Athens Sanyapong Rangsansvasti is studying the full-time MBA program at the UK’s Lancaster University Management School (LUMS).
He joined the MBA from Chevron, the oil and gas major. He worked for Chevron in Bangkok, Thailand, as a project manager of an oil development platform.
Previously, Athens also worked as a petroleum engineer in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
What drew him to LUMS was the business school’s experiential approach to learning, by doing. The LUMS MBA features a series of “challenges”, such as the corporate challenge, which allows MBA students to apply their learning in a live business setting.
Athens received the high potential MBA scholarship, which is awarded to those who show strong leadership qualities.
Why did you decide to begin an MBA program?
I had worked in the oil and gas industry for almost eight years, and had experienced a lot of hands-on technical engineering and project management. I was at a point in my career when I wanted to progress further, to a management career path. I thought an MBA would excel my professional career path in the energy sector, or even help me change industry and job function.
What impact did the crash in the price of oil have on your decision?
I saw this situation coming when leading a previous oil development project with Chevron. I could see that a difficult time in our industry lay ahead.
Low oil prices have begun to take their toll on petroleum exploration and production companies in Asia. We have operated at over $100 a barrel before, but the price dropped to half of that when I made my decision to come to the UK for my MBA.
And currently Chevron is prepared to cut jobs.
Apart from the good reputation that Lancaster University Management School has — it’s triple-accredited and ranked no 35 in the world by the Financial Times — the course content is what I am looking for.
The learning through action via different challenges, related to business management, entrepreneurship and consulting, are highly integrated into the program. This approach will make you more confident and capable for the next step of your future career.
Plus I was awarded a high potential MBA scholarship, which is given to a student who provides evidence of exceptional leadership qualities.
What have you enjoyed most about the MBA so far?
I am now on the last challenge of the MBA, which is the corporate challenge. I was selected to work with Microsoft UK as a consultant. I like it the most because I can apply all my classroom learning in practice to a real business. We worked with our client, underwent an intensive analysis, presented the key findings, and gave the client a strategic recommendation to help them grow in their market.
Also I really enjoy spending time with my classmates. We are very diverse, with 22 different nationalities. The fun times spent with them throughout the year are memorable.
What’s it like living and working in Thailand?
Living in Thailand is great fun. There are so many reasons to love Thailand. A tropical climate makes our country’s weather warm and sunny throughout the year. You can also certainly expect to enjoy the delicious Thai food. And finally of course we have Thai people, who are generous and kind. You will easily feel at home when you are in Thailand.
I worked in Bangkok, which is our capital city. It has everything needed for great quality of living. It is a modern city steeped in culture and history. I enjoyed working in Bangkok. I socialized after work with close friends, exercised, had street food at night, and enjoyed the markets at the weekend — all in one city.
What are your tips for getting hired by Chevron?
You will certainly require a strong educational background and relevant, solid experience. Apart from this, you will need a high level of self-confidence, and the ability to work in teams.
It is also very important to maintain integrity, and to place value in social responsibility, human rights, and the environment.
What are your plans for after graduation?
I want to work in business related-roles, such as project management, business development or management consulting, in which I can fully utilize my previous experience and the skills I developed during the MBA.