The continuous change in our domestic business environment and threat of global competition are forcing me to seek for ways and means to improve myself in order to expand our family business. I am an entrepreneur from Thailand. My family business is into manufacturing of plastic sandals and we have been successful so far, selling our products in the domestic market. Some of the companies we deal with export our products to neighboring countries, such as Laos and Vietnam. With the imminent establishment of ASEAN Economic community (AEC) in 2015, I realized that while global competition in inevitable, there is also vast opportunity to be gained in expanding our market throughout Southeast Asia.
My background is in Engineering. After finishing my degree, I joined NISSAN Motor Asia Pacific as a design engineer. Here I gained not only the technical skills, but also the soft skills that help me be effective. Learning the art of communication and negotiation facilitated my cooperation with production, purchasing, and marketing teams, as well as our suppliers. It likewise, opened my eyes on the value of marketing. With the different customers in the regional market we cater to, namely, Thailand, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, and Malaysia, the specifications of the cars we produced cannot be the same. For example, Indonesians prefer their family cars to have 7 seats --for parents, children and nannies, while Thais with same size family, would opt for a 5-seater family car. I learned that understanding these differences in customer needs is what helps determine which products to sell, and marketing research plays a crucial role in delivering this information.
When time came for me to manage our family business, I brought these knowledge and skills with me. Before long, I realized that my engineering background alone is not enough to successfully run a manufacturing company. Even with comparable technology and production capacity, my family business still falls behind many competitors within our industry. I believe part of this is due to the lack of understanding of our customers’ requirements. We tend to serve a small share of our customers and produce products that barely break even. We lack a marketing strategy to be competitive in the market and a brand that will define our products to differentiate it from the rest in the market.
It was at this point that I became keenly interested in searching for a business school that would fill in my lack of technical and practical skills in Marketing. My experience as an exchange student at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, U.S.A. made me even more passionate to look at foreign schools. I learned a lot from the guidance of great professors while attending courses at the Tuck School of Business, and enjoyed sharing fresh new ideas alongside American and European classmates. I was prompted to overcome cultural differences by working with my foreign students who seemed to be more confident participating in class and delving deeper into subject matters. In contrast, Asian students are much more passive in class and generally, are not expected to ask questions from their professors.
In my search for business schools that would fit my needs, the quote from Peter Drucker in Cass Business School website struck me: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two--and only two--basic functions: marketing and innovation”. It succinctly described my desire to further my studies in Marketing. I find the modules you offer to be challenging and the practical applications to be very useful for an entrepreneur like me. I believe that a MSc. in Marketing Strategy & Innovation gained from your prestigious school would give me not only the knowledge, but also the exposure to international issues and wealth of wisdom from your professors who have had extensive experience with global companies. With this degree, I envision myself having more confidence to grow my family business and lead its expansion, perhaps not only in Southeast Asian region, but globally. I look forward to being a part of your prestigious school and being a valuable contributor to the program.