Sustainable development, Buddhism and travel: the Thai B-School creates “culturally agile” MBAs

Chulalongkorn University Sasin School of Management. Courtesy pictures

Thailand may not be the first country that comes to mind when the subject is higher business education in Asia. Ian Fenwick thinks that should change.

Fenwick thinks Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is a great place to study. Not only does it have a sense of inclusiveness, says the director of the Sasin School of Management at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, but it also has the infrastructure to support businesses, especially digital ones. The city was recently classified the second best place for digital nomads next to Lisbon, Portugal.

Moreover, Thailand — and Southeast Asia as a whole — is considered a “untapped market” According to JP Morgan: By 2030, reports the multinational investment banking giant, Southeast Asia is expected to add around 140 million new consumers. Even earlier, by 2025the internet economy in the region is expected to generate nearly $360 billion in gross manufactured value.

“Thailand is an extremely entrepreneurial country,” says Fenwick Poets&Quants. “It’s creative, dynamic, digital and a great place to start a business.”

A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO GRADUATE BUSINESS EDUCATION

Ian Fenwick: “I wouldn’t like to present Sasin as a religious school, but we have Buddhist monks who come to help us with some lessons.

Fenwick believes that if you want to do business in Asia, you have to immerse yourself in the culture. And with such rapid business growth on the continent, he believes students need to understand its implications in order to help take care of the planet.

“The future of business is totally uncertain,” says Fenwick. “We are going to see perpetual disruption, and the answers are not at the end of a book. People need to be able to understand – and operate within – different cultures, because culture matters to businesses everywhere.

This is why Sasin takes a different approach to business education. Focusing on equipping students with the skills to create a better world, the school integrates the teachings of Buddhism, international travel and sustainability into its curriculum – all with the aim of making students “culturally agile” and respectful of the environment.

“We are not trying to teach facts. We don’t even try to teach frameworks,” says Fenwick. “We try to teach people to be mindful, responsible and to think carefully about what’s on the table and the impact it will have.”

THE FIRST INTERNATIONALLY ACCREDITED BUSINESS SCHOOL IN THAILAND

As the first internationally accredited business school in Thailand, Sasin School of Management is located in the heart of the county’s bustling capital.

Led by the promise to “inspire, connect, and transform for a better, smarter, and sustainable world,” Sasin is one of two business schools at Chulalongkorn University. As a private school within a public university, it was created to be an “agile alternative that teaches in English to global standards”. Founded in 1982 through a collaboration between Chulalongkorn University, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Fenwick says an international cultural element has been ingrained in the philosophy of management. school from the start.

Although Kellogg and Wharton played a larger role (for the first five years of the school’s design, all teachers at the school came from Wharton, Kellogg and international partners), they are still involved in some measure ; Each year, EMBA students travel to Kellogg or Wharton for a two-week residential stay. For the past several years, Sasin has sent EMBA students exclusively to Kellogg.

Today, the school has partnered with 43 institutions in 19 countries. In addition, 60% of the school’s courses are given by visiting professors.

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