Between September 2017 and April 2018 I spent two master’s trimesters at the Management Faculty of Mahidol (pronounced Mahidon) University. In this field report I would like to share my impressions with you.
It is important to know that the CMMU (College of Management Mahidol University) is not part of the main campus, which is relatively far out. So if you want to find out about the location of the faculty on GoogleMaps in advance, you have to search for the CMMU. The CMMU building is a single high tower that houses all classrooms, administration offices, the library and a small food court under one roof. The building doesn’t look particularly appealing at first glance, but it is fairly modern in design.
The CMMU is quite centrally located in the Phaya Thai district, about 20 minutes’ walk from the Victory Monument. The Victory Monument is not only one of the few places that every taxi driver knows immediately, there is also a BTS station (similar to our S-Bahn) from which you can reach Siam (the city center with all its Malls, cinemas and restaurants).
Accessibility / public transport network
The university offers a shuttle service, about which you will be informed in detail in the welcome event. Some of my fellow students also bought / rented scooters and drove them to university.
Public transport in Bangkok is noticeably still in its infancy. The BTS only drives the inner city center and the area south of it on two routes, the MRT is like our subway and runs on a line from the city center to the northwest. Victory Monument BTS Station is 2 km from CMMU and Phra Ram 9 MRT Station is 3. 1 km away.
Taxis are extremely affordable. When you are in the city center, you rarely pay more than 80 baht, which is around two euros. It is important to insist that taxi drivers use a taximeter, not only because it is the law, but above all because the fixed prices that are offered usually exceed the normal price many times over. If a taxi driver steadfastly refuses, you should wave him on, there are enough taxis in Bangkok. While driving, you should always have GoogleMaps on and make sure that the driver knows that, otherwise some people will be tempted to take longer detours.
In addition to taxis, there are also TukTuks (small three-wheeled scooters with space for 3-5 people, here the price has to be negotiated directly with the driver, which is why it is usually more expensive than a taxi). A trip with the TukTuk is definitely an experience that should not be missed.
The motor taxis are also a great alternative (mopeds where you get on at the back). In Bangkok there is always traffic jam, which the experienced drivers in their typical orange vests know how to get through quickly and skillfully. The price is again a matter of negotiation, which is why you should know roughly what a trip should cost. For regular trips, it makes sense to ask your fellow Thai students for a suitable price.
Grab is a good app, not only for Bangkok but also for Southeast Asia in general. This Uber alternative is very useful in areas where there are not enough taxis. Cars are usually a little more expensive than taxis, but motorcycles are much cheaper to get away. In addition, you save yourself negotiating (the prices are set by Grab) and explaining where you want to go.
There is also a bus system in Bangkok that is a bit difficult to see through, but once you have found out which line you need, buses are probably the cheapest means of transport in Bangkok (prices vary depending on the quality of the bus).
Before the study
Before studying, you have to register with your registration data at the following link (https://reg. cm. mahidol. ac. th/registrar/login. asp) in order to be able to choose your courses. The entire procedure including deadlines and a catalog of all courses can be found here. There is always a pre-registration phase in which you can choose the desired subjects, then you can see on the page whether you have received all the courses you have chosen. In the registration phase, you have the opportunity to specify your choice of subjects again. During the third phase, which already extends into the beginning of the semester, it is then still possible to add, deselect or change subjects. Most courses have two groups (depending on requirements and workload)on two different days / at different times of the day. During all three phases, it is worthwhile to regularly check subjects that you have not been given to see whether someone has changed spontaneously (you can see the occupancy). If you urgently want to switch, it is also worth emailing the professors directly, especially if one professor teaches both groups. For ALL questions about studying, before and during it, it makes sense to write to Chanistha Lerdcharoenporn on Facebook. She is responsible for the international students, very helpful and usually answers quickly. In addition, she sets up a Facebook group for the new exchange students in good time, in which you can meet your own at an early stage and can exchange new fellow students.
Welcome to the Mahidol
I completed two trimesters at Mahidol and therefore attended two welcome events. Both times it was two days, on the first organizational issues were clarified and photos were taken for the student ID. You received a bag and a pad, as well as various information material and login data for Internet access. Then you listened to a lecture about Thai culture and then there was a welcome dinner. An excursion took place on the second day. The scope and quality of the excursion was largely determined by the number of exchange students. With 60 exchange students, significantly more was found than with 11.
Everyday student life
Clothing: First things first, no, there is no explicit dress code and there is only mandatory uniform for Bachelor students. My fellow students covered the entire spectrum from casual clothing to very fine. The latter is probably mainly because many Thai fellow students come to the university straight from work. Since it is a sign of status in Thailand as featured on topschoolsintheusa, if you can afford to keep your rooms cool, the lecture rooms are sometimes freezing cold, so I warmly recommend a sweater or jacket to take with you to the lectures. In addition, you should always have your student ID with you as this is required as a key card. However, I had forgotten / misplaced it a few times and could always rely on helpful Thais.
Times: Since the master’s degree is designed so that most Thais can complete it alongside their job, the lecture times during the week are from 6:00 p. m. to 9:00 p. m. , on weekends courses are from 9:00 a. m. to 12:00 p. m. 1. 30pm-4. 30pm and 5. 30pm-7. 30pm. Every professor handles missed lectures differently, some keep attendance lists and have a maximum number of missed events, others just send an e-mail apology and still others leave it up to the students themselves.
The courses are characterized by group work in which emphasis is often placed on a good mix of Thai and exchange students. The atmosphere during the class is more relaxed than formal, a feeling that is reinforced by the fact that it is common in Thailand to address professors (also in emails) by Ajarn (teacher) and their first name. The Thai fellow students are usually friendly and helpful, but sometimes very shy, which can lead to a whole table being embarrassed to answer a simple question. The level of English is generally on a rather low level, but if you have adjusted a little, communication with fellow students is possible. Before starting a task, it makes sense to discuss it with the team again to make sure that everyone has really understood what it is about. If you have written homework, it is usually necessary to proofread it again. That all sounds a bit negative, but we had a great time and were able to learn a lot from our Thai fellow students, even if we had to break the ice first.
When converting Thai credits to European credit points, one Thai credit is worth two ECTS. At Mahidol you get three Thai credits per course. For the recognition of my semester I had to take 5 courses, since you can only take four courses per trimester, I had to split them into two trimesters (four months per trimester), two in the first and three in the second. None of the courses I had selected for my Learning Agreement were offered. You can only be sure which courses there will be when the official course catalog has been published. In retrospect, however, I am generally satisfied with the five courses I have taken.
In my opinion the best course I have taken. Taught in perfect English by a French who grew up in the USA and who exudes natural competence through his professional activity in the subject. The course was entertaining and informative with a lot of practical relevance and was well structured. The professor was always easy to reach and helpful, even after graduation. In the course of the course, you will also acquire a Google Analytics certificate.
OB and Human Resource Management
Taught by an Austrian (Prof. Astrid Kainzbauer), you get to know pretty much every popular behavioral and HR theory in this subject. With three essays, a mid-term paper, a final group project, and a final exam, the workload was pretty heavy. Personally, it was a bit too much memorization, but I still felt that I learned and internalized a lot.
Strategic Marketing Management
This subject is taught by an American (Prof. Randall M. Shannon) who has a lot of practical experience in the marketing and market research sector. He shares a lot of anecdotes from the big companies he worked for and his relaxed and funny way of giving lectures makes it seem like a Ted talk at times. The event essentially consists of marketing-strategic examples, on the basis of which the basic principles are explained.
Is taught by the same professor as SMM. Primarily teaches the basics of consumer behavior and, secondly, the basic principles of scientific work.
Management Information Systems
Probably the weakest subject I chose, but this was mainly due to the professor. The subject should convey the ability to recommend an MIS for a company, with many useful basics that form the decision-making process. A fundamentally very interesting subject, but unfortunately the event lacked a clear thread. The professor’s poor English made listening stressful, her slides were out of date, and questions were not really addressed. In addition, requirements were not specifically defined when asked, which has apparently made the assessment of the services a personal matter. With halfterm, midterm and a project paper (60 pages for only 30% of the grade) the workload was also quite disproportionate. We once had a stand in with the professor from the second group, who did a much better job. My conclusion, this subject is not recommended as long as it is taught by Dr. Vichita Ractham is taught.
The large apartment complexes known in Asia, so-called condos, offer a comfortable way of living. There are a handful of condos close to the university, the best and also the closest to the university (10min walk), where most of my international fellow students also lived, is “KPN – The Capital Ratchaprarop – Vibha”. With 31 floors, two pools (one of them on the roof), a fitness room, a study and work room as well as beautiful and modernly furnished apartments, it is a bit more expensive, but at the same time a living experience that you probably cannot experience in Germany. It is sufficient by phone or email; to contact the property management to find out about availabilities.