Tuesday, May 18, 2010


The climate day for an MBA course was last Saturday. We were divided into six groups to present our dissertations. Well, most of us felt nervous even though we had presented many case studies during our coursework papers. This time, most of us complaining that we are feeling nervous to defence our dissertation outcome in front of examiners which are consisting of Dr Noraini (Head of Coursework, IGS) and one of the lecturers that taught us before. However, all of us done very very wellllllll......... congratulation for be able to complete the MBA course in time.

From left (above): Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nik Mohamad Naziman, Assoc. Prof. Tn. Hj. Hussin, and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Noraini

In this pic. (from left): Assoc. Prof. Dato' Dr Hj. Hilmi, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Omar and Assoc. Prof. Zulkifli.

Moha's group: medang and man...

Kuca Lana's group: Nafiz, Rosli and Hafiz

Ahmad's group: relaxing after finished presentation...from left(back): Ms Nin, Ahmad and Hilal.

Apa yang diternenungkan tu bro wan...silap ker?

Abg Wan's group: Riza, Sulaiman

medang...ko jual ubat ker tu...hoi obat oo obat, mari beli obat...cam kenal jer lirik tu...heheee

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Academic Visit to Kuantan Port Consortium (KPC)

Global business issue subject (GBI 790) required us to get information from industry manager, thus our group ended-up at KPC. To get first hand information from industrial, our group had visited Kuantan Port Consortium. Our arrival was welcomed by its HR Manager. Then, followed by brief explanation by its GM (marine). Capt. Azah is a very supportive and understanding to us. He allowed us to get experience on how tug boat is working in assisting big ship to berth. At closing session, he gave more informative lecture which related to current economic crisis and expansion plan of the Kuantan Port. His vast experience in shipping industry brought him all around the world such as Australia, US, Japan, etc. The most important thing is he has his own competitive advantage ( a special license to handle a big ship) which the others captain do not have.

rasa macam berlakon titanic la...

Capt. Azah (centre - wearing white shirt)... 1st word came out from him "don't judge the book by it cover"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The MBA – is it still relevant? WHAT ARE WE TO DO


I was in Manila for a gathering of governors and trustees of the Asian Institute of Management. Among them were the cream of the Makati business community, and a cross-section of entrepreneurs and scholars from India to Korea and Japan, as well as from the United States, Britain and Australia.

Supported by the Harvard Business School (HBS), the institute was founded 42 years ago. It’s the oldest post-war business school in Asia. This set me thinking about the MBA (Master of Business Administration) in the wake of the financial crisis.

A thirtysomething asks: “Don’t we ever learn?” He’s referring to the Generation Y’s concern over negative perceptions about banks and bankers, following big bankruptcies in the early 2000s, and now exacerbated by the financial crisis.

We seem to be stuck in an evolving quagmire of intense rage against big business’ bloated profits and outlandish bonuses. To be blunt, there is loss of confidence in financial institutions – investment banks, credit rating agencies and regulators even, including business schools. Surely, MBAs have lost a bit of their lustre.

I’m angry because many people at the heart of the crisis – from Christopher Cox (former US Securities and Exchange Commission chairman) and former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (ex-Goldman Sachs chief) to former Merrill Lynch CEOs Stan O’Neal and John Thain, and Rick Wagoner, the ousted General Motors CEO – each carry a Harvard MBA. They should have known better.

To be fair, although some of the worst culprits had MBAs from other schools, lots of others didn’t (Bernard Madoff for one). It is easy to confuse correlation with causation.

I am angry because the teaching of ethics and values-based leadership was not taken seriously enough. Critics point to many MBAs being not well-equipped to make good judgements, and didn’t have enough good sense to take corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the next level.

I am angry because many MBAs have a dangerous overdose of quantitative models, with underexposure to management of systems-wide risks. MBAs are good at analysis, not always at managing.

Still, greedy appetites in a “corrupt” eco-system can overpower even the best management education. For comfort, CEOs (with MBAs) of Canada’s two largest banks did just fine. While Wall Street bankers had no qualms in gearing their borrowing at 34 to 1, Canadian institutions played it safe with 18 to 1. They are doing well, of course, while their US counterparts are on life support.

A little bit of history

The MBA started life in the 1900s (at HBS in 1908). The aim was to train professional managers to run large institutions (like Standard Oil and GM) so that they wouldn’t take undue advantage of markets and consumers. CSR was also strongly advocated. Giant enterprises need to be managed for the public’s good, not for short-term gains.

After World War II, the Ford and Carnegie Foundations supported serious reviews to modernise the MBA. It was a time of market liberalisation. Nobel-winning economist Milton Friedman and the Chicago School increasingly dominated business thinking. Their ideology glorifies markets as efficient and capable of regulating themselves, and all managers have to do is to maximise shareholder value.

Critics argue that this very thinking got us into so much trouble today. This is the point made by HBS professor R. Khurana in his 2007 book on the history of MBAs, From Higher Aims to Hired Hands, which concludes that business schools (B-schools) have veered from their original purpose of “training managers to rule in the name of society”.

This new preoccupation with quantitative methods and mathematical models, including the use of advanced analysis, unfortunately gave MBAs the illusion of being able to control financial risks. Moreover, their teaching was flawed by ignoring a good sense of ethics (“largely a waste of time” anyway) and imparting lots of moneymaking know-how.

I overheard this at MIT-Sloan last summer: “In physical science, three laws explain 99% of behaviour; in finance, 99 laws can explain at best only 3%.”

The trouble with rankings

As I see it, BSRs (B-school rankings) are part of the problem. Sure, market pressure from BSRs exert the needed competition to improve curricula and teaching. But undue attention to drive up BSRs can have unintended consequences: (i) higher starting pay means admitting the more mature; (ii) stress on higher paying sectors skewa curriculum to favour Wall Street; (iii) funds are misdirected towards coaching students to perform well at interviews so as to raise job offers; and (iv) the focus on professional education is undermined – instead, students ask: “How can I make the most money?”

Ratings target short performance drivers, and needlessly bias B-schools’ marketing efforts. Prof J.M. Podolny (Apple University and formerly of Harvard, Yale and Stanford) was emphatic: “I do object to the manner in which rankings have legitimised most business schools’ myopic focus on the short term.”

Management education adds value

When asked whether the MBA is still relevant, HBS professor Quinn Mills gives a quick and crisp response: “Yes and more than ever.” According to him, business has become more important as financial crises challenge political stability and economic welfare.

MBA training helps students better understand the ecosystem and master developments. The education has two elements – one is about business and economics and the other, management and leadership.

The first looks outside the firm to its context (customers, suppliers, regulators, markets), while the second looks inside the firm to its effectiveness, efficiency, planning and implementation. Both are important to the success of individuals in a leadership position.

Mills is convinced the problems in financial markets involve more than the business element. Problems arise in what financial firms are doing to others and to each other, not in how efficiently they are managed. Many say it’s all a leadership problem. If Wall Street firms were better led – less greedy and more responsible - these problems would not arise. Many major MBA programmes emphasise technicalities of finance – training people to work in banks, not to lead them. It is in financial engineering that problems have arisen.

Unfortunately, nations have yet to reform financial regulation. Sad to say, B-schools have not sufficiently revised curricula to reflect lessons from the crisis, though in individual courses and cases, there is much that is now up-to-date.

Financial engineering continues to be taught, but is also updated to reflect disasters that have occurred (complicated securitisation, credit default swaps and complex derivatives) so that similar errors might be avoided in future. Also, ethics courses have been strengthened in response to dramatic cases of fraud (Madoff, Stanford, etc). Hopefully, students are better prepared to meet the world as it now is.

Through it all, acceptances to MBA programmes are significantly up in 2009. In the end, this simply means more business as usual.

Too little core revamp

Nevertheless, there has been since a lot of soul searching, including at HBS. Prof Nabil El-Hage (HBS senior associate dean) has this update: “We concluded that teaching critical thinking skill is one area we must do better. Our students go on to be leaders; they need to know how to think and challenge the status quo in a clearly analytical fashion.”

He adds: “The other, perhaps more mundane, area is risk management. This is difficult to teach. It is not exciting, it is not fun, and it is not so much about leadership. But if businesses focus strictly on the upside and lose sight of inherent risks, then crises are bound to recur. So, we are thinking long and hard about how to deal with this.”

In the final analysis, I believe real change will come through punishment by the one factor B-schools understand best: the market.

A promise to be ethical

The original sin of B-schools has been that there has been no real focus on business ethics and CSR. In the post-Madoff era, this is now urgent. But quality teaching is a problem since these “were kind of shunted in” after the early 2000s scandals, wrote P.D. Broughton, in his tell-all book about his years at HBS, Ahead of the Curve. Khurana confirms ethics was brought in like “academic theatrics” and have been since “quietly abandoned or marginalised”.

But students are not happy. Last summer, I attended Harvard’s Commencement, when new HBS graduates took on the MBA Oath, saying essentially greed is not good. This is a voluntary student-led living pledge to “act with utmost integrity and in an ethical manner” and to guard against “behaviour that advances my own narrow ambitions but harms the enterprise and society it serves”.

This is not unlike that of Columbia: “I adhere to principles of truth, integrity and respect. I will not cheat, steal or tolerate those who do.”

What’s being done appears serious, mirroring the Hippocratic Oath of doctors “not to do wrong” or the US lawyers’ pledge to “uphold law and constitution.” When I was at Harvard for the Commencement, 200 (grading class of 800) had already signed up.

This movement has been contagious. Diana Robertson of Wharton doesn’t think it will just fade. “It’s coming from students; we’ve not seen such surge of activism since the ‘60s.” For Khurana, it is now timely to transform business management into a true profession. This will involve licensing and an oversight body to police members. But he is not optimistic this will happen. It’s still very much work-in-progress.

Mills doesn’t see how business can really gain. The management/leadership element of MBA, he says, is too much an art for it to be professionalised. The finance side is already governed by a quasi-professional standard – the fiduciary responsibility rule (a financial advisor is legally bound to put clients’ interests above all). In practice, this rule is already not much honoured by financial advisors, money managers and courts. Mills sees little reason why new professional rules will perform better. He has a point.

How best to regain trust

We may not feel it as much in Asia. But even on Wall Street, there is resentment building up on the way MBAs are educated. The world has changed. B-schools have yet to change with it. To reduce distrust, MBAs need to show they value what society values.

As I see it, what is not taken seriously enough are the “soft” disciplines (leadership, values and ethics) and greater attention to detail (big picture education is not good enough). Leadership responsibilities need to be brought to the forefront – not just the rewards.

There are no quick fixes. Podolmy pointed to five possible ways: (a) foster greater complementary – integrate the mix of disciplines, linking analytics to values; (b) appoint team teaching – ensure “hard” and “soft” disciplines are jointly taught, giving a holistic understanding of problems and solutions; (c) incentivise qualitative research – cultivate a more eclectic approach, encouraging faculty to better weave “soft” disciplines into the main fabric of education; (d) stop competing on rankings – regain professional focus and downplay money as the end-all of business; and (e) withdraw the degree – oaths work when behaviour is monitored and credentials withdrawn on violations.

I think these warrant serious consideration. They are difficult to accept and hard to implement. Once upon a time, kings engaged jesters to bring them down to earth. Maybe, it’s now timely for B-schools to do likewise by encouraging faculty and students to prick bubbles, expose management fads, and even rough up “hero” managers. Yes, in a sense, to bite the hand that feeds them.

Realistically, I am convinced such changes are unlikely since it requires B-schools to re-invent themselves. Says Dean Light of HBS: “The crisis has not resulted in a systematic reinvention of curriculum, nor should it.” After all, as in every crisis, enrolment is up. So what’s your problem?

Former banker Lin is a Harvard-educated economist and a British Chartered Scientist who now spends time promoting public interest.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


This is our last class for OPM 770 -management of operation. To curtain off this subject, we need to present our case study based on real business world. As usual, we were divided into few groups consisting between three to four members. Our lecturer, Prof. Wan Mansor, PhD, very supportive in guiding us to make this final.

well, look at these pics...most of us look enjoying presenting their respective topics...

uhumm..group Kak Ami, as usual will present about beauty products. This time, they selected Loreal as their beautiful product to be amazed. arghhh...perempuan kan!!!

Look at this brother... very serious in giving explanation about Air Asia's operation management. His group very sure that Air Asia is building competitive advantage through operation management - cost leading.

Well, penghulu group as usual presenting their favourite company - The Rhu Beach Resort! Huh, many things need to be corrected. As said by Prof. Wan Mansor, PhD, it is something impossible to align the operation with the suggestions given by them...but good try...

Penghulu, made few jokes but not attracted other colleagues. To avoid his unhappy feeling, we were instructed by timbalan penghulu to laugh...huhuhuuu... anyhow, we know that he is a very hard working man. He keeps doing jokes to ensure he will retain his title as Raja Lawak...heheeee, jangan marah ye...

Well, younger lecturer group...huhuhuuu...as their core subject they performed well in presentation but to unfortunate fate they were presenting something too technical which they have to pay by getting unfavourable remarks from Prof. Wan Mansor, PhD. Jgn la tunjuk teror sangat...kan..kan..kan...

Well, maybe one of our group should do ABR in operation management...Think about the topic...

Prof. Wan Mansor, PhD, what can we say now is only thank you very much for been our guidance in OPM subject.

Monday, November 9, 2009


control mancho all bros there...at centre is Prof. Wan Monsor,PhD, our OPM lecturer...

uhummm...they're waiting to 'ngap' the big crabs in front of them...sapa cepat dia dapat...hahaaaa..

Prof. Wan Monsor,PhD, cam dah menjeling tu...huh yummy nyerrrrr....

apa yang dia orang tengah asyik mendengar tu, ada lecture lagi ker masa makang pong...ish...ish...ish, batch ini memang rajin la...

may be because of that la, most of our lecturers praise us for being smart as well as hard working students...

bro baju hijau tu cam tak cukup jer...masih memandang tepat pada oh... hidangan yang lazat dan berkhasiat tu...

ni anak sapa plak ni...seme lauk pauk nak disapu nyer ...ish...ish...ish...malu nyer kawan ngan budak nie..

perghhh...rugi la dak dapat join dia orang ni, anyhow on that day I can't wait even for a single minute since somebody who is I really love is waiting to go to her mother's cousin house...

there also got kenduri bros..

huishh...cik kak ni tengah makang pong suka gelak-gelak...eeiiiii, dah lah dalam kelas cam tu, acceptable la, tapi masa makang pong cam tu juga...bukan salah ibu mengandung ekk???

yang tu sorang lagi tu, nampak jer kurus tapi bab makang, perghhh...tengak licin, cam pakai axion lak...tu nak tambah lagi ker?

bro nafiz..apa crite nie...
penghulu dan juga timbalan penghulu...siap telepon dan diikuti dengan sms bertalu-talu suruh masuk gak gambar nie...walaupong takde kene mengena ngan jamuan tu...poning eden...tapi apa boleh wat, nanti penghulu merajuk...susuh wo...

uhumm...kak ami cam merajuk jer...setakat tengok jer ker...ish..ish..ish...kak ami teringat kat cik abang kat umah ekk...apa la cik abang makan nie...

tapi tengok bro baju merah tu...huhhh...tak ingat anak bini kalu bab makan ni...tu tambah yang kali ke brape ekk? ke bekalan untuk gi mancing malam nanti ekk? kaki pancing ni ehemm...agak-agak jer la...

anyway, here I want to declare that, I appoint myself to represent of all my colleagues to say very thanks to Prof. Wan Mansor, PhD, for taught us with patience and able to tolerate with our behaviour... heheee...break time suppose to be only 15 minutes but most of the time we spend almost 30 minutes...hahahaaa...

hope to see you again some time later but not as our lecturer but could be as our ABR supervisor.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


OPM is a very realistic subject...hahaaa, why huh? Most of the topics we were taught can be implement at our work even you are not sitting as operation manager. For example, if you are financial controller of a company, it is still related to studying OPM. OPM gives us more thorough understanding in controlling and managing operation as well as controlling through quantitative measurement.

Our lecture, Prof. Dr. Wan Mansor quite good in giving lecture even at some point of times, he is too narrative but he will ensure the students can grab what he is trying to convey to us. We were taught by lots of Prof. For past one year, and we found that methods of giving lecture not the same. However, most of them will try hard to make students understand. This can be noticed at the end of every lecture session.

To brief what we are learnt from this subject, below are the main chapters:

· Overview of operation management

· Operation in a global environment

· Design of goods and services

· Quality management and product quality

· Process strategy and capacity planning

· Location strategies

· Layout strategy

· Job design and supply chain

· Inventory management

· E-commerce and operation management

· Project planning

After finished this subject, students are expected to gain a good understanding in decision making related to operation management and be able to improve skills and apply analytical approaches to problem solving.