In which I talk about work and rant about Chulalongkorn university (Huh?)

Random blog post title, anyone?

Let’s start off with work. I hardly mention about what I do on here, it seems. We just got a new project – Facebook advertising and content marketing for a new international program at a private university. Last year I was mainly in charge of eCommerce and marketplaces like Lazada and Zalora; running an end-to-end eCommerce process for clients. Toward the end of the year I did mention to my boss that I wanted to try something new, with an aim of becoming a more well-rounded person in digital marketing field. When we got a new client this time and I saw it’s an online ad project, which is what I’ve been wanting to do for a while, I stepped up and told my boss I wanted to be in charge.

And here we are! More work that I requested for myself 🙂

It’s a nice change too – to be involved in an education industry, which is what I’m interested in. Walking in a university campus for a meeting for the first time even felt refreshing, strangely enough!

I’ve been helping with my friend’s education startup, CareerVisa, from time to time by being a career workshop facilitator and a career mentor for university students. I always find the work rewarding and it feels good that you can help other people out, by listening to students stories/issues and sharing your experiences, as well as giving some pieces of advice. By doing that, I’ve discovered that I’m drawn to this education industry. During last semester in my senior year, I was struggling, not knowing what to do, and having zero clue of career paths and where to continue after graduation, and it was one of the most terrible feelings. I wouldn’t want anyone to experience that, which is why I am more than willing to share my own struggles and experiences, if I can be of any help with students.

Back to our new project. It was quite an experience going to a private university campus here. The campus and facilities look too good to be true, compared to a public university like Chula. The whole atmosphere feels quite laid back and chill, and professors are easy to talk to, whereas Chula feels uptight, ridiculously conservative, and highly academic driven. 

It got me thinking there is such a huge gap between private and public universities in Thailand. Why does Chula feel the need to stick their noses high in the air like that? Everything feels inaccessible – they like to place themselves high up there somewhere. It is my alma mater I have no emotional connection attached, as I’ve never felt they were being helpful to me in any ways. 

Let me tell you one little secret, Chula does NOT have a career counseling center! And this is, as claimed, #1 top university in Thailand. CHULA CAREER COUNSELING CENTER IS NONEXISTENT. Or maybe they did have one, but I, a student in a Thai program, wasn’t aware of it (And I was/am a nerd, so this is the type of information I would know, trust me). 

Speaking of university marketing, Chula Thai programs have never done anything, as far as I’m concerned. People may argue that Chula doesn’t have the need to advertise themselves, because it is a well-known, well-established educational institution in Thailand. That could be true, but they could try to be more approachable to students, considered how they are extremely terrible at communications. We found out most things (e.g. scholarship news) through word-of-mouth and students from former year. There is no communication platform that connect students together in one place. Systems, as well as buildings, are out of date. (And we all secretly wonder, where did all the money go?).

What is the need to hold yourself high on that status, Chulalongkorn? I can see that the pride in long history associated with royal family plays a big part, but when will they start focusing on present and future? To what purpose does it serve, staying conservative when the rest of the world has changed? Is this hold-yourself-higher-than-others attitude the type of attitude you wish to cultivate your students? How does this add up to an already widening social gap in Thai society?

I could tell and picture all those differences with one visit to this private university. You really feel different “vibes” Yes, private universities may be commercial. Yes, they may have to try harder to advertise themselves and attract potential candidates to make more $$$. Yes, I am aware they are much less academic and have different sets of USP from public universities. It’s still nice to see their attempt of trying to reach out and be helpful to students, according to the brief we received which will be conveyed in our marketing messages. It is something I’ve never seen at Chulalongkorn. Once again, it feels like a different world in the same country. 

It would be nice to blend those attitudes together and narrow that gap a little bit, between public and private universities. I’ve been told many times that Thailand is the Land of Extremes; there is no middle ground. Public VS private universities surely is another great example to add up in this case.