Reflecting on Seven Incredible Years as APD of the MSc in Data Science

Yesterday, we welcomed the ninth cohort of MSc in Data Science (MSDS) students at the Asian Institute of Management. It’s so surreal that we’re here… What’s more surreal is that this will be the last time I’ll welcome a cohort as Academic Director.

As I step down as the Director of the MSDS program, I find myself reflecting on an incredible journey that began back in 2017. These past seven years as the founding director have been nothing short of amazing, filled with both challenges and triumphs.

When we first launched this program, the landscape of analytics, data science, and AI was vastly different. It was a time when convincing organizations to invest in analytics was a daunting task, and the pool of properly trained data scientists in the Philippines was sparse. Yet, we persisted. The mission was clear: to bridge the gap between technical expertise and business acumen, and to cultivate a new generation of data scientists equipped to lead and innovate.

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The journey with AIM started even before I returned to the Philippines. Crafting a top-notch curriculum that seamlessly blended technical skills, business insights, and leadership was no easy feat. It required countless meetings with practitioners, industry experts, and business educators. But our hard work paid off. Since our launch, we have consistently ranked in the top 3 in data science education in Far East Asia according to the Eduniversal rankings. We have trained and developed nearly 300 data scientists, many of whom are now leading data science teams and spearheading digital transformation and AI strategy in their organizations.

Our impact extends beyond the classroom. We have engaged with nearly 75 industry and government use cases, emphasizing not just the power of AI tools but, more importantly, the business cases and ROI in artificial intelligence. This practical approach has ensured that our graduates are not only technically proficient but also business-savvy, making them highly sought after in the industry.

I am deeply grateful to AIM and President & Dean Jikyeong Kang, especially for entrusting me with this pioneering role. My heartfelt thanks go out to Jikyeong, Prof. Christopher Monterola, and my colleagues at the Aboitiz School of Innovation, Tech, and Entrepreneurship, and the various program team members through the years. I’d like to especially mention Prof. Christian Alis, Benjur Emmanuel “Gino” Borja, and Carmela Chupungco who have also been there since the beginning. The support from recruitment and marketing, admissions, career services, and the Dean’s office has been invaluable. Together, we have achieved a remarkable assurance of learning and have produced some of the most sought-after talent in the region.

What a journey it has been. Thank you all for the trust, collaboration, and shared vision. It has been an honor and a pleasure to work alongside you in building this legacy. As I pass the baton, I am confident that the future of the MSc in Data Science program is bright, and I look forward to witnessing its continued success.