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From Desktops to Skytops

Another morning in Bangkok, the rain is pouring and the breakfast is status quo. The day starts early, heading off to Sasin School for a second day of informative lectures and talks from the industry. The walk over is muggy but the whole group seems to be getting used to the hot weather and spirits are high.

The first presentation is given by Panita Rujikietkamjorn, the founder of Healthy Silvers, a company focused on promoting mind, body, and soul for seniors. A Sasin graduate and young entrepreneur, she has experience in a variety of areas and with various companies. She spoke to us about the east world vs the west world in relation to business culture. As it turns out that while there are many differences, there also are a substantial amount of similarities. One similarity that really jumped out for us was how much work there is going into bridging the gender gap in Thailand, just like in Canada!

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Not used to sitting in class for hours, fidgeting started amongst the group and soon enough a snack break was called. Lucky for us, Mook decided to treat us with some fruit from her family’s farm. Called ma fai, it is a small pale yellow fruit that you crack open and eat the flesh around the bitter middle seed. It was delicious and so thoughtful of Mook to bring some for us.

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Back into the lecture hall, we were introduced to Surasit Sachev, the CEO of Hungry Hub (a Thai start up online restaurant reservation company) and staff member at the Sasin Entrepreneurship Center. He talked to us about the current entrepreneurship landscape in Thailand and where the growth is going to be going forward. It was interesting to hear that start-ups in Thailand are struggling due to being short of engineers to do their coding. Some of us might want to start considering a career change; there could be some opportunities out there.

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Tummies are rumbling and it is time for some lunch. Sasin once again is nice enough to supply lunch for us and it is delicious. Even Ed jumped in on this one, taking a spoonful of rice and enjoying the company around the table. There was also a pretty spicy soup being offered but Ed was having none of it, it was a little too fiery for his tastes.

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Lunch had to be wrapped up pretty quickly as a few of the students were not yet fully prepared for the group presentation that needed to be done later in the day. Breaking off into their groups, last run-through’s were done and final changes were made.

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After lunch, a new approach to learning was undertaken with Sasin organizing a panel on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For the panel, they brought in a UN representative on development programs, a government member of the Office of National Economic Social Development Board, a member from the Network of NGO-Business Partnerships, and a representative from Interface Floors. By having a representative from the UN, government, corporate, and local levels the panel gave us a chance to ask questions and hear all about the different views and how Thailand was going to meet the SDGs going forward.

To finish off the day at Sasin, it was time for the student groups to present on the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy in the various industries they had been assigned. Everyone did a great job pulling together a presentation after only being assigned the project 24 hours prior. There was one group that even went above and beyond by finding time to also put together a PowerPoint with pictures and all. It was a great conclusion to the two days at Sasin and gave the chance for us to finish off on a fun interactive note.

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School finished for the day and soon it was time to drop the dress clothes and get back into the tanks and flip flops that suit the Thailand weather. But then an idea emerged, what if we kept the dress clothes on, what if we headed to one of the tallest skytop bars in the world. A decision was made; a reservation was called in and soon enough a group of us headed off to the State Tower to enjoy a dinner and drinks above the lights of Bangkok. Unfortunately for us, rainy season was underway in this area of the world and Tuesday night was no exception. The world renowned skytop bar was not open, so plans had to change. The restaurant a few floors down from the top had a terrace that was open and overlooked the city of Bangkok so plans were changed to head down there. Amazing food and an even more amazing view capped off the night for the crew.

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Blog post submitted by Korea Thailand Study Tour participants Janelle, Brett, Tessa-Rae and Caitlyn. 

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