New JGSOM dean hopes to expand the innovation, sustainability, and inclusion footprint of Ateneo
05 Sep 2022
Roberto Galang PhD (AB Communication 1994) has worked at JBF Center for Banking and Finance in Manila, LECG in New York, AIM Policy Center in Manila, Navigant Consulting in Washington, DC and Manila, and Penn Schoen & Berland in New York. Galang also taught at the Leadership and Strategy Department in the mid-2010s before getting his post at the World Bank Group. He led studies and projects on economic development projects in countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
In June 2022, Galang came home to Ateneo with a different mission: to enlarge the innovation, sustainability, and inclusion footprint of the University as the dean of the John Gokongwei School of Management (JGSOM).
The school, he asserts, will focus on these three significant pillars.
"We need to create more disruptive entrepreneurs; we need to have them work with this new digital and tech-enabled corporate environment that we find ourselves in," he says. The importance of teaching and learning in a global society is more significant now: "We need to do more blended programs, more digital programs while enhancing our digital offerings. We need to provide the skillset to our students so that they can create the disruptive companies of tomorrow or work for corporations and organizations that they can also disrupt. "
Galang is excited to build on the foundation of JGSOM's programs to help continue its mission of building and nurturing a community of learners and leaders who will help tackle crucial global challenges such as climate change and sustainability.
"Climate change is a major global problem, and we at JGSOM want to create stronger steps in contributing to that. Therefore, our programs will be heavily aligned with sustainability," he says. Galang cites JSEC as an example.
Established in 2007, the John Gokongwei Student Enterprise Center (JSEC) is a student mall for aspiring entrepreneurs. Every school year, winners of the JSEC Challenge get to offer their products and services to the community. Galang notes that the revival of JSEC for this school year will include a sustainability aspect.
"Part of the challenge is JSEC is the need to have a sustainability footprint. Are they using less energy? Are they offering products that are sourced locally? Can they eat meat substitutes? We want to be at the forefront of sustainability," Galang says. "We have a sustainability management program. It is good that Ateneo is pushing the limits for this and trying to create a cadre of sustainability officers that can help. As an institution, it is not just a mechanism to teach students—you can also influence policy. You can go beyond the walls of the campus."
The third pillar, inclusion, is dinned into every Atenean.
"The man and woman for other concept is instilled into you; you're not just doing this for yourself. You're doing it to help those in need. All of our programs will have embedded inclusion frameworks. We want to expose our students to real-world problems and help them find the right partners so that the stakeholders can implement the solutions they create in class.”
Given the breadth of the school's expertise, Galang believes that JGSOM has much to contribute. To shape the University's path forward, Galang is bent on accelerating the school's research component. He adds that much of the research and analytics in management is done from a Western perspective and doesn't always apply in the Philippine context.
"Our goal as a university is to understand what management theories apply to the Philippines and ASEAN environment. We plan to produce more analytics and consumer insights with the programs. Our role as educators is teaching and equally important, is research."
The new dean, who earned his PhD in Management (2011), MS in Management (2009) from IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, and another MS in Economics for Development (1997) from Oxford University, United Kingdom, knows the huge task ahead but is confident that the endeavor can be done.
"The combination of scientists and practitioners in JGSOM makes us different and stronger than other management schools. We really pride ourselves in having those in the industry and those who studied the industry."
Now is an opportune time to creatively rethink teaching and learning. Galang believes that JGSOM is uniquely positioned to explore new ways of blending technology and engaging students, faculty, and staff.
"We need to retool. The metrics have changed. It's not just the school that has to repackage itself, but we, as educators, are challenged to relearn so that we can catalyze our students' projects. Hopefully, many of them will become unicorns of the future."