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6 December 2015 – Merle A. Hinrich, Founder and Chairman of the Hinrich Foundation, completed a whirlwind weekend trip to Manila to give the commencement address to the Asian institute of Management’s (AIM) graduating class of 2015 and lay the foundation for a strong relationship with the school.

Merle Hinrich inspires Asian Institute of Management grads 1
In front of the AIM campus at the heart of the country’s business district, a large billboard announcing the graduation and Mr. Hinrich’s participation.

Mr. Hinrich, flew into Manila on Saturday for dinner at the invitation of AIM’s president and dean, Dr. Jikyeong Kang. Joining her were Noel Cortez, School Head, Washington SyCip Graduate School of Business and Gillian Stevens, Head, School of Executive Education.

Together with Hinrich Foundation Program Director Alex Boome, they discussed AIMs strategic direction and the Foundation’s focus on trade related education and training, export assistance for small and medium enterprises, and our international trade policy research.

President Kang was most inspired by the Foundation’s advances in work-integrated learning, industrial partnerships and the fact that all scholars have jobs waiting for them upon graduation. Upon learning about our Sustainable Trade Index, she immediately arranged a meeting on Sunday with Frederico Macaranas, AIM’s senior trade research staff.

Graduation day

Early Sunday morning, Mr. Hinrich and Alex arrived at the AIM campus at the heart of the country’s business district. In front of the campus, a large billboard announcing the graduation and Mr. Hinrich’s participation greeted them.

The ceremony was about to begin: Perfectly choreographed, the dignitaries and more than 100 candidates entered the room. Stunningly dressed, wearing traditional garb – from the Filipinos in their intricate Barong Tagalogs and the Filipinas looking elegant in their Maria Clara gowns, the Indian and Nepali women grads in their saris to the Bhutanese men in their Ghos.

Graduates gave the invocation for the Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic and Islam faiths.

After degrees were conferred for MBA, executive MBA, Master in Development Management (MDM) and Executive MDM degrees, representatives from the grads gave outstandingly eloquent responses.

Hinrich's commencement speech
Mr. Hinrich’s commencement speech encouraged graduates to pursue their passions, develop sales mastery and plan their personal philanthropy.

Follow your dream, learn how to sell and plan your philanthropy

In his well-received commencement address, Mr. Hinrich encouraged graduates to pursue their passions, develop sales mastery and plan their personal philanthropy

He shared a glimpse into his personal past, focusing on the critical choices he faced when he graduated with his master’s degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management: Accept one of several job offers from established multinationals in the US, or take a chance and pursue his passion for publishing with a start-up in Japan.

Following his passion, he did what he loves – talking with people from all walks of life, helping them grow their business, and contributing to the benefits that export trade brings to economies and individuals.

He stressed that as future business leaders, they will be called on to sell and marketing themselves, their companies, products and services every single day. That they will be able to fulfill their full potential by having a rich understanding of selling and human nature which lie at the core of every business.

On personal giving, he urged people to clearly define what they are interested in supporting and how much time, attention or other resources they are prepared to give. Once they have developed that plan, to clearly communicate that to their families and others in their lives. He spoke from experience when he said that having a clear plan will enable a much more rewarding experience as it will be propelled not by sense that it is compulsory, but by an eagerness to give.

Prior to the newly minted graduates embarking on their new futures, president Kang and the chairman of AIM’s Board of Trustees, Napeleon Nazareno, thanked Mr. Hinrich and presented him with a lovely gift as a token of appreciation.

Just before Mr. Hinrich headed to the airport, Alex said: “Now there will be dozens of people reflecting on their true passions, talking with their parents about new directions in their lives focusing on following their dreams.” Mr. Hinrich replied: “If they do it for the right reasons, they will never regret it.”

About the author – Alexander Boome

Merle Hinrich inspires Asian Institute of Management grads 2

Alexander Boome is Program Director of the Hinrich Foundation, responsible for developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the Foundation’s programs across Southeast Asia and mainland China.

He has 20 year’s expertise creating business opportunities for companies in Asia, including Greater China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. Prior to the Hinrich Foundation, he worked in the business-to-business export media industry with NASDAQ-listed Global Sources’ as general manager of corporate marketing. He served as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Palawan, Philippines from 1987 to 1989 where he established programs in community development, family health and the sustainable use of natural resources.

He has a degree in International Relations from the University of British Columbia, and has taken Master’s level coursework in Public Policy and Management at the University of London’s Centre for Financial and Economic Studies.