campus as a hub for learning and research but it will also generate strong energies and excitement for the students and the faculty.
The current campus of ASB is strategically positioned in Sasana Kijang that comprises an institutional cluster of intellectual excellence that has common interest and standards. ASB will be a key component of this broader community, which now includes a World Bank research office, the headquarters of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion, the SEACEN Centre, along with the Islamic Financial Services Board. Sasana Kijang has now become a focal point for regional and international collaboration and discourse. This cluster is evolving to become a vibrant community, offering a unique blend of synergy where learning opportunities, thought leadership and innovation in emerging Asia are coming together.
In conclusion, I wish to express our gratitude and appreciation to the MIT Sloan School and the team at Bank Negara Malaysia for their immense efforts and drive to bring the project to its current stage. I truly believe that the ASB will achieve its intended objective and will be a pride of our talent education landscape. In the spirit of cooperation and partnership that has defined the journey thus far, let us take ASB forward to the heights that we have every potential to achieve.