The American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines
8th Business Orientation Program for Aspiring Leaders
By Robi Jone M. Lim , 8th BOP AdZU participant

The 8th Business Orientation Program (BOP) of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) endeavored to make tomorrow’s leaders aware of the contributions of American multinational businesses to the country’s development. The core component of the event revolved around gaining new perceptive of key global business and economic issues, as participants were engaged through a course of company site tours. To further supplement the process, in-depth discussions with management professionals were also included in the program.

The participants for the week-long BOP held last April 17-24 this year, most of which of the days were spent in Makati City, were selected from among different student-leaders belonging to various universities across the nation. The stringent screening procedure consisted of a series of examinations, essays, as well as a chain of interviews by company executives. This ensured that students possessed the needed capacity to engage in the many activities of the program which required both skills and wit.

The AmCham BOP sought to promote an atmosphere for the constructive exchange of ideas among aspiring young leaders from across the Philippines, extracting from them their analytical and problem-solving skills, as they face the challenges they would encounter along the duration of the program. It also encouraged the weaving of camaraderie among participants creating a stronger foundation, preparing them for the ultimate project they were tasked to present by the end of the week—a business plan.

For the business project, participants were divided into teams composed of students from different schools. This required students to apply their knowledge while they worked on a particular Harvard case on Globe Telecom during the Asian financial crisis back in 1997.

The winning team for the case study, comprised of individuals representing Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Ateneo de Naga University, De La Salle University, University of the Philippines–Diliman, and Miriam College, impressed the panel of judges which included Globe Telecom’s CEO, Mr. Ernest Cu by directly delving into the case as main issues were clearly identified. What immediately followed were the recommendations or the specific actions or strategies the company could employ in order to improve and persuade foreign investors to inject money in the business with the main issues considered. Having such straight and clear business plan presented, with a promising guarantee of success, the team received positive comments and feedbacks from the panel. Those sleepless nights and stressful, yet intellectual discussions and debates of the team’s members proved to have been of sure worth as they bagged the aspired gold medal of the competition. This definitely brought pride and honor to the respective universities which the participants represented.

With the rare break a typical student could get in his college days, the 8th BOP participants were sure to have had the best shot of their lives. Having a close encounter with top multinational company executives is not something that anyone can simply acquire by just buying off a ticket from a store. The memories and experiences in the program are truly worth keeping as they created an impact to the students. The BOP was an eye-opener toward the real situation of the business world in the country. It certainly influenced their lives in the nicest and most desirable way possible.

At the end of the day, the AmCham BOP experience will always be reminisced as Day 1 in the journey of climbing the peak of Everest—the beginning of the great expedition of bringing the country to a better height, leading the way toward true economic development.

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