In the Media : Experience focus of Sasin MAI challenge


Mar 5, 2009

Bangkok Post Newspaper,Section: Business

Experience, not textbooks, is the best teacher for any business executive, according to Thitinan Wattanavekin, head of deposits and marketing at Kiatnakin Bank.

She said a clear business plan and strategy was important in any crisis, and pointed to Kiatnakin’s own experience during the 1997 crisis. Kiatnakin was one of only two finance companies allowed to remain open by regulators out of 58 firms.

“The experience taught us that a realistic business plan is necessary for business,” Mrs Thitinan said.

Kiatnakin is sponsoring the 2009 MAI Bangkok Business Challenge@Sasin, a competition among business school students to develop the best business plan.

Mrs Thitinan said she hoped that participants in the competition would be able to learn from the real-life experiences and successes of the judges.

“I once asked my professor when I was studying at Sasin about the difference between an executive MBA programme and a regular one,” she said.

“The answer was that an executive programme focused on making decisions based on the information you receive, while regular students focus more on gathering the information needed to make a decision.

Without experience, you need to start with the data,” she said.

Professor Toemsakdi Krishnamra, director of the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration at Chulalongkorn University, said the contest was initiated in 2002 when the school marked its 20th anniversary.

From a national contest with 12 competitors, the competition has now expanded regionally and globally.

The 2009 competition focuses on creative ideas that can translate to real-life investments. Overall, 64 teams from 45 business schools in 23 countries are participating.

Sixteen teams from 13 countries will go to the semifinals, including three teams from Thailand representing Sasin, Thammasat University and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). The business plans will be presented at Sasin from Feb 26-28.

The contest includes three million baht in sponsorship from the Market for Alternative Investment and two million per year from Kiatnakin Bank.

Mrs Thitinan said the bank also offered scholarships to primary, secondary, undergraduate and graduate school students as part of its corporate and social responsibility programmes.

“We want to support good behaviour and make sure ethical students have an opportunity. 

“Talent without ethics does no good for society,” she said.


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