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Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

Finance chief urges immersion for grads

F resh business graduates should become “servant-leaders” by helping impoverished communities develop micro and small enterprises that will serve as catalysts for growth and save society’s marginalized sectors from the poverty trap, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.

In his commencement address before graduates of the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, Dominguez said that instead of rushing into cushy corporate jobs inside air-conditioned offices, today’s business graduates should first go to the country’s “cluttered, disillusioned and disheartened” communities to help solve real life problems besetting our society.

“Help sort out the problems there. Build social enterprises. Organize the poor. Create capacity where there seems very little. Be crusaders for ethical business practices. Protect our environment,” Dominguez said in a speech that was read for him by Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua at the commencement exercises held at the Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) main campus in Loyola Heights, Quezon City..

Dominguez also thanked the AdMU in his speech for bestowing upon him the honor of being considered one of the university’s outstanding alumnus.

“I am not sure what exactly I have done to deserve this honor. I suppose it gives me the privilege of badgering you from time to time to contribute talent for government work,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez said the best business schools should produce conscientious graduates who are “more than artisans in the craft of creating wealth,” but also “leaders for modern societies driven by enterprise.”

Ateneo de Manila, f or one, produces more than graduates with functional skills but also persons inclined to be of service to others, he said.

“This year’s graduates surely learned everything there is to learn about doing business. The challenge now is to be leaders in our communities, to use the problem-solving skills you learned here to actually solve real-life problems that beset our society,” Dominguez said.

“I challenge all of you to seek not the comfort of air-conditioned offices early in your careers. Those offices dull the conscience and blunt your skills. Instead, you who are young and bright-eyed and full of idealism must go out to communities that are cluttered, disillusioned and disheartened,” he added.

The finance chief urged AdMU to pioneer small business immersion programs in its graduate school curriculum that would assign students to poor communities so that they could help micro enterprises, small agribusinesses and similar struggling endeavors to thrive and expand.

“Working for an established corporation is easy. With a good credit history, financing is readily accessible. With better pay, human resource is rarely a problem. With accumulated experience, management approaches rarely need to be inventive,” Dominguez said.

But for small enterprises, it is “a different world,” he noted. “They do not have the credit history to readily access financing.. They may have excellent products, but no distribution networks for them. They need your expertise. You will need the experience working in the raw.”

Dominguez said building a strong base of small but competently run enterprises with the help of graduates from the country’s best schools will have a “dramatic” impact on the country’s poverty profile.

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