Action Learning

ASEAN Lab

This lab focuses on solving complex management challenges facing companies operating in Southeast Asia.

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ASEAN Lab

Welcome

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15.226 ASEAN Lab

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is an economic and political alliance of 10 countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam). All but one of the countries (Thailand) emerged post-WWII from a history of colonialism. Founded in 1967 by five of the current members (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand) its initial focus was “…to accelerate economic growth, social progress, and cultural development and to promote peace and security in Southeast Asia”. In 2003 the full member group created the AEC (ASEAN Economic Community) with a goal to create a single market and production base. It is still a work in progress. 

As a regional block, the ASEAN countries have a population greater than the European Union, North America, or South America. Its regional GDP would rank fifth among world economies. McKinsey & Co.’s study of leading developing economies lists eight of the ASEAN ten among the top 18 performers in GDP growth over the past 20 years. While the bloc has scale and growth characteristics, it also has significant elements of diversity: for example - Indonesia’s population of 270+ million vs Brunei at .5 million; Indonesia GDP at $1+ trillion vs Laos at $19 billion; GPD/capita of Singapore at $60k vs Myanmar at $1.5k. Political systems range from democracies to authoritarian and communist governments. There is no common language and religious and ethnic groups vary inter- and intra-countries. What they do have in common is a unique positioning in the economic and political interface between China and the U.S. (and its alliances). This presents a complex set of issues to address, representing both opportunity and risk for the ASEAN region. 

A major aim of this course is to analyze the decisions and performance of firms and their relationship to the greater political and economic contexts in which they operate in Southeast Asia and the global environment. As appropriate, we will highlight the region’s complex and complicated situation with China in terms of economy, trade and global supply chains. 

    ASEAN Lab

    Info for students

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    The class

    As an Action Learning course, ASEAN Lab has both a project component and classroom lectures. Students work in teams of four to solve complex management challenges facing companies operating in Southeast Asia. Project teams can be comprised of MIT students, or as joint teams with MBA students from Sasin School of Management (Bangkok). Classroom sessions will use case studies, lectures, class discussion, guest speakers and team projects to characterize the political economy and business dynamics of the region, and to explore lessons for strategy and operations of multinational and domestic organizations. 

    The Action Learning Lab experience of the course has three specific goals: 

    • To provide students with insights into the issues and challenges businesses face in Southeast Asia and in a global context, 
    • To structure for students an intensive experiential learning opportunity working collaboratively with senior leadership in a dynamic local organization, and 
    • To help students develop skills in integrated problem solving in order to assist organizations in complex situations to move to action. 
    ASEAN Lab

    Faculty

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    ASEAN Lab Faculty

    Yasheng Huang

    Yasheng Huang

    Behavioral and Policy Sciences

    Epoch Foundation Professor of International Management

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    John C. Grant

    John C. Grant

    Behavioral and Policy Sciences

    Senior Lecturer, International Action Learning Programs (G-Lab, China/India Lab, GO-Lab)

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    ASEAN Lab Mentors

    Luis Spencer Barros

    Luis Spencer Barros

    Behavioral and Policy Sciences

    Lecturer, Global Economics and Management (GEM).

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    David Birnbach

    David Birnbach

    Behavioral and Policy Sciences

    Lecturer, Global Economics and Management

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    Charles Kane

    Charles Kane

    Behavioral and Policy Sciences

    Senior Lecturer, Global Economics and Management and Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management

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