Completing a graduate degree is a bucket-list-worthy goal for many of us; be it for personal development, reaching career goals, or simply for building a good network.
Mitch and JC, who have been married for 6 years and with two kids, also had this goal on their list. What amazed us though about this power couple is that they have decided to acquire their graduate degree at the same time by joining the Master of Science in Innovation and Business (MSIB) Program class of 2020 together.
Now if balancing studies and family isn't hard enough, both have full-time jobs and are even working on projects that are on the pre-startup stage. Mitch is an SAP Ariba Technology Project Manager at Accenture with 12 years of work experience. With her classmate Neo Salacup, she is working on a cooperative management platform that aims to help agricultural cooperatives organize and control their business operations. JC, on the other hand, is a Quality Assurance & Process Engineer at Meralco with more than nine years of experience in asset management specializing in the metering process and standards.
Q & A WITH JC & MITCH
You are the first married couple to take MSIB together, probably the first-ever in AIM. What made you decide to take it at the same time?
Mitch: As a couple, we always try to seek quality time with each other amidst all the work and family duties. Jay has always wanted to study, but he was a bit hesitant considering the amount of time it will consume because we both wanted to also have our own start-up company. We agreed that taking MSIB together is an excellent opportunity to scratch it off his bucket list while spending quality time together. We took on the AIM journey with support from each other.
JC and Mitch with their classmates after their evening class.
JC: Being in MSIB together is the side-effect of having a very supportive wife. Mitch enrolled in the program to support my bucket list number 3, which is to graduate from AIM. Mitch found out about the MSIB program, and she convinced me to "try" the entrance exam. At that point, I didn’t have any plans to enroll yet because I was considering my responsibilities to my family. However, I think her top-level influencing skills got the better of me.
Can you identify some challenges you encountered? How did you address these challenges? Any tips?
JC & Mitch: It is when we were both drowning with deadlines at school and work. On top of that, we also have duties to fulfill with the kids. It is exhausting because we must play several roles at a time.
It is not easy to cheer each other up when you are both tired and exhausted. So, we took a step back. We remind each other that for whatever we may or may not achieve as an individual or as a couple, we always have each other from the start and pray that we will have each other until the end.
Being together, at the minimum, is a blessing. So, always be grateful and always choose to be kind no matter what—prioritize relationships over everything.
Best memory while taking MSIB?
Mitch: I guess every class together is a good memory. We chose to be classmates. It was fun and satisfying to know that someone will be there no matter what.
I think to witness how passionate our Professors are and how much they care about our learning journey is something I will always be proud of and grateful for.
MSIB tradition is to take a class photo after each module
JC: We live in Laguna, and that usually takes us around 2 to 3 hours by car, depending on the traffic. Driving from school to our home is the best memory I can share because we are excited to see our kids. We will always find time to chat - share our learnings, disappointments, and appreciation for the day.
What subject were you always looking forward to and why?
Mitch: I love all our professors for sure, but my favorite subjects are Innovation Strategy with Business Model Design and Blueprint, Economics, Marketing, and Human Capital Management.
JC: It is hard to choose because I do like all our subjects and professors. In fact, we always talk about how much we appreciate them.
MSIB 2020 loves bonding by dining out after class
Complete the statements below:
As an AIM student, I...
Mitch: I am honored to be under the care of passionate and inspiring professors who push us to do better. They taught us how to contribute to society more than anything else.
JC: I will apply what I have learned to help solve our country’s challenges. I also wish to contribute to its progress for the benefit of our children and the succeeding generations to come.
Innovation matters because...
Mitch: It allows everyone to empathize and think of something that will give hope to others.
JC: It uncovers unforeseen solutions that challenge the status quo.
Aside from Grad School and work I...
Mitch: I am working on start-ups, namely Koop and NextConcept.
JC: We climb mountains, literally.
Fun fact: They have hiked seven mountains and counting together.
Mitch: That there's more to life than just living for ourselves.
JC: In God and his power to plan and orchestrate the best for our lives.
I wish for our kids to...
Mitch: I wish for our kids to grow beautifully for God's greater glory. I just want them to be happy and be a blessing to others in need.
JC: I wish for our kids to benefit from the innovations of my generation and become the women they want to be.
Under AIM’s Aboitiz School of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (ASITE), MSIB is a 15-month part-time degree program designed to teach STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Architecture / Agriculture, Mathematics/Medicine) graduates how to design and manage innovations in a start-up or a corporate setting. Classes are every Friday evenings and Saturday whole day. MSIB is now accepting applications for the 2022 cohort. Classes start April 2021.
Author: Cherrie Ruby Magbanua