Growing up, people would often ask, “What do you want to become?”. As a child, I dreamed of becoming all sorts of things: a teacher, a doctor, a cook, a cashier, a singer, among others. But eventually, I had to definitively choose a career path to pursue. I have not become any of these as I took up BS Accountancy and became a Certified Public Accountant and U.S. Certified Management Accountant. Eventually I found my way to today’s Francyne – a professional in Corporate Finance.  

But even after college and landing a job, I still found myself constantly wondering about what I really wanted to do or become to fulfill my real purpose and goals. While my discoveries have been more about what I don’t want to do, I realized that I felt a sense of fulfillment and direction when I was learning. So aside from continuous development, that became my motivation to pursue graduate studies.  

Given my background, I initially had a strong inclination towards an MBA and MS Finance. In fact, during my admissions interview, the Interim School Head asked me, “Why not an MBA?”  I hesitated for a moment because the truth was that I really didn’t know. At that point I just wanted to know about the available learning opportunities for young professionals like myself, and whether my credentials were sufficient for me to qualify. And by some twist of fate, I learned about impact leadership and AIM’s Master in Development Management degree program.  

Given the evolving business landscape, I felt that the program would provide me with a different perspective from that with which I was familiar, and would be useful in responding to complex client and organizational needs. However, I still had some reservations because accounting professionals are usually engaged in four different sectors: public, private, government, and education. I wasn’t familiar about where and how development would come in. But since I wanted to learn, and the opportunity presented itself, I took the brave step and entered the program.  

In class, we usually talk about the 17 SDGs, how VUCA the world is, and how wicked the existing problems are. While several of my classmates can easily chime in and share their experiences in the development sector, I often found myself lost and overwhelmed, but at the same time, amazed that I had this opportunity to learn not just from AIM’s esteemed faculty, but also from MDM 2022’s diverse cohort. It has been a very busy, extremely enriching, yet quick ten months. Though this lay beyond my comfort zone, I found great support in the program. And I believe that through MDM, my decision to step outside of my comfort zone would eventually allow me to help provide a little more comfort for those who need it.  

If someone asks me today what i would like to become, I’d be dreaming of doing all sorts of things just as I did as my younger self. Now that I know that there is room for people like me in the development sector, I am empowered to respond to the needs of the community of which I am a part, aside from those of my clients and my organization. MDM helped me define my goals and purpose and equipped me with the tools and capital to achieve them.  

Even if the wicked problems of the VUCA world are daunting, I find comfort in what Ramon Magsaysay awardee Dr. Christopher Bernido shared in one of our classes. His advice was for us to simply try, because even if we fail, we still contribute to something bigger than ourselves. So whatever challenges and uncertainties lie ahead that might make us feel lost and overwhelmed, we all must keep on trying.  

It is what defines us. It is how we make a difference.