The Sasin School of Management, based at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, will ensure that its students not only understand business principles and practices, but also the importance of culture. In Thailand, this culture is largely inseparable from the country’s predominant religion, Buddhism. Rather than ignoring Buddhism or clumsily co-opting it, which has drawn criticism in the past, students at the Sasin School of Management will learn to work creatively with this growing global religion.
Professor Ian Fenwick, Director of the Sasin School of Management, said: “The future of business is completely uncertain. 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. (Poets & Quants)
Multinational investment bank JP Morgan predicts that Southeast Asia’s population will grow by around 140 million by 2030. In addition, the bank expects the growth of the online economy reach US$360 billion in merchandise value by 2025 and nearly US$1 trillion by 2030 as the next hub for multinational companies,” JP Morgan noted the region’s proximity to China and its growing global commercial weight:
In 2022, countries in the region ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement with Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. RCEP has created the world‘s largest free trade area covering 30% of the world’s population.
Thailand in particular is seen as having great potential. “Thailand is a hugely entrepreneurial country,” Professor Fenwick said. “It’s creative, dynamic, digital and a great place to start a business.” (Poets & Quants)
Under the guidance of Professor Fenwick, Sasin will teach students to immerse themselves in local cultures. The dynamic nature of Southeast Asia’s growing economies will require future business leaders to understand local people, beliefs, social structures, mores, and more.
“The future of business is totally uncertain,” said Professor 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. (Poets & Quants)
Sasin will therefore focus on teaching students the skills to create a better world by integrating the teachings of Buddhism, international travel and sustainability into its curriculum. All of these would aim to create agile and flexible students who are ready to work in changing and uncertain environments.
“We are not trying to teach facts. We’re not even trying to teach executives,” Professor Fenwick said. “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.” (Poets & Quants)
Sasin School of Management is the first internationally accredited business school in Thailand. It is one of two business schools of Chulalongkorn University, a public research university in Bangkok founded in 1899, during the reign of King Chulalongkorn. Sasin, however, is a private school within the public university, established in 1982 through a collaboration between Chulalongkorn University, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Theravada Buddhism is the most widespread religion in Thailand, with 94.5% of the national population of 69 million identifying as Buddhists, according to the 2015 government census. The Southeast Asian kingdom has some 40,000 Buddhist temples and nearly 300,000 monks. Islam represents 5.4% of the population, while Christianity represents 1.1%.
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