Asia School of Business: Creating an ASEAN legacy

The Asia School of Business on creating an educational institution that Malaysia can be proud of. 
Kuala Lumpur, 29 April 2016: Malaysia is positioning itself as an education hub in the region and a destination for international students, a vision that is shared by the many international universities that have already established a presence here.

Monash University, Curtin University, Heriot-Watt University and The University of Nottingham are among the globally-recognised names that have established campuses in Malaysia. Then, last year, Bank Negara Malaysia and the MIT Sloan School of Management forged a partnership that has now made Malaysia an even more prominent education destination. The result of that partnership is the Asia School of Business (ASB), located in Kuala Lumpur.
“About three years ago, outgoing Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Zeti Akhtar Abdul Aziz approached a couple of schools in the United States with the intention of building a global, top ranked business school in Malaysia and she wanted to have an academic partner with one of the top ten schools in the world. She wanted to ensure that the new business school would have global standards for high quality education and global reach,” Loredana Padurean, assistant professor of management and faculty director for action learning at ASB told InvestKL in a recent interview.

“Out of the schools that she, MIT seemed to fit her desired agenda and what excited her about MIT was their philosophy of applied learning or action learning, where the students spend time on-site with companies while they are at school learning,” she added.

She explained that MIT Sloan and the Malaysian central bank signed a ten-year partnership for the Asia School of Business and that this is the longest partnership that MIT has ever signed. “Incidentally, it is also MIT’s first partnership to build a business school. This is the first business school owned by a central bank in the world,” Loredana emphasised.  The school is currently located at Sasana Kijang in Kuala Lumpur and construction of the business school’s campus is currently underway and expected to be completed in 2019.

What is the school’s mission?  “Our mission is to develop transformative and principled leaders, the Governor had a vision that the MBA programme should truly transform graduating students. She (Zeti) has talked about Wharton being one of her most transformative experiences in terms of learning and networking and she wanted a similar experience for her students,” Loredana said.

“Asia School of Business is not our school, it’s Malaysia’s school, it’s Asia’s school. It is an opportunity for Malaysia to become a global player on the higher education map. And we want to leave a legacy that makes everybody proud. 

“We want this legacy to be a source of pride and opportunity not only for Malaysian students, but for Malaysian businesses, for Southeast Asian businesses. And I think it’s time for Malaysia to have a top business school in the top ranks,” she added.

According to Loredana, the school’s main focus is developing expertise about Asia.  “We want to attract global students who are interested in becoming leaders about Asian businesses. You don’t have to be Asian or in Asia to become a leader in Asian concepts,” she explained, adding that the school’s first intake is in September this year and that it will have students from as many as 10 nationalities.
We asked Loredana’s thoughts on Malaysian talent and whether they are up to par. “For example, we have interns at ASB, most of them are Malaysians. Forget about talent, they have such outstanding attitude. They’re excited; they want to change the world.

“We are here to make this school a reason of pride for Malaysia and Southeast Asia. I also think that students who have study abroad experiences, I think they have a very interesting story…we recently hired a researcher who’s Malaysian and studied in six countries. It’s an outstanding story, because today if you don’t have a global perspective, you don’t really have the perspective and understanding of what a disruptive presence you can be,” she said.

“So what I want to encourage Malaysian students in general is to open their eyes to the world and even if you are working on short projects abroad, it does change the way you view things,” Loredana added.

She also said that because ASB wants an international student class it is imperative for their students to have cultural sensitivity towards other cultures. “Malaysia already has a very high IQ of cultural sensitivity because of the number of cultures we have here, different nationalities, so that helps a lot,” she said of Malaysian talent.
But the million-dollar question is why Malaysia and more importantly, why Kuala Lumpur? Professor Richard Schmalensee, former dean of MIT Sloan and co-chair of ASB’s board of governors told InvestKL via email:  “KL is an attractive location from several points of view, but what really made this a great opportunity was the active involvement and commitment of Bank Negara Malaysia and its globally respected leader, Governor Zeti.”

When asked what impresses him most about Kuala Lumpur, he replied that “It is a modern, attractive city that is remarkably cosmopolitan.” He added: “KL’s location in Malaysia, a leader in the important and rapidly growing ASEAN region, positions it well to be a higher education hub,” he said. 
For more information on the Asia School of Business visit their website at

Source: InvestKL