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Ian Fenwick is Director of Sasin School of Management in Bangkok and Professor of Marketing.

Established in 1982, Sasin was the first school in Thailand to earn international accreditation. Sasin’s focus is to inspire.connect.transform for a better, smarter, sustainable world.

1. Can you give us a bit of your “back story”? What led you to your current career path?

It was to please my mother that I first embarked on a career in education!

When I graduated with my first degree, at Durham University, I was all set to join the then ICI. They subjected me to a long series of multiple-choice tests, indicating that I was especially suited for their internal consulting group. I think they were right.

However, at the last moment, the faculty at Durham from which I had just graduated offered me a position as Lecturer. My mother, never having herself attended university, thought that for her youngest to become a faculty member was perfect. Ever obedient, I complied!

After a couple of years at Durham, I completed my PhD at London Business School and went on to faculty appointments in the UK, Canada, the US, China, and now Thailand, where I have been based for the last 24 years. I have occasionally been lured into founding start-up ventures, none of which have ended well.

2. Can you share the most interesting story you have experienced in your current role? What were the most valuable takeaways?

I was fortunate enough to work on digital marketing in the early 2000s. At that time few people were teaching in that area and I managed to land all sorts of gigs from Shanghai to Porto! It was an exciting time, seeing a new type of marketing emerge and gradually take hold.

3. How do you think Sasin is different from other business schools and what marketing strategies are you using to communicate that?

As a marketing professor, I have never believed too much in the power of marketing! There’s no substitute for ‘word-of-mouth’ (now usually social media posts) from satisfied customers.

It’s successful implementation that does the marketing.

4. What are the top three pieces of advice you would give to business school communicators right now?

  1. Be different: if you’re the same you’ll have to be cheaper!
  2. Be concise, TL; DR.
  3. Think like your customer.

5. Are you working on any exciting new marketing projects you want to tell us about? How will they help your school?

In January 2025, Sasin will launch Connect+ EMBA – the EMBA for Success in Southeast Asia.

It’s a blended learning programme focussing on Southeast Asia. Connect+ combines the convenience of online with the networking, group building and face-to-face interactions of three 4-day residentials held in Southeast Asia.

The programme will be practical and success-oriented, featuring real business experts from the region. I think it’s the first programme of its type. If you are interested in business in one of the fastest-growing parts of the world, you might want to look!

For the first cohort, we are marketing Connect+ primarily through Sasin’s business contacts and partners. The aim is that at least half the entering class will be funded by their corporate employers. The programme is proving very popular with companies that operate across the region and want to ensure uniform quality in their management teams.

We are also getting applications from individuals wanting to do business in Southeast Asia, looking for an EMBA plus practical Southeast Asia insights.