Prof. Wilert Puriwat, Dean of Chulalongkorn Business School

In the world of academia and business leadership, the journey that shapes an individual’s path is often as fascinating as the destination they reach. This is certainly true for Prof. Wilert Puriwat, Dean of Chulalongkorn Business School, whose academic journey has woven together an impressive tapestry of education, corporate experience, and a deep-seated commitment to societal impact.

Prof. Puriwat’s academic journey began at the prestigious Chulalongkorn Business School, where he earned a Bachelor of Business Administration with honors. This foundation set the stage for a remarkable trajectory. Fueling his passion for knowledge, he continued to earn an MBA from Thammasat University and a Master of Public and Private Management from Yale University in the USA. The pinnacle of his academic pursuits was the attainment of a Doctor of Philosophy, D.Phil (OXON), in Management Studies from the University of Oxford in the UK.

However, the story took an intriguing turn when Prof. Puriwat, armed with his academic laurels, entered the corporate arena. Serving as an Independent Director and Chairman of the Marketing and Sustainable Development Committee at Zen Corporation Group Public Company Limited, he brought a unique blend of academic rigor and practical insights to the boardroom.

The pivotal moment in his journey came when he sensed a yearning for more profound meaning in his career. Inspired by the desire to contribute positively to society, particularly in the realm of education, Prof. Puriwat made a conscious decision to return to academia, this time as a professor. His love for teaching, coupled with a commitment to nurturing the next generation of leaders, fueled this transition.

“For me, an academic career is far more than just a profession—it’s a calling,” Prof. Puriwat says. His passion lies not only in imparting knowledge but in witnessing the growth of students, inspiring them to chase their dreams, and molding them into responsible global citizens.

Initially focused on teaching, Prof. Puriwat soon realized the need for a broader impact. His dedication, optimistic outlook, and strong relationships within the academic community paved the way for him to step into leadership roles. Rising from the Head of the Marketing Department, he eventually assumed the prestigious position of Dean of Chulalongkorn Business School. In his own words, “Working in academia allows me to dedicate myself to what I love most while simultaneously making a societal contribution.”

Trailblazing in Data Analytics, Practical Education, and Global Recognition

In the realm of business education, Chulalongkorn Business School emerges as a trailblazer, distinguished by its innovative approach and unique strengths. Recognizing the evolving needs of the business world, the school is at the forefront of integrating data analytics into its curriculum.

Prof. Puriwat emphasizes the significance of this approach, stating, “Our commitment to data analytics ensures that our students not only grasp traditional business skills but also become adept in data-driven decision-making. This dual proficiency equips them to tackle the complexities of modern business.”

An embodiment of this commitment is the presence of a dedicated department for Data Science and Statistics, setting Chulalongkorn Business School apart from its counterparts. Through this initiative, the institution fosters a new generation of professionals with a holistic skill set, blending analytical prowess with a deep understanding of business dynamics.

Further reinforcing its commitment to practical education is the establishment of Chula Business Enterprise Company, Limited. Prof. Puriwat articulates the vision behind this groundbreaking venture, stating, “Our aim is to bring ‘real business into the school.’ This hands-on experience bridges the gap between theory and practice, preparing our students to navigate the dynamic business environment effectively.”

The practical dimension of education is integral to the school’s philosophy, ensuring that graduates not only understand business concepts theoretically but also gain invaluable real-world experience. This approach aligns with Prof. Puriwat’s belief that practical exposure is a cornerstone for success in today’s business landscape.

Beyond its innovative educational approach, Chulalongkorn Business School holds global recognition with the prestigious Triple Crown Accreditation. Prof. Puriwat remarks on this achievement, saying, “Our commitment to excellence is reflected in this accreditation, placing us at the pinnacle of business education worldwide.”

Being recognized as one of the top business schools in Thailand, the institution’s ability to attract the brightest minds is underscored by the highest SAT admission scores in the country. Prof. Puriwat expresses pride in this achievement, stating, “Our global recognition opens doors to unparalleled opportunities, ensuring that our graduates are well-positioned for success in their careers.”

Mastering Global Competitiveness and Adapting to Change

Under the visionary leadership of Prof. Puriwat, Chulalongkorn Business School (CBS) has marked a series of noteworthy achievements, solidifying its standing as a premier institution in the realm of business education.

A transformative milestone under Prof. Puriwat’s guidance has been the introduction of the Master of Science in Business (MSB) program. This groundbreaking initiative opens the doors for students from non-business disciplines, allowing them to seamlessly transition into the realm of business education at the master’s level. The MSB program stands out for its interdisciplinary approach, emphasizing social responsibility and business ethics. Prof. Puriwat elucidates, “This program aims to enhance our students’ global competitiveness and address societal and national needs.”

In response to the evolving dynamics of the global business landscape, CBS has adapted by introducing two new majors, Branding and Marketing, and Digital Business, for its international undergraduate program. This strategic move aligns the curriculum with the contemporary demands of the business world, ensuring that students are well-equipped for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Prof. Puriwat takes pride in the continued success of the Bachelor’s degree program, which consistently attracts top-tier students, as evidenced by the impressive average SAT score of 1420 for incoming classes. This accomplishment speaks to the school’s commitment to maintaining high academic standards and fostering a learning environment that attracts the brightest minds.

Furthermore, CBS has expanded its global footprint and collaborative efforts by signing Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with over 50 organizations. This reflects Prof. Puriwat’s dedication to enhancing the school’s reach and fostering meaningful partnerships on both local and international scales.

Undoubtedly, the pinnacle of CBS’s achievements under Prof. Puriwat’s leadership is the attainment of the prestigious Triple Crown Accreditation. With recognition from AACSB, EQUIS, and AMBA, CBS stands among an elite group of only 108 business schools worldwide out of more than 30,000. Prof. Puriwat expresses, “This Triple Crown Accreditation reaffirms our commitment to excellence and solidifies our position as the leading business school in Thailand.”

From Lifelong Learning to Sustainable Digital Innovation

In response to the dynamic shifts in the business landscape, Chulalongkorn Business School, under the guidance of Prof. Puriwat, has implemented proactive strategies to remain relevant and address emerging challenges. Two pivotal approaches exemplify the institution’s commitment to innovation and adaptability.

The Chula Business Enterprise (CBE) stands as a cornerstone in the school’s commitment to real-world applicability. Functioning not only as an educational tool but also as a platform to create a genuine business within the school, CBE serves as a catalyst for nurturing students’ innovative ideas. As Prof. Puriwat articulates, “It’s a unique blend of learning and practical application, fostering an entrepreneurial mindset and providing invaluable hands-on experience.” By investing in and supporting students’ business concepts, CBE creates a supportive, real-world environment for testing and developing ideas, aligning education with practical application.

Recognizing the disruption caused by the rise of online learning platforms, Chulalongkorn Business School has embraced the concept of lifelong learning. Collaborating with leading companies, the school is developing practical short courses designed to cater to the idea of education as a continuous journey. Prof. Puriwat emphasizes, “Our aim is to become a leader in business education for lifelong learning, offering opportunities for continuous personal and professional development in an ever-changing world.” By providing accessible courses regardless of age or income, the school is fostering a culture of continuous learning, adapting to the evolving needs of learners in a digital age.

In addition to these adaptive strategies, Chulalongkorn Business School has also taken bold steps to embed a digital sustainable mindset into its core activities, recognizing the importance of sustainability in the modern business world. A newly established function within the school, led by an Associate Dean, focuses on innovation and sustainability. This dedicated department ensures that digital social responsibility and sustainability are integral components of the curriculum and overall activities. Prof. Puriwat highlights the significance of this initiative, stating, “It’s a commitment to weaving these crucial themes into the fabric of our education, preparing students to be responsible leaders in the business community.”

Chulalongkorn Business School has instituted a program where students are sent to rural community enterprises, allowing them to apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Prof. Puriwat emphasizes that this experience is not only instrumental in enhancing practical skills but also instills a sense of social responsibility and an understanding of sustainable business practices.

In a pioneering move, the school is developing the CBS application, envisioned as a digital marketplace that extends beyond the student body to the wider community. This platform represents a fusion of technology with sustainable business practices, offering a space for entrepreneurial activities that are digitally advanced and socially responsible.

Integrating Rigorous Research and Premier Teaching for Real-World Impact

The commitment to the synergy between rigorous research and premier-quality teaching is at the core of Chulalongkorn Business School’s philosophy, as articulated by Prof. Puriwat. This balance is not merely about maintaining two separate academic pillars but integrating them to mutually enhance the learning experience for students.

The school strongly believes that research should not exist in isolation but should invigorate the teaching environment. The faculty is encouraged to seamlessly integrate their research findings into their teaching methodologies. A tangible example is the recent research on decentralized finance, a rapidly evolving area in the financial world. Rather than confining this research to academic journals, it is directly incorporated into the classroom, enriching the educational experience for students. Furthermore, the school extends the impact of this knowledge by sharing insights with external parties beyond Chulalongkorn Business School.

Chulalongkorn Business School goes beyond theoretical knowledge, emphasizing active and applied research. An illustrative example is the research on brand valuation, where faculty identify organizations in Thailand with high brand values. This research has practical applications, notably in the ‘ASEAN and Thailand’s Top Corporate Brands award, demonstrating how academic expertise translates into actionable insights for business leaders.

In the Finance department, research initiatives extend to societal contributions, particularly in supporting retirees with financial planning. This work is not just about academic pursuits; it has tangible benefits for broader community segments, showcasing the school’s commitment to making a positive impact beyond the campus.

Faculty members at Chulalongkorn Business School actively engage with the business community by serving as consultants to various organizations across Thailand. This involvement goes beyond external activities; it forms an integral part of the teaching methodology. The experiences and insights gained from real-world consulting endeavors are brought back to the classroom, enriching the learning experience with current, practical examples.

Nurturing Global Leaders with Local Impact

Chulalongkorn Business School is dedicated to creating a meaningful impact in both local and international business arenas, employing a comprehensive strategy that encompasses community engagement and global preparedness.

At the grassroots level, the school actively encourages and supports student engagement with community enterprises. The SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) club serves as a prominent example, spearheading initiatives like the ‘Khon Talay’ Project. This project, centered on conservation fishing and the development of the ‘Khon Talay Shop,’ involves students in crucial roles such as developing branding and marketing strategies, as well as creating an online media presence. The shop, in turn, supports local community members by promoting legal and conservation-friendly practices in seafood transactions. Profits generated are reinvested in further community initiatives.

On the global stage, Chulalongkorn Business School is focused on nurturing students who are not only academically proficient but also capable of making an impact worldwide. The institution provides students with opportunities to study at top international schools and engage in businesses with global reach. This emphasis goes beyond geographical considerations; it is about instilling a mindset that is globally aware, adaptable, and capable of making a positive impact in diverse settings.

The Khon Talay Project serves as a tangible example of the school’s commitment to bridging the gap between local and international impact. Through active participation in projects like these, students gain practical, hands-on experience that transcends traditional academic boundaries. This approach ensures that students not only understand business concepts theoretically but also apply their knowledge in ways that contribute positively to local communities and prepare them for the complexities of global business.

Forging a Path to Global Prominence through Academic Excellence

At the heart of Chulalongkorn Business School’s future lies a compelling vision articulated by Prof. Puriwat: “A chief business school delivering life-changing experiences with innovative wisdom and a philanthropic spirit.” This vision propels the school towards transformation, aspiring to emerge as a Global Business School synonymous with excellence and innovation on the international stage.

Prof. Puriwat underscores the pivotal role of high-quality education, emphasizing the commitment to a curriculum that remains rigorous, relevant, and responsive to the dynamic business landscape. He states, “Academic excellence is the cornerstone of our students’ success.”

A central element in achieving this vision involves enriching real business learning experiences. The school provides practical work opportunities through Chula Business Enterprise Company, Limited, enabling students to apply academic knowledge in real-world business scenarios. Prof. Puriwat notes, “This hands-on approach bridges the gap between theory and practice, preparing our students for the complexities of the business world.”

In pursuit of global prominence, collaboration takes center stage. The school actively forges partnerships with leading international business schools, aiming to combine rigorous research, premier-quality training, and practical business wisdom. Prof. Puriwat highlights this approach, stating, “These collaborations cultivate well-rounded professionals who can contribute significantly to both local and international business arenas.”

Engaging with alumni and building a robust network emerges as a strategic imperative. Prof. Puriwat emphasizes the importance of expanding the knowledge base through relationships, stating, “Alumni play a vital role in driving economic, societal, and national development, and their involvement is instrumental in our growth and outreach.”

Sustainability is ingrained in the school’s DNA, recognizing its significance in the contemporary business landscape. Prof. Puriwat articulates the commitment to embedding ESG principles in students’ education, stating, “It’s about more than just environmental focus; it encompasses economic, social, and transparent practices.” The establishment of a dedicated department for innovation and sustainability underscores this commitment.

Crafting a Legacy

As the Dean of Chulalongkorn Business School, Prof. Puriwat envisions leaving a legacy characterized by tangible achievements and an enduring institutional spirit, with a primary focus on elevating the student experience and cultivating a vibrant entrepreneurial culture.

At the core of Prof. Puriwat’s vision is the strategic development of new facilities designed to cater to diverse aspects of business practice, extracurricular activities, and research opportunities. Despite the prevailing digital age, Prof. Puriwat emphasizes the irreplaceable value of physical spaces, envisioning them as dynamic hubs fostering student interactions, idea exchange, and the cultivation of meaningful relationships. The recent transformation of a student space into the CBS Lounge exemplifies this commitment, offering a dynamic environment for studying, collaboration, and diverse activities. Prof. Puriwat expresses his commitment, stating, “I strongly believe in the importance of physical spaces where students can gather, exchange ideas, and build meaningful personal relationships.”

An integral component of Prof. Puriwat’s envisioned legacy is the establishment and fortification of the Chula Business Enterprise (CBE). Positioned as a foundational element within CBS, CBE provides every student with the opportunity to actively engage in running a business. Prof. Puriwat emphasizes that this initiative goes beyond resource provision and support, stating, “It’s about embedding an entrepreneurial mindset within our students, allowing them to apply their learning in real-world contexts.”

Prof. Puriwat’s measure of leadership impact involves assessing the tangible outcomes of these initiatives. The focus is on observing how enhanced facilities contribute to a vibrant and collaborative student community and how the entrepreneurial culture embedded through CBE resonates in the achievements and mindset of graduates. Prof. Puriwat articulates, “The legacy I aim to leave is one where Chulalongkorn Business School stands as a beacon of enriched student experiences and a nurturing ground for entrepreneurial leaders, making a lasting impact in the dynamic landscape of business education.”

Insights for Aspiring Academics and Students

In his reflection on academic leadership, Prof. Puriwat shares valuable insights for aspiring academics, students, and those interested in higher education leadership.

Prof. Puriwat emphasizes the idea that leadership extends beyond a title, stating, “Leadership is not about a position; it’s about active participation and making a real difference on the frontline.” In his view, gaining unique insights through active involvement is crucial for guiding a team or institution effectively.

Furthermore, he underscores the essence of leadership lying in the impact one makes. It goes beyond overseeing tasks; it involves influencing the overall direction and development of individuals. Prof. Puriwat’s perspective is clear: “As a leader, your role is to support and inspire, serving as a catalyst that motivates others to strive for excellence.” Moving swiftly and purposefully, according to him, sets a pace that encourages those around to match commitment levels.

In his role as the Dean of Chulalongkorn Business School, Prof. Puriwat sees himself as a connecting point, a nexus for all stakeholders and activities within the institution. This viewpoint, as he articulates, is integral for anyone in a leadership position in academia. It requires harmonizing diverse objectives and aspirations to create a cohesive, thriving educational environment.

Prof. Puriwat’s message to aspiring leaders is clear: “Embrace your journey with a selfless mindset and a focus on guiding and uplifting others.” According to him, such an approach not only facilitates personal success but also fosters an environment where everyone can succeed and grow.

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