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Student Spotlight: Nicky Littlewood, MBA

"Webster attracts prestigious lecturers with a real breadth of working experience across both the private and public sectors, and all over the world – a number of these are highly respected academics in their field of study, with contacts and active positions in other world-leading universities, institutions and businesses."

- Nicky Littlewood, MBA

Nicky LittlewoodWhy did you choose to study at Webster University Thailand?

Moving to Bangkok in 2016 as a result of my girlfriend’s posting at the British Embassy, I found myself in an exciting, business-friendly city where full-time, MBA-study was a real option. After researching the offerings, I opted for Webster for a number of reasons:
- firstly, it immediately stood out as it is accredited by both the Thai Ministry of Education and the United States Higher Learning Commission – the quality of learning being of fundamental importance to me;
- secondly, the fee structure is very competitive and makes a full-time study route possible for people like me;
- thirdly, Webster attracts prestigious lecturers with a real breadth of working experience across both the private and public sectors, and all over the world – a number of these are highly respected academics in their field of study, with contacts and active positions in other world-leading universities, institutions and businesses; and   
- finally, there are a number of testimonials available online which highlights the fact that Webster is a melting pot of different cultures and nationalities. This is something which I feel is fundamental as it helps fuel debate and discussion about business subject matter such as ethics and organisational behaviour, and also helps to meet new friends and understand cultural differences and similarities. Overall, the combination of what Webster offers is unique and exciting.     

What do you enjoy most about studying at the Webster Thailand?

I enjoy the variety at Webster; each term I am studying with people of all ages and backgrounds. The different perspectives that this gives when debating challenging topics is fascinating and is helping me to develop in an academic sense but also personally. I have found working with students on group tasks, presentations and challenges hugely enjoyable and these experiences have been helpful as I attempt to prepare myself for a career in global business. 

How would you describe the quality of teaching staff? How have they supported you during your studies?

Nicky LittlewoodAs with all learning institutions there is a wide range of lecturers and professors on offer. Webster has a good balance and blend when it comes to offering both academic expertise and also staff with real-life business and governmental experience. I have enjoyed working with all of the teaching staff but am particularly thankful for the time that MBA Coordinator, Jason Lee Carter and Organisation Behaviour lecturer, Judith McIntyre have spent with me outside of lecture time discussing dissertation approaches, and potential routes into PhD studies. From a purely educational perspective a highlight for me was learning Corporate Social Responsibility and Business Ethics with Tim Andrews who is a subject matter expert and also a uniquely engaging lecturer who added a real spark to a subject which although clearly important can at times be monotonous regardless of academic setting. 

Learning from experience is an important part of the study experience at Webster Thailand. Did you undertake any practical experience during your degree?

One of the highlights of my time at Webster was when I was leader in a group exercise during which me and my fellow Organisational Behaviour students attempted to scale Mount Everest: the leadership and team simulation developed by Harvard Business School. Although it wasn’t a complete success, we all avoided frost-bite and some of us even managed to reach the top! A fun day which gave real-life perspective to an interesting subject-matter.  

What do you hope to do once you have finished your degree?

I am in Thailand as my girlfriend is posted to Bangkok as a Diplomat. Given that we are representing our country abroad it is important that I am able to learn and develop from a global perspective. We will not rule out future postings in any region of the world but for now we are enjoying what Thailand and the rest of South East Asia has to offer. In the back of my mind I will know that all of the hard work put in at Webster will enable me to work in a wide variety of roles or act as a foundation for further academic progression. This flexibility is perfect for somebody with mine and my girlfriend’s open-mindedness in terms of travel. 

Have you used the University’s academic or social support services while studying and tell us what you thought of the service?

Webster offer many advisory channels. For instance, Tim Malloy took time out of his schedule to offer me invaluable advice about how to position myself within the Thai job market, introducing me to key contacts in a number of interesting companies and also other professors in the university who could explore further options such as NGOs. Tim is essentially the reason why I am now in full time employment. These types of support services are important for students as it widens the scope of what Webster can do and assist with. 

Tell us about any social activities on or off campus you have become involved in

Webster offers a lot of social activities – both on and off-site. Unfortunately, as a full-time student who is also in full-time employment, I struggle to attend many of the off-site day trips to places such as Ayutthaya. That said, I did take advantage of the Thai language and culture lessons which were provided free of charge. I have also made many friends throughout my studies. I am also looking forward to future sporting events such as badminton tournaments which seem to be organised at least once-a-year. 

Tell us which campus you study at and which facilities you use (Bangkok Academic Center or Cha-Am/Hua Hin campus? Do you have a favourite place on campus?

I studied at the Bangkok Academic Center which although modest in size is full of helpful administrative and teaching staff. Its location is useful for people like me who need to move between campus and the office throughout the week.

Why did you choose Thailand and what was your first impression?

I first visited Thailand in 2009 and was blown away with the culture and friendliness of its people. When my girlfriend was offered a diplomatic role in the British Embassy in Bangkok it was one of the quickest mutual-decisions we ever made. My first impression as a student resident was how energetic my new environment was – how everybody seemed to flow effortlessly across a canvas of organised chaos, while almost always smiling and getting on with things regardless of their own personal problems or challenges. Some of my fondest early memories include exploring local food stalls and grasping some basic conversational language at AAA Thai Language School. Without a doubt my most lasting memory is the passing of HM Bhumibol Adulyadej as it resulted in an incredible act of solidarity mourning and respect in everyone; the scale of which I have never experienced before, and probably never will again.

Did you feel welcomed when you first arrived?

I felt welcomed in Thailand and also at Webster from day one, and almost immediately making friends with people from a diverse range of countries: USA, Myanmar, Denmark, Viet Nam, Israel and Holland to name a few. During Webster’s induction day the administrative and teaching staff made me feel at ease and also provided me with plenty of early information, resources and advice. 

What was the biggest cultural or lifestyle change in coming to Thailand and how did you adapt?

I was told that to truly appreciate Thailand at its people, you should learn the language. Although I struggle with the tones I am trying to get to a point where I can engage with people in a conversational manner. I realised quite soon how important it is to be able to have a basic grasp of the language as reporting maintenance issues, arranging shopping deliveries or even hailing a tuk-tuk or a cab often requires some basic Thai in order to achieve a successful outcome. As such, learning a new language was/is very challenging but is also something that motivates me to keep learning new things and evolving my personality and skills. Learning to speak Thais is certainly not imperative as the Thai people will go out of their way to help you even if there is a language barrier. That said, learning Thai is very rewarding and I feel closer to the Thai people as a result. Webster offered me language and cultural lessons which I participated in to practice what I had learnt elsewhere but also to extend my cultural knowledge. This was provided free of charge which is a thoughtful thing to do.

What aspects of the city appeal to you?

Bangkok is truly an international city. Probably one of the world’s best restaurant scenes, along with the likes of London, New York, Paris and Tokyo. It is also unique in the sense that its people are often fun and friendly in a way that is not necessary comparable with most urban metropolises’. It is also unparalleled in terms of its proximity to other countries – an affordable and convenient transport hub which offers a gateway to the rest of Asia and beyond. 

What advice would you give a student considering coming to Thailand and studying at Webster University Thailand?

Do it – as with most things in life it is actually deciding to take the leap which is the most challenging aspect. Once you are in Thailand you will find supportive staff, friends and neighbours who will help you navigate all that the country and Webster has to offer.Nickly Littlewood talks about his experience at Webster University Thailand and the MBA program.

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