An MBA from SMU equips Mr Jatutana Pitakpong with much-needed hands-on business experience
Jan 10, 2019
He thought his Bachelor of Business Administration from Assumption University in Thailand would suffice.
But after he started working at Google’s Business Development and Client Acquisition, 30-year-old Jatutana Pitakpong realised that while he had the theoretical knowledge, he could not apply it effectively in his daily work.
That’s when he realised that a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Singapore Management University would fill that gap.
The prospect of an MBA began to look far more enticing after a promotion, with his new role requiring him to interact constantly with C-level executives and senior stakeholders — making him painfully aware of the gap in his practical experience.
“I felt that it was time to sharpen my tool kit by gaining real-life experience and learn from other professionals who’re at the same stage of their careers,” he says.
But Mr Pitakpong didn’t just want the paper qualification, he wanted a postgraduate education where he would be able to engage intellectually with his classmates. So he visited several schools to observe their MBA lectures and seminars.
At SMU, the class format and teaching method at Lee Kong Chian School of Business stood out.
“The lecturers were using real case studies to illustrate business theories and the students were actively participating,” says Mr Pitakpong.
Doing the course part-time turned out to be tricky as he had to juggle work and studies, and his job requires him to travel regularly.
In fact, most of his assignments had to be completed on the plane.
“I gained invaluable experience at SMU,” he says.
“After participating in class discussions, listening to guest speakers and analysing business case studies, I have a better understanding of how to apply business frameworks to real-life situations. I am also more confident now when dealing with business partners and C-suite clients.”
In his 18 months at SMU, Mr Pitakpong won both the Global Awareness Scholarship and the Community Impact Scholarship, took part in an exchange programme with IE Business School in Spain, and for one of his classes, even helped to conceptualise a subscription-based product to help women cope with the stresses of their menstrual cycle.
Now he’s inspired to do even more.
Mr Pitakpong plans to eventually return to Bangkok to start his own business, and also become a part-time lecturer at a Thai university.
“I believe the education system in Thailand needs to evolve from memory-based to experiential learning, and change to something more in line with what is offered by the Lee Kong Chian curriculum,” he says.
“I hope to benefit the students in Thailand with my academic and professional experience in Singapore.”