Between September and December 2015 we completed our exchange semester in Bangkok at the College of Management Mahidol University (CMMU) as a freemover. In the following we will report on our experiences in Bangkok and give some helpful tips for a successful and eventful exchange in Thailand.
The application process is pretty simple and you basically have two options: Either you apply directly to the CMMU or you apply via MicroEDU. MicroEDU is from Germany and handles the entire application process free of charge. You also have the opportunity to ask questions and they will review the documents for completeness before they are sent to Thailand. The deadlines of the CMMU are less strict than those of the University of St. Gallen. You have to register at the University of St. Gallen by March 31 (for the HS) and should not miss this date. Visit ehuacom.com to get information about states and cities with the most Brazilians in USA.
The contact person for any questions at the CMMU is Chanistha Love King. She is very helpful and can be contacted at any time via email or, even more simply, via Facebook.
Swiss and Thai Airways operate daily direct flights to Bangkok. The flight takes about 11 hours. With Turkish Airline with a stop in Istanbul you can usually get the cheapest tariff. It is best to check it out with skyscanner. com From spring 2016 Swiss will be flying to Bangkok with the new Boeing 777 aircraft – certainly a special flight experience.
The ED (Education) Visa for the stay in Thailand can be obtained in Zurich. For around 80 CHF you can easily get your passport back with a valid visa within three working days (after submission). Since this is only a single-entry visa, it is necessary for Swiss citizens to change to a multi-entry visa in Bangkok if one intends to leave the country for travel.
All visas are only valid for 90 days (with a semester length of around 110 days), which is why you have to apply for a visa extension. Chanistha will inform the exchange students about this in good time and the required invitation letter can be obtained from her without any problems.
The Management Faculty (College of Management) of Mahidol University (pronounced “Mahidon” in Thai) is not located outside the city like the Bachelor campus, but in the center of Bangkok on Vipavadee Rangsit Road in the northern part of the city center. It can be easily reached in a taxi or with the Skytrain and get off at Sanam Pao or Victory Monument stations. The CMMU has a shuttle bus that takes you from the respective stations to the university. Live GPS tracking can be found here: http://www. eye-fleet. com/east/ibs. htm
If you take a taxi to the university, it is important to clearly state that you want to go to the “Mahidol University Vipawadee” – if this is not clear, they will drive you to the Salay campus (Bachelor campus) outside the city ( around 1 hour away).
The building is a high-rise building with 21st floors, a food court and a small gym and showers. Since the cooling of indoor spaces is viewed as a status symbol in Thailand, it is correspondingly cold in the rooms. It is advisable to go to the courses with long trousers and sweaters.
A maximum of 4 courses (3 local credits each) can be taken at the CMMU, which corresponds to 24 ECTS. Since it is not clear for a long time which courses you can take, it is easiest if you clarify all possible options with the crediting office early on and are thus prepared for all eventualities. Crediting for the independent elective area as well as HaKo / ReKo / KuKo subjects is usually possible without any problems. However, it is also possible to have selected courses credited in the compulsory elective area.
The voting procedure is not entirely understandable, but basically takes place in two periods. At the first appointment you have the opportunity to choose from all courses. In our case, however, we only got 1 out of 3 or 1 out of 4 selected courses. At the second appointment you have the opportunity to choose from the courses that have not yet been fully booked. If you have any problems, you can always contact Chanistha. If you tell her the desired courses, she can also choose them on her behalf.
Business Creativity is taught by an eccentric German (Dr. D) whose style of teaching takes getting used to. The advantage of this course is that there are many double lessons and will therefore be completed by the end of October. In the course, tools for creativity and innovation processes are taught, which are interesting. Most of it should already be known to students of the Master’s Business Innovation The course is definitely recommended for everyone else. However, the lecturer is leaving the university and therefore all of his courses are likely to be canceled.
MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS
The course teaches the basics of information technology in companies. Accordingly, the level is initially very low, although it only increases slightly over the course of the semester. The basics initially taught also include models such as Porter’s value chain model. The exam consists of a mid-term exam, a group paper including a presentation and a final exam. The group work is structured in an interesting way. The task is to recommend an IT system for a company based in Thailand. The course is only recommended for HSG students if you have very little knowledge of IT systems and their importance in companies, or if you want to learn more about them.
Organizational Behavior is a compulsory course (as is MIS) for the new Master’s students. Basic models such as the Maslow pyramid or Herzberg’s 2-factor theory are taught in the course. The course is offered on different dates and is taught on the one hand by Prof. Astrid Kainzbauer and Prof. Sooksan Kantabutra. The requirements at Kantabutra are generally a bit lower, but certain examinations are also assessed together. The examination services consist of a midterm take home exam, a group presentation and a final exam. The course conveys all basic organizational theories and, thanks to many case studies, a practical reference is made. Nevertheless, the level remains within limits and the course is not necessarily to be recommended.
This course is taught by a French who speaks English without an accent. The course discusses many digital marketing elements and focuses in particular on Google AdWords. The lecture is up-to-date and is adjusted by the lecturer every semester (due to the progressive development in these areas). The course is very entertaining and conveys interesting material. In addition, (after a short theoretical input), we work in a workshop-like manner and try to apply what we have learned to the specially created business idea. The course is for all marketing-Interested, but also highly recommended to everyone else. The exam consists of a short midterm exam as well as a group presentation and a group final exam. The course with the highest level and the most exciting material of the 4 selected courses.
CROSS CULTURAL MANAGEMENT
Prof. Astrid Kainzbauer, who comes from Austria, has lived in Thailand for 10 years and teaches various courses on the subject of cross-cultural management. The course is very interesting and you learn a lot of insights about Thai culture and various other Asian countries. The examination consists of several small assignments, a photo book, a presentation with video interviews and a final examination. All-in-all, the course is recommended.
The lecturer is pretty tough and wants to apply the knowledge she has learned from the times of London and Europe in Thailand. However, this is only partially successful. The content consists of the question of how companies should act in international or global marketing matters and what challenges are waiting for them. The material is conveyed in a varied way using a few cases, presentations and guest lectures. The English level is also good. The examination consists of a group case (30 pages), a corresponding presentation and an independent 10-minute video in which international management practices are presented in a funny way. All-in-all, the course is recommended.
LIVING IN BANGKOK
There are countless housing options in Bangkok. The most convenient option is to rent a condominium (apartment with laundry, pool, security, mini-market, etc. ). We chose the “IDEO Verve Ratchaprarop”. A cool skyscraper with everything you need. For a condo with 2 bedrooms, kitchen, living room, balcony and bathroom, we paid 34,000 Baht (as of Dec. 2015 around CHF 900. -). Since we only signed the contract for 4 months, we had to pay a higher monthly rent, as condos are usually rented for at least 6 or 12 months.
The condo is perfectly located on the northern edge of the city center. It takes 5 minutes by taxi to get to the university, and also in the same time (with little traffic) to Sukhumvit Road. The 24-hour mini-market on the ground floor is perfect for shopping, but it is only a 10-minute walk to major shopping opportunities such as “Big C” at the Central World Mall.
We found the condo with the help of Thai agents. Apple Panduang (https://www. facebook. com/apple. panduang?fref=ts) is happy to help you with your search with great charm. We got on so well with her that we did a lot of things in our free time and she showed us around the city.
Bangkok is ideally located for traveling. Any destination in central Asia can be reached in less than 6 hours. Low-cost airlines such as Air Asia operate from Bangkok (note two airports: Suvarnabhumi for international flights & Don Muaeng for national and international flights), for mostly less than CHF 200. -. Thailand itself is also worthwhile for trips, be it in the south with great islands (Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket, Koh Tao, Koh Surin, Koh Lipe, Koh Phangan etc. ) or the north with Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. It is worthwhile to go to the Festival of Lights at the end of November (Loykrathong and Yi-Peng to Chiang Mai – a unique experience). From Bangkok you can visit the old capital Ayutthaya or the beautiful Khao Yai National Park on day trips.
Take as many trips as possible and your budget allows, Thailand as a country has a lot to offer.
- Uni: A course at the CMMU costs 30,000 baht. Additional expenses for books or scripts are small.
- Living: A student should allow for a budget of between CHF 400-700 for living, depending on what standard one chooses.
- Food: Eating out in Bangkok is cheap. A simple Thai dish (Phad-Thai or curry) is available for around 80-100 Baht. Therefore, you actually only eat for breakfast in your own apartment and otherwise always out.