In early January, Islington College launched a new MBA programme in e-commerce. The degree will be awarded by London Metropolitan University (UK), while Alibaba Group, a Chinese e-commerce giant and the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), the authorised e-commerce training centre for Alibaba, are the teaching partners for the programme. Dr Teerin Vanichseni, director of Alibaba E-Commerce Programme at UTCC, was in Nepal to attend the launch of the MBA programme. New Business Age caught up with Dr Teerin at the event. Excerpts:
Tell us about the Alibaba E-commerce Programme at UTCC.
A team of Alibaba’s representatives have trained UTCC faculty members enabling them to become certified Alibaba trainers. The faculty members train Thailand’s SMEs, entrepreneurs and the business students. The training runs for three days a month. UTCC can train more than 5,000 individuals per year, and help them expand their businesses internationally through e-commerce. During the three day training, we teach the attendants e-commerce business and international business and enable them to use the Alibaba website.
How is the programme contributing to the growth of the Thai e-commerce sector and Thai SMEs?
Thailand’s e-commerce market is one of the biggest among ASEAN countries in terms of value and is growing. It is helping the local entrepreneurs to sell their products internationally while the Thai government is fully focused on transforming the country into a fully functioning digital society. Our programme supports the country’s vision.
Most of the enterprises that join us are SMEs who are getting practical knowledge. We train them to use the e-platform, especially the Alibaba website to enable them to grow their businesses. The majority of Alibaba customers are from other countries and not China which shows Alibaba’s global reach. This scene alone has helped our programme attendants understand the e-commerce market scenario perfectly.
What role will Alibaba and UTCC have in the programme?
The programme will help the Nepali students to interact and build networks with business people. UTCC will help the students meet potential business partners, establish relationships with the key suppliers, visit different companies and provide an opportunity to learn about Alibaba culture and management. This MBA programme is an affordable way to connect with the global e-commerce network, and understand e-commerce business and the international market.
How can the students benefit from this partnership?
This is the first time we are launching an MBA program in collaboration with any college. We want to make sure it is different. Students at Islington College will obtain both practical and theoretical knowledge to enhance their professional careers to a whole new level. After the programme’s completion, we are sure that students will become successful entrepreneurs. Through e-commerce, we will help them find the perfect market.
There are e-commerce businesses in Nepal but they aren’t growing and finding it hard to sustain themselves. They should explore opportunities outside the local market and join big platforms like Alibaba that will help their businesses grow. By adapting with technological progress, students will learn ways to promote, expand and transform themselves into modern entrepreneurs. Additionally, the college will offer HSK (Hanyu Shuping Kaoshi) Level 3 Chinese courses to the students.
How do you evaluate the current e-commerce scene in Nepal and the prospects for Nepali entrepreneurs?
I am sure Nepalis entrepreneurs can succeed in e-commerce business because they have their own products. Nepal is famous for pashmina, silver products and traditional handicrafts. Its agricultural products have huge possibility due to good soil, weather conditions and quality water. All of these products can be sold for a good price overseas if they can reach out to the people and all they need to do is use the electronic platform. By using the electronic platform, entrepreneurs will also have access to a range of international products that they can import and sell in Nepal. By partnering with Islington, we want to help Nepali students use the right medium to find the right market.