11 February 2016 - December 6 marked the graduation day for AIM's Batch 2015. Below is the transcript of Ms. Maidy Lynn Enteria Lim's MDM Student Response on behalf of MDM 2015.
This is a Story of YOU:U
It is because of you that I am here, your love said, we don’t need to be wealthy to get the best education, we just need to work hard as a family to make it happen.
So I left you home 11 months ago with my hot pink luggage, a packet full of ideals and unlimited supply of positivity.
And I found you:u
Yes you. 5 regions, 14 countries, 51 minds, all in one room looking different, sounding exotic and very nationalistic. You were a stranger with all the ranks and titles but I could only remember your name because in class we were equals.
We were put together in a mix that they call 9 multi-cultural learning teams; our heaven or hell for the next 10 months. Love it or hate it, you and I were married to them and divorce was not an option.
Yes, spouses and beloveds, we were the 3rd party that robbed you off your sweetheart’s time. And single men and ladies, we were the uninvited guests that joined you in your bed.
And so it happened
I ate on a budget, you struggled looking for a Halal or a vegetarian meal and moved to stacking up on noodles to be sure.
My eyes twitched from the stress of reading cases, you barely slept after the last page but was already braving the darkness with your flashlight for an early morning commute.
I was drowning from understanding the diverse personalities, religions and cultures, you were drained from trying to be understood.
I was slipping, you were dangling.
We BOTH fell, and fall hard we did. PROFESSOR it was painful.
Fallen, we kept breaking.
That first 8-hour gruelling exam was really a disaster! Yolanda wiped us out and broke our pride. The balance sheets were not balancing and we were still three standard deviations away from advancing in the leadership board in Nomadic. Safe save was not so safe but yes we were saved.
A weekend of causal loops was just a simple fix that failed but we got so loopy we made love loops. The high demand of course work and the low supply of energy increased the desire for lipstick: for HOPE. And ladies, sorry so many boys so little time!
We got plus points for speaking in class but we also got minus for doing the sam, so what to do? After all the hard work on the problem trees, objective trees and logical frameworks, the feasibility study was not feasible. And finally, the Management Research Report, code name MRR is actually GRR…or grrrrr.
So the 11 months that passed felt like 11 years because of the losses, mistakes and failures. You and I have never been so humbled in our decades of service.
Seeing you now, you lost muscle weight and also started to look pregnant but you are a man so that can't be. I gained weight, have multi-layered eye bags and look like an adolescent with rosy pimples but I'm 35 so this has got to stop!
BUT MUST ALL THE BREAKING REALLY STOP NOW THAT WE HAVE COME TO THIS JUNCTION?
WAS IT NOT BEING BROKEN THAT MADE US WHAT WE ARE NOW?
AND WHAT IS BEING BROKEN ANYWAY? IS IT NOT THE HIGH WALLS THAT WE BUILT TO PROTECT OUR EGO?
Sure… the learning team conflicts either pushed us to walk away, voice out or stay quiet but it taught us the science of listening, the art of managing people and the value of community learning.
Sure… a dozen of us were locked out of the case room and it was an epic moment of embarrassment but it taught us the power of authority and challenged us to exercise leadership.
Sure… that trip to 9 uncharted territories in the Philippines for a Rapid Area Appraisal had some of us saying good bye from an erupting volcano in Bulusan or staying away from the religiously forbidden pig but we came up with reports that proved worthy of an exhibit to celebrate the lessons and raise awareness about the communities.
Sure… that International Field Review to 9 rural areas in Thailand made us feel so limited with us not being able to speak Thai beyond kop kun ka and sawadi ka… but it pushed us to be resourceful in data collection and highlighted our commitment to deliver under pressure.
Sure… our MDM journey was mired with disasters even outside the Philippines: From the cancellation of our trip to Sri Lanka, to moving away from the earthquakes in Nepal to being welcomed by 2 bombs in Thailand. But these literally showed us what the world has to deal with whilst we are preparing to be of better help.
Sure… the MRR drained the life out of us but now we have projects that we can offer and even deliver so we can hit the ground running after being away for almost one year.
YES YOU… we have been broken and we have risen as we stand here now but we will not fear being vulnerable again because this is how we learn and THIS IS HOW WE GROW.
As we leave the halls of this institute with the Professors who mentored us, with the program staff who toiled to support us, with the service staff that consistently pampered us as though we were VIPs even if we looked like zombies… as we leave all these with gratitude, we call on you to learn from us as we learned from you.
The MDM 2015 that you see now is a family that grew inside and outside the case rooms. This family, once stirred crazy are your disruptors and innovators. So, we call on you to take forward the moments that we co-created as an active and dynamic family. They are simple but honest and special. These moments more than kept us sane, they made us happy. They made us normal, human, grounded and loved.
Remember the New Year celebrations, I'm sorry western world, but Asia has more than one calendar and each distinct year tells of our people’s story.
Remember the short parties after the exam or in between MRR writing, they disturbed the trend of despair without getting drunk.
Remember the national costumes, wearing or swapping them are all about diversity and solidarity.
Remember the food that tells the richness of a people’s culture, if they are not available here then at least let us cook so you too can have a taste of our world.
Remember the sacred occasions that our brothers and sisters observe and converse with them about it so we can share in appreciation.
Remember the simple gatherings that do not need massive funding. Good company, sharing positivity and expressing love are priceless after all.
We also call on you to journey with us away from the halls of this institute.
Our friends from MBA, who we finally discovered in Module 3 after being strangers for 8 months, we would love to collaborate with you in leading our people.
Our fellows from EMBA and EMDM, we wish to partner with you and share networks for our development mission.
Our Professors, we will work with you in our vision for a globally competitive Asia.
As we leave to continue with our promise of service to the 14 countries that we call our home, we call on you to have faith in us as we will have faith in you. We will be better and we will do better.
Our MDM family will be apart soon but we are closer than ever and this will be our strength, we will never be alone.
BECAUSE, beyond us is YOU:U
YES, YOU… OUR BIGGER COMMUNITY. JOIN US.
TOGETHER WE ARE HOPE.
TOGETHER WE CAN.
About the Speaker
Maidy Lynn Enteria Lim came from Davao City, Philippines. She is an international development worker specializing on youth in development who, prior to taking up the Master in Development Management (MDM) Program, was a Youth Project Supervisor in VSO.
Ms. Lim graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences from the University of the Philippines in Mindanao. She was MDM 2015's Event (Community) Coordinator and was a Module 2 Dean's Lister. Her MRR for the MDM Program was A Feasibility Study and Entry Strategy for the Operationalization of the Integrated Diaspora and Local Youth Program as a Social Enterprise for VSO.