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AIM’s 1st undergraduate dual-degree program: Mentoring the Philippines’ future data scientists

BROAD CAST - Jing Castañeda - Philstar.com
AIM�s 1st undergraduate dual-degree program: Mentoring the Philippines� future data scientists
Asian Institute of Management’s pioneering batch for BS Data Science and Business Administration dual-degree.

Data science — or the process of extracting knowledge and insights from data—is a rapidly growing field with a wide range of application in business. It can help businesses make better decisions, improve efficiency, develop new products and services, and gain competitive advantage. Today, it is being used by retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and financial and technological companies, as it is a powerful tool that can be used to solve a wide range of business problems. 

This is why I see the Asian Institute of Management (AIM)’s decision to offer business and data in a single degree -- Bachelor of Science in Data Science and Business Administration (BSDSBA) -- to be a logical and long overdue move. Over the last 55 years, the management school has been known for its high-quality graduate programs. So it’s a wonderful news that it has decided to offer an undergrad program this year—and a dual degree program at that! 

Contributing to nation-building is something AIM has been doing over the last half a century.  But in her speech at the convocation, AIM President and Dean Dr. Jinkyeong Kang said, “We collectively concluded that we want to start early.” 

The good thing about AIM’s BSDSBA program is that it has forged a partnership with another prestigious institution, the University of Houston (UH). It’s “one of the largest business schools in the US and has the largest undergraduate business program in the State of Texas,” says Dr. Nikhi Celly, Director of the Office of Global Initiatives at Bauer College of Business at UH. 

The dual degree program combines the strengths of AIM’s Aboitiz School of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (thru its BSDSBA program), and UH’s C.T. Bauer College of Business (thru its Bachelor of Business Administration Major in Management Information Systems - BBAMIS). 

The program will be taught by faculty members from AIM and UH, “who have collaborated to create a curriculum that is both comprehensive and holistic, ensuring that students receive the best possible education in business and data science.”

(L-R) - Dr. Christopher Monterola (Head, AIM Aboitiz School of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship), Dr. Jikyeong Kang (President and Dean, AIM), Paul Pavlou (Dean, UH Bauer College) and Dr. Michelle Banawan (BSDSBA Academic Program Director, AIM).

The initial three years of the program at AIM are supplemented by an online UH class each semester, where students would benefit from top-notch computing facilities and instruction provided by experienced data scientists in practice. Then in their senior year, students can choose to study at UH in person or complete the UH degree through online courses. Opting for the in-person experience will grant them a 12-month visa, potentially enabling them to engage in Optional Practical Training in the United States upon program completion.

“There’s a huge value in exposing students to that kind of diversity,” Kang said at the media conference. “You being exposed to different kinds of perspectives, values, languages, business customs…[that] enriches one’s perspective.”

“I think it's a wonderful partnership between our two schools,” says Frank Kelley, Associate Dean of UH’s College of Business, in his welcome remarks. “We're very experiential in our teaching methodology. We're focused on developing the business leaders of tomorrow. And in terms of diversity, we are one of the most, if not perhaps the most diverse business program in the United States…” 

AIM, embracing the future of data science in business by mentoring the Filipino youth. (Left photo:  Fiana Castaneda Velasco (my daughter) with Dr. Christopher Monterola and Dr. Jikyeong Kang; Right photo: Fiana with Dr. Michelle Banawan)

Prof. Christopher Monterola, PhD (Head, AIM Aboitiz School of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship), is confident that AIM’s partnership with UH will help make it a more “globally competitive and world-class data science institution.” 

AIM also boasts of having a wide network in the field of business. “You will be meeting in the campus some of the biggest entrepreneurs in this country. In fact, to date, we have produced more than 1,000 entrepreneurs who scaled up their business as part of AIM,” he says during the convocation. 

I am actually quite excited because my daughter, Fiana—proud mom here!—has been accepted to be a part of this dual degree program, which as per AIM, is “the first of its kind in the country and the region.” She’s one of the first 51 students currently taking the BSDSBA program. And I must say, she’s having the time of her life!

Sharing her insights during the convocation, Fiana says “data science is indeed a lucrative and promising industry. But more than the peso and the dollar signs, I hope we continue to improve the quality of lives of the less fortunate. I hope we get to use this path of data science to trailblaze and make all the positive difference in other people’s lives.” Always aiming to make a difference is something we have always tried to inculcate in our children as they were growing up.

I am excited for Fiana as she sets out on her college journey at AIM and explores the world of data science.

In his message addressing BSDSBA Batch 2027, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairman Dr. J. Prospero E. De Vera III says the “event signifies the beginning of a new era in the realm of data science and business leadership.” 

“A significant transformation is underway globally,” says De Vera. “One in which data is assuming a pivotal role in steering decision-making, innovation, and expansion. Your expertise in data science, combined with a profound comprehension of Business Administration has endowed you with a distinctive skill combination, a potent fusion of technical excellence and strategic discernment that will empower you to forge a long-lasting influence.” 


Watch Pamilya Talk on FacebookYouTube and Kumu (@JingCastaneda – 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. Monday & Wednesday). You can also follow my social media accounts: InstagramFacebookYouTubeTiktokTwitter and Kumu. Please share your stories or suggest topics at [email protected].

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