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#9: AIM MBA Admissions Q&A with Dean Ricardo Lim

AIM MBA Dean Ricardo Lim

“The Philippines is a mix of East and West. We are almost as American as Americans but at the same time you are in Asia. Here is where you can learn from the clash of culturpes, and see all kinds of innovation and creative ways of doing things. It’s also very competitive, you have to be quick on your feet. The Philippines is such a diverse place to be in.”

Dr. Ricardo Lim, Dean of Asian Institute of Management, joined the Touch MBA podcast to discuss the AIM MBA, one of the longest running MBA programs in Asia. Founded in 1968 with the assistance of Harvard Business School, AIM was the first b-school in SE Asia to be accredited by AACSB, and its pedagogy is centered on the case-study method.

Dean Lim highlighted the rigorous nature of the program – AIM MBAs cover over 800 cases during the 16-month program and often put in over 80 hours a week. The program will only be admitting 70 students this year (one cohort) to keep the class “small and smart” and offer better placement opportunities.

At $31,000 USD, the AIM MBA offers great value to those who want rigorous instruction and a reputable degree to open opportunities in SouthEast Asia; 70% of graduates end up working outside the Philippines in countries like Singapore and India. AIM students can exchange with over 35 top MBAs around the world during their last semester. 10% of students receive full scholarships through the Asian Development Bank, and an additional 10% receive partial scholarships based on merit.

The AIM MBA in 3 words: differentiated, complex-proof, rigorous.

Listen on for much, much more!

Touch MBA’S AIM MBA Crib Sheet

Program Highlights

  • Class size: 70 students, 10-15 different nationalities
  • Program: 16 months, starts in August
  • Accredited by AACSB
  • AIM teaches through the case-study method, which emphasizes skills over knowledge
  • Students cover over 800 cases and over 80 hours a week on case-studies
  • Will introduce “learning laboratory” module in 2013 where students are paired with professors to do active study in the field
  • Top 40% of class can exchange at over 35 top MBA programs globally


  • First screen – submit GMAT & Resume
  • Second screen – submit rest of application (essays, recommendations, etc), which are evaluated by professors
  • If you pass the first two screens, you’ll be invited to a face-to-face or Skype interview. AIM prefers group interviews to observe how candidates communicate in a group setting.
  • Final decisions are returned 2-3 weeks after you submit an application
  • April 23 deadline (rolling admissions)
  • No minimum GMAT score, but Indian candidates should target 680-700 minimum, and the rest of SE Asia should target high 500s / low 600s minimum
  • Dean Lim’s 3 tips to applicants: 1) be natural, speak from the heart 2) be different, talk about your most interesting life-experiences and 3) be specific


  • Tuition: $31,000 USD. Living Costs: ~ $10,000
  • 10% of students get Full scholarships (tuition, living, 2 round trip fares) in conjunction with Asian Development Bank. ADB favors women in less developed countries (Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, etc)
  • 10% of students receive partial scholarships (20-25% of tuition), based on merit, meaning high leadership potential and strong GMATs
  • Filipino citizens and residents of the Philippines can get local loans.
  • Philippines member of Federal Assistance Program, so Americans can get student loans to attend AIM.


  • Last year, AIM graduates made over 227% of their salary from when before they arrived to after
  • 70% of students work abroad after graduation, majority of alumni work in SE Asia (where AIMs reputation is the strongest), but now also Europe and Middle East.
  • Common placements: banks, fast moving consumer goods, Asian manufacturing, branches of American firms operating in Philippines, Singapore and India
  • Career services helps students be more focused with their job search and story

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