The 9th ASEF University (AU9) programme, `Asia-Europe Economic Partnership: Opportunities and Challenges for Enterprises in a Changing Global Environment’, convened from 1st-14th February, 2004 in Manila, the Philippines. It was the first time that the ASEF University programme focused on business and management issues.
34 students of economics, business, and management from 21 ASEM countries learnt about the challenges and opportunities for business enterprises in Asia and Europe against the backdrop of the changing global environment
The two-week programme was hosted by the John Gokongwei School of Management, Ateneo de Manila University. While previous programmes had dealt with international relations issues, AU9 was about business and entrepreneurship.
The participants attended lectures given by academics and practitioners from different countries on topics ranging from global economy to corporate branding. They also followed up on these lectures by exchanging views through smaller working groups.
The highlight of the programme in Manila was “AU9 Business Plan Competition”, where participants were divided into multinational teams, comprising Asian and European students. Each team was tasked to identify a business idea that would harness the economic complementarities between Asia and Europe and formulate a coherent strategy to convert that idea into a viable business. The competition provided the participants an opportunity to apply their knowledge of economic theory and business conditions in Asia and Europe. It also allowed them to experience a simulation of the challenges of doing business across cultural boundaries.
“We met as strangers and parted as friends. This is the greatest that [ASEF University} has done for us, to realise that this is a small world and the need to be united.” – Sathasivam s/o Meenakshi Sudaru (Malaysia)
“I have learned a lot more in two weeks at A U9 than in an entire semester at university. ” – Deirdre O’Mahony (Ireland)
The collaborative efforts of the various teams generated many interesting business ideas, which bore testimony to their industry and creativity. Prominent business figures in the Philippines, from both local enterprises and MNCs, were invited to judge the presentations. After two rounds, the team that emerged victorious comprised students from Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration (Austria), Copenhagen School of Business (Denmark), Diponegoro University (Indonesia), De La Salle University (Philippines) and the Nanyang Technological University (Singapore). The team had proposed the construction of plants in Beijing to generate electricity from the urban waste in Beijing. Each member was awarded a token cash prize of 500 Euros.
The 9th ASEF University was organised with the support of the Government of Japan, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, embassies of EU countries and the EC Delegation in Manila, and corporate and individual sponsors, including the JG Summit Group, ING Bank, ABN-AMRO, Victory Liner Bus Lines and Globe Telcom.