The Intercultural Management modules of the Executive MBA UZH program are key elements of this course. From Oct 29th to 31st, 15 EMBA students gathered in Bangkok at The Peninsula hotel. The three day event in Bangkok, organized by the EMBA Alumni UZH organization, offered the students an excellent opportunity to explore and experience Thai culture and to discover the different business environment of Asia. Eric Schinzel, President of the EMBA Alumni UZH board, led and facilitated the event.
Immersed in Thai culture
The experience with Thai culture extended in different aspects, including history, religion, arts, culinary, etc. The first day started with a visit to Wat Pho – one of Bangkok’s oldest temples, known also as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The 15m high and 46m long figure of the reclining Buddha represents the entry of Buddha into Nirvana and the end of all reincarnations. With more than one thousand Buddha images in the temple complex, Wat Pho offered the students a glimpse into the strong Buddhism culture of Thailand.
The dive into the Thai history continued with a visit to Ayutthaya, which was the second Siamese capital of Thailand after Sukhothai. It flourished from the 14th to the 18th centuries, during which time it grew to be one of the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan urban areas. Now, Ayutthaya is an archaeological ruin. Walking around in the remains of tall prang and Buddhist monumental proportions, it felt like one could touch the pulse of Thai history.
Besides historical sightseeing, culinary offers a more interactive and engaging way of experiencing local culture. The students took part in a Thai cooking class organized by Thiptara restaurant of the Peninsula hotel. Three representative Thai dishes were taught, including Som Tam, Tom Yum Goong and Phad Thai. After the class, the alumni were delighted to receive a certificate signed by the restaurant chef.
An early morning food offering to a Buddhist Monk added another interesting facet to the experience of the Thai culture.
Visit to Marigot Jewelry Factory
Located in Hi-Tech Industrial Estate of Ayutthaya, Marigot Jewelry Factory is a leading world-class Jewelry manufacturing company, supplying the majority of the global jewelry demand of Swarovski. The EMBA Alumni UZH together with the local management organized a tour for the students to get an overview of the jewelry manufacturing business.
Khun Jeerasage Puranasamriddhi, Managing Director of Marigot Jewellery (Thailand) Ltd., gave a presentation of how the manufacturing network evolved since 1988, supporting Swarovski’s vision to be global market leader in jewelry. With over 7,000 employees, Marigot manages to run at high capacity while maintaining flexibility and fast speed. Now, Marigot is able to handle the complete process of jewelry production, from a simple 2D design to the final finished pieces.
The students proceeded with an aspirational tour to different sections of the jewelry production, including metal part production, surface finishing, assembling and stone setting. For most of the students, it was the first time to witness how a jewelry piece was actually produced by hand. The stone setting part is especially interesting as numerous glittering stones were set manually onto metal parts by highly skilled workers.
As the majority of the employees are female, Marigot supports a strong culture of caring and harmony, something also deeply rooted in the Thai culture. People work in small teams with a group leader taking care of the whole assembly line. Instead of tension and pressure which is commonly found in other big manufacturing factories, in Marigot there are smiling faces everywhere and a strong sense of community and family, which is truly impressive.
Experience Bangkok City Life
The city of Bangkok has much to offer besides its colorful history and rich culture. It’s a good mix of fancy modern metropolis and down-to-earth real life. The students took full advantage of the three days to experience the life in Bangkok – riding on a Tuk-Tuk; visiting a local floating market; indulging in a traditional Thai massage; chilling out at rooftop bar of the State Tower building, to mention just a few.
Informative, fun, relaxing, aspirational, the three-day event in Bangkok was truly a deep dive into Thai culture and an unforgettable experience for the students.
Let us share short statements of two participants.
«For me it was the first time in Thailand and I did not know what was expecting me. The mix between sightseeing, culinary delights, excellent service and the visit of the Swarovski factory in Ayutthaya was extraordinary. The event “Intercultural Management – live in Bangkok” was a great experience and a personal enrichment which I can recommend to everyone.»
Founder and CEO of Nardi Asset Management & Consulting AG
«Coming from Shanghai and finalizing our Intercultural Management Asia trip in Bangkok was just amazing! Exploring this vibrant city and its cultural treasures while cruising relaxed on a boat, finding our way on a ‘Tuk-Tuk’, listening to some private guides and enjoying great food & drinks was very inspiring and opened up our mind even more for the Asian part of the world. The visit of the Swarovski factory made us aware how business reality looks like in Thailand for international firms and the interesting guided tour showed us how our western glitter world is made hand-by-hand…Thank you again for these incredible days which I enjoyed a lot!!»
Head of Business Risk & Management Support, UBS AG