My University Has Always Been Relevant To The Times

How my university developed me as a COVID-generation business student

Byrne Joshua Al-ag
5 min readNov 22, 2020
Photo by Aadil Ayub on Unsplash

What I miss the most, as a student, is the opportunity to meet and interact with my professors to discuss ideas and hone my reasoning. The physical study areas provided by our libraries and halls made studying more fun and productive. We enjoyed a wide array of journals and research materials that were useful for our life in a research university.

But as the pandemic paved the way to online learning, many initiatives of the university increased in priority to accommodate the needs of the academic community. In short, my university was prepared for the online setting.

The university developed a strategic plan from 2020–2023 to address the concerns of the academic plan. This can be summarized under ANIMO (Accompaniment, Niches, Impact, Ministry & Opening). The plan aims to make the digital platform experience better by updating, centralizing, and migrating key academic and non-academic services online through initiatives like BITUIN. Supporting stakeholders, specifically Philippine enterprises, by providing easier access to research and think-tanks. Expanding their network of industry partners for internships and research. All of these to continue being the leading international research institute reflected by the university’s pursuit towards major SDG developments.

As a business student, the university teaches us to hold on to its values and virtues to become a good business leader.

Becoming a lawyer-business leader has been a dream of mine ever since graduating senior high school. So I ask myself, what kind of business leader do I want to be? How do I distinguish myself from other business leaders?

Each of us have our own strengths and weaknesses that shape our character and personality. A different number of tests exists like the MBTI personality test and StrengthsFinder to understand ourselves more. Coming to know myself as a consistent ENFJ, I envision myself being a passionate and relational business leader in the corporate world. Whether by being a mentor, leader, or manager, I ground myself on my faith and values to guide my actions and decision making.

The university’s strategic plan gives me the opportunity to optimize and use the available materials to me. Realistically speaking, the new digital platform experience still has a lot to improve like taking measures against cheating and dishonesty. During groupworks and organization work, communicating with team members can also become an issue since we cannot assume that everyone has reliable internet connection. But as for me, I began exploring different productivity applications like Notion. I used the time and opportunity to expand my personal connections and make new friends with people outside the university. I continue making an impact through the online setting by contributing in the different organizations that I am a part of. Doing consulting and community building work online.

If we are to be objective in analyzing the university’s impact during the pandemic, let’s take a look at the Six Practical Principles for Business. How does the university stay relevant during this time? By simply continuing providing quality education and supporting the Philippine business environment, they are already meeting the six standards that business leaders should value. Initiatives to keep enterprises alive through giving access to research materials is one way how the university pursues its advocacies. The university is in itself a business, as long as they are able to deliver the services of educating students through the digital platforms, they generally satisfy the principles of Good Goods and Good Work. However, one of the criticism’s towards the university are the constant tuition fees even if on-campus classes are cancelled. This brings to question whether the admin understands the concept of Good Wealth. Thankfully, after petitions through the university student government, we were able to get a 10 to 20 percent discount from our tuition. Showing a lack of Innovation towards their progressive tuition model and implementation of one of their key strategies.

Another common issue is the faulty websites that cannot support the existing number of students. The university admits and has started initiatives to make processes like enlistment and payment easier and modern. Issues of website crashes and other consistencies are always brought up before the next term starts. The BITUIN initiative was started to solve these problems, however, three years since it started, the current websites that students use for services like requesting documents and enlistment have not yet been improved.

Amongst the 5 key strategies of ANIMO, I believe that Accompaniment gives the university’s academic community an edge during the pandemic. As everything is being done online within the confines of our homes, giving students and researchers the means and the tools to contribute are essential. Although, we cannot fully replicate face to face interactions, it is important to provide services that aid in self learning. Let’s face it, not all professors are good teachers and students ourselves sometimes find it hard to focus at the screen. The university provides access to a number of databases relevant to almost any field of study. Among these include JSTOR and EUROMONITOR. Not only does this benefit us students, but also gears the university towards maintaining its position as a top research university in the Philippines. Not just from the number of research papers that we produce, but also through the insights that we contribute backed up by research.

If I were to give an estimate the effectiveness of the strategic plan, the admins of the university did a good job in transitioning to the online setting. They expanded their counselling services and made research materials accessible online. Since the vision of BITUIN has not yet been reached, the faculty uses other EdTech platforms like Canvas and McGraw-Hill Connect for our readings and assessments. After taking into consideration what was mentioned before, I personally give them an excellent rating towards Accompaniment and Niches. Impact is rated as very good because of the unresolved issues but I am positive that the university will be able to commit to this goal as this raises the opportunity of working with software engineers to improve online services. With the threats of complacency (from faculty and students) and as the cure against the pandemic is fast approaching, the need for these initiatives may soon lower in priority giving a rating of good towards Ministry and Opening as their initiatives are not yet realized.

As a 2nd year business student, I hope to be an excellent student by learning how to be adaptive and insightful during these times. To especially be resourceful and responsible in learning at the online setting. The university has given each of us the tools that will aid us, but it is up to us students to do our best in each task we are faced. As an officer at organizations inside school, I will do my best to contribute by answering the needs of the academic community. Whether through events like webinars, competitions, or by surrounding people with a community.

P.S. this is my first blog at Medium as an assignment in my course! Comment any points for improvement below.