LiBeL Column

The International Course Bandwagon Rolls On

Columns from The Nation newspaper

Are Thai MBA courses worth the money?

We Brits are always amused by the fact that Thai students don’t actually decide what they want to study until after they have passed the entrance exam and been accepted by a university.

A student I know passed the entrance exam with flying colours and I asked her what she was going to study, having just been accepted by both Thammasat or Mahidol universities, “I don’t know. My Mum likes architecture, my Dad wants me to be a dentist and a fortune teller told me I should study a course on irrational belief systems and their effect on the gullible. But I think I’ll do marketing because that’s what my group wants to do and if I don’t I won’t have any friends. ”

One glance at the newspaper classified ads reveals that those who fail the entrance should fear not, because there are literally dozens of ‘pay n’ pass’ private colleges and universities offering any number of courses to suit students from differing financial backgrounds.

One local farming co-operative cum educational institution has joined forces with a top British community college to offer a new course that is in keeping with Khun Thaksin’s views on education “I have a dream that the best degrees in the world will be bought from Thai universities”, business and society.

Ladies and Gentlemen . . it is with great pleasure that Ubon Ratchatani Academy of Buffalo Maintenance, in conjunction with Barrow-in-Furness College of Higher Education (International program), proudly announces a beautiful, embossed, degree in Applied Thai-Farang studies. This joint award is recognized in the UK and allows successful graduates direct entry into any vocational college within Cumbria, where they may pursue other subjects at the prestigious GCSE level.

The 4-year full time course includes the option to study abroad for 12 months at one of our affiliated colleges in neighbouring ASEAN nations. Choose either Burma – the General Myint U Win College for Theoretical Democracy or in Laos – the Maoist Institute of State Approved Knowledge. In order to ensure standards are kept high at all times this degree program follows a process of continuous assessment rather than being limited to a be all and end all Final exam. Students will therefore be required to submit a quarterly declaration of assets and tutors will assess students for aptitude in the essential skills (‘The three As’) required to succeed at university: appearance, aptitude in accessorising and altruism.

The part time degree allows students to study at their own pace. It is designed for those with only a little study time on their hands and whose ratio of grey bank notes to grey matter leans heavily towards the former. Although the degree should be completed over a period of 6 years, we recognize the fact that time is money and, as such, encourage students to purchase additional credits. These can be used to trim down the time taken to achieve the educational and financial benchmarks required to complete this degree.

The course has been designed by academic staff from both colleges over a 12-month period and will be taught in a new purpose built mini-campus in the heart of Bangkok. The planning and preparatory work entailed no fewer than 37 visits by faculty staff from Barrow to Bangkok and resulted in successful negotiations to house the new mini-campus on leafy Sukhumvit Soi 4.

The curriculum covers all aspects of international business life which could be adversely affected by not having sufficient knowledge to cope with Thai-Farang social and cultural differences. Modules include:

FS101: Meetings and business interactions. How not to wander in three-quarters of the way though meeting and ask expect the chairman to recap everything especially for you.

FS102: Problem solving for novices. How to find a solution, that doesn’t involve doing nothing and hoping the problem will disappear, when there’s no one around to ask.

FS103: Budget planning. How to go shopping and come back with the correct items, and only the correct items.

FS104: Commodities Trading. Common Sense. What it is, where to find it, why it’s in such short supply and how to apply it, should you ever possess it, in everyday situations.

FS105: Decision making. The speed in which you can say “Up to you” could well determine how far you rise up the corporate ladder.

FS106: Negotiation. Learning that not all business decisions can rely on the use of the aforementioned “Up to you” phrase. Case studies include all attempts at mass transit systems in Bangkok.

FS107: Career planning. How best to ask your family for a job and therefore avoid anything ‘un-sanook’, such as filling out application forms and attending interviews.

Applicants should send a resume detailing age, sex, weight, hair colour, shoe size and standing of parents in society to our Marketing department. Sign up today! The first 100 graduates will be offered the choice of being presented with their degree certificates by either Bow or Joyce from Triumph Kingdom – subject to them being successful pop tarts and not nobodies 4 years hence.