Ong Kiatworakun

Adjusting to life in a new country

Ong Kiatworakun, who emigrated from Thailand to do his UBC MBA at Sauder, says that his professors and classmates have been crucial in helping him to adjust to life in a new country.


Before moving to Vancouver, Ong spent four years at Macquarie Securities in Bangkok, where he was responsible for equity research in Asian markets. With a BBA majoring in finance, he says he chose the UBC MBA because it would provide him with a better range of career options than any other postgraduate qualification.

“When I was considering an MBA, one of things I looked for was strong support from professors because I think that’s important when you’re coming to a new country,” says Ong. “I don’t think the academic programs at the top business schools have too many major differences. What really makes Sauder unique is the people – the students, the teachers and the support staff.”

Summer employment

During the MBA program, Ong did a three-month internship conducting equities research in the mining sector at Raymond James Ltd, a placement he received after being selected to take part in Sauder’s Finance Internship Program. He says his internship taught him a lot about the differences in personal attitudes to work in Canada and Thailand.

“Traditionally Thai people are very humble and it would be unusual for them to talk confidently about their own capabilities because it could be considered boasting,” he says. “But it’s different in Canada. You need to be much more assertive about what you can do and be able to demonstrate it in the workplace.”

Passion for teaching

On the academic side of things, Ong has plenty of praise for the teaching styles of his professors. He singles out Steve Alisharan for his clear and engaging delivery, Dale Griffin for his ability to communicate complicated academic principles in everyday language, and Ron Cenfetelli for his passion for teaching.

Ong’s message to prospective international MBA candidates considering the Sauder School of Business is to expect hard work, excellent professors who offer continuous support to their students and a dynamic learning environment. His advice is to be open-minded.

“You might have fixed your mind on a certain career path but although it’s true that life has to be planned to some extent, you can’t plan everything,” he says.

As for his own plans, Ong hopes to stay in Vancouver after graduation but is aware that because his future lies in finance he may need to consider opportunities in other cities within Canada or internationally.


If your plans include obtaining an MBA, find out how the Sauder School of Business can open up a whole world of new possibilities and help you take the next step in your career development.



Name: Ong Kiatworakun
Title: MBA candidate 2013
Track: Consulting and Strategic Management
Nationality: Thai (Bangkok)