For many Filipinos, obtaining an MBA degree can open windows to better opportunities that could lead to successful careers and financial stability. Sadly, there are numerous reasons why many of us can’t get enrolled in leading business schools, among them are difficulties in meeting the school’s stringent qualifications, budget constraints, and tight schedules of those who are already holding jobs.
Integra Business School, founded in 2016, is open to technical trade professionals who want to learn more about entreprenuership.
Unlike Bachelor of Science degree holders, technical trade professionals aren’t qualified to enroll in business schools.
Integra caters to a demand for a more practical, efficient, and affordable approach in teaching business to individuals. It also utilizes a solution that bridges the gap between mentor and student, by providing flexible schedules in various sites in an affordable class package.
One of Integra’s founders is Chef Rob Pengson. He said many chefs like him finished their education in technical certificate culinary schools and thus aren’t Bachelor of Science degree holders. Many of these chefs dream of establishing their own restaurants or food business, he said.
“Culinary arts schools train you to be a technician, not a manager, not an entrepreneur, and definitely not a restaurant owner. Being a technician is a great advantage but one needs to pair it with business management and entrepreneurial knowledge,” he said.
Operating a restaurant entails proficient managerial skills and strong business acumen. One needs the business expertise to ensure the success of the establishment. This expertise can be learned from business schools.
“The Integra Business School is the business school for everyone,” said Pengson. “It is especially for those who aren’t qualified to learn the principles of top managers and executives. It’s for technicians and creative people. I believe that these people are just like me in that we think differently. We need a better way to learn about business. I also believe that all of us are engaged in our business so it’s a universal skill to have.”
He continued, “Integra focuses on speaking the language of today, imparting practical knowledge that is immediately actionable using only up to date principles. The core values of Passion, Professionalism, and Proficiency are at the center of its day to day activities.”
It was last year when Integra started offering its certificate program in Entrepreneurship, Digital Marketing, and Leadership. Dubbed “MBE” or Master Class for Business and Entrepreneurship, the program includes lectures from mentors who happen to be active in their respective industries.
The mentors include a restaurateur, a YouTube vlogger, a tech start-up founder, an EVP of a Fortune 500 company, an SEO professional, and a president of a service industry company.
So far, Integra has accepted over a hundred students. Most of them belong to the 28- to 38-year-old age bracket and are a mix of entrepreneurs and managers of private corporations.
On the last day of the program, students present their own business ideas in “pitches” to an audience of investors, businessmen, coaches, and mentors. Through that business pitch activity, one student, Clara Herrera, a former flight attendant, managed to raise a sizable amount of pledges to build her resort spa in Palawan.
“Clara was so good that we now have her as a guest lecturer,” noted Pengson. “We’ve noticed that our students get the funding they seek after attending Integra. They learn new skills and the language of business so they get to be taken seriously by investors. Their concepts become better, they make better financial forecasts, and implement leaner management principles.”
Integra also offers courses on Digital Marketing Fundamentals, LEAN Management, Strategic Management, and Entrepreneurial Finance, giving birth to an alternative program to the MBA, the Diploma in MBE (Management, Business Administration, and Entrepreneurship). It has also started mentoring sessions with former students who seek more assistance in starting their ventures, and given customized training programs to corporations and existing businesses.
Pengson said Integra is launching its online learning platform next year, thus giving more students the opportunities to enroll. Integra will thus be offering the MBE experience in live classroom and digital forms.
He noted how furthering his education changed his life and career for the better and he wants to share what he has learned through Integra. “Combining creativity with entrepreneurship and the correct business management principles will help a person’s career in the same way it has helped mine. I consider myself an even greater success whenever I see my students succeed in the real world,” he said.