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Strategy in domestic and international business with Paul Tiffany

Please notice this was first posted in the period 2012-2014 and can be outdated

The whole second year of the Sasin MBA program students can pick their own courses; you are not obliged to do any course that you do not want as long as you do one “action course” and fulfill the required amount of credits by the end of the year. There is one exception on this rule and that is the course strategy in domestic and international business which is compulsory for all students. The fact that this course is compulsory and offered near the end of the year is a strange combination. First of all compulsory courses are normally courses that give you a foundation that you need for other courses and are therefore offered at the start of a year and not near the end. Secondly, many students are about to finish their studies early by already having fulfilled their credit requirements due to the exchange program and want start working. By making a course near the end of MBA compulsory you force people to keep coming or spread out their courses while that might not be in their best interest.

The textbook which was left untouched and a reader with cases.

Professor Paul Tiffany has been coming to Sasin for quite some time already meaning he by now knows how it works in Thailand. He does not ask the students open-ended questions as this will only result in silence and will stop the whole flow of what he is teaching. Instead he mostly limits the questions to rhetorical questions or questions that require a students to only plug in a word to complete a sentence. In case there is still hesitation he will even go as far as whispering the word or giving another word that rhymes with the word he is looking for.

Professor Paul Tiffany teaching at Sasin.

The lecturers captured a broad range of subjects including the reason railway tracks have different widths in different continents, which countries ruled which periods in history and why, and how China and the USA are currently fighting out dominance over the world. Besides lectures we also had presentations of groups of students based on cases but due to limited time for asking questions the workload of that part was relatively low as there was no need to actually prepare the case when you did not have to present.

The best for last: my group ended the presentation cycle with the Mutti case.

The group report and presentation were good for 30% of your final grade while another 20% would be based on a combination of attendance and participation. The final 50% would be made up by a final exam which was a huge pack of multiple choice questions, or one word answer questions, and 2 essay questions. The structure of the final exam was a bit disappointing as this course did not lend itself well for multiple choice questions. In a math exam multiple choice questions would work as only one answer is correct and the others are clearly incorrect, while in a strategy course every answer can be correct as long as you can explain the reasoning behind your choice. To solve this some of the questions were constructed in such a way that they did not test anything besides your skills how to quickly search for an answer online or in the handouts we had in PDF format.

An example of an actual exam question. Almost any answer should receive full credit as long as you can explain your answer. Unfortunately the format of the question did not allow an explanation.

I must admit that it was fun to be with the complete group in one class again. And the broad range of material covered in this course made this course also perfect for that, but again the timing near the end of the year is quite strange to me.

Finishing this course leaves me only one more course to finally finish this MBA.