Quick MBA for SMEs – Chula’s Intensive and Practical Training for Business Survival during the COVID-19 Crisis

The recently-concluded and successful “Quick MBA for SMEs” social project from Chula that brought knowledge to the living room of four groups of SMEs entrepreneurs: food businesses, hotels & accommodation, health, and fashion, to help them adapt and survive the COVID-19 crisis. Watch past episodes to revive and empower your business today.

The COVID-19 crisis that has been with us since last year, has had adverse effects on people of all walks of life, particularly, the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which account for over 90 percent of the country’s businesses.  Many have had to shut down due to unbearable losses and costs.

But in crisis, lies opportunity.  Many business owners have been able to adapt and keep their business afloat during the volatile situation. These entrepreneurs came forth to share their knowledge and direct experiences with SMEs entrepreneurs who are looking for solutions for their business in Quick MBA for SMEs, a free business seminar offered by Chulalongkorn University and the Faculty of Commerce and Accountancy (Chula Business School or CBS) during July to mid-August, 2021.


Quick MBA for SMEs – knowledge enhancement to survive COVID-19

The Quick MBA for SMEs seminar was initiated by Professor Dr. Bundhit Eua-arporn, President of Chulalongkorn University based on Chula’s vision “Innovations for Society”.

“Whenever the society and the country are faced with problems, it is our duty at Chulalongkorn to find solutions. For example, at this time, Thai people are plagued by problems from the COVID-19 pandemic causing many workers to be laid off, and businesses are in dire need of customers.  This project is aimed at enhancing entrepreneurs’ knowledge to help solve the problem for cash-strapped SMEs,” Prof. Dr. Bundhit said.

This year’s Quick MBA for SMEs is built on the success of the Quick MBA from Home business management seminar initiated by the CBS in 2020 at the onset of COVID-19’s first wave. The program was in collaboration with four world-class universities: Harvard, Stamford, Cambridge and Oxford which offered their professors specializing in marketing and business administration as speakers. The first seminar received a lot of attention with over 400,000 views on Facebook and over 4,000 shares.


                                                Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wilert Puriwat, Dean of CBS
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wilert Puriwat, Dean of CBS


Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wilert Puriwat, Dean of CBS who initiated the Quick MBA for SMEs said that the “COVID-19 situation has worsened this year. So, a brief business seminar that helps bring actual results is even more necessary. Quick MBA for SMEsWeToWe MarketChula overcomes the COVID-19 crisis target the SMEs that are heavily impacted.  We focus on providing SMEs entrepreneurs new ideas about business management strategies that they can apply in order to survive the crisis.


Business Tips from leading speakers for four groups of SMEs

Quick MBA for SMEs was held once a week every Monday, 6 PM to 8 PM, for four consecutive weeks from 26 July to 16 August 2021 via Zoom and Facebook live on Chulalongkorn University’s and partners’ Facebook pages.  Speakers representing entrepreneurs from four types of SMEs: food, hotel and accommodation, health, and fashion, shared ways to solve problems and find a way to survive the COVID-19 crisis, and concluded with academic concepts by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wilert, Dean of CBS, and other guest speakers including Mr. Wasit Taepaisitphong, CEO of Betagro (CBS alumnus), Dr. Lackana Leelayouthayotin, Director and former CEO of Cerebos Pacific (Faculty of Science alumnus), Ms. Piluntanee Suwanbubpha, Executive Vice President of Thailand Post (Faculty of Political Science alumnus), Ms. Marisa Sukosol Nunphakdi, President of the Thai Hotels Association, and so on.  


                                                Asst. Prof. Dr. Ake Pattaratanakun, Vice President of Corporate Communication, Brand Management, and Alumni Relations, Chulalongkorn University

                                                         Asst. Prof. Dr. Ake Pattaratanakun

                                 Vice President of Corporate Communication, Brand Management,
                                              and Alumni Relations, Chulalongkorn University


“Each speaker came from different businesses, but share a common point of view. Although this crisis has caused various problems and obstacles, it is an opportunity for SMEs to cut costs or cut some unnecessary jobs. They can also use this crisis as an opportunity to embark on new businesses that they never considered before,” said Asst. Prof. Dr. Ake Pattaratanakun, Vice President of Corporate Communication, Brand Management, and Alumni Relations, Chulalongkorn University, also the program’s coordinator.

SMEs should capitalize on the smallness of their business, Asst. Prof. Ake added.  “Try to start new businesses that require a small investment.  If you fail, it won’t hurt too much. The advantage of SMEs is that they can adapt quickly. Don’t waste time planning.  Use speed to your advantage. Try to do something out of the box and create innovations that matter.    Don’t go after large groups of customers.  Target small groups of customers.”

Although each Quick MBA for SMEs session lasted only 2 hours, it was packed with practical knowledge and principles that can be applied to get results.  The seminars were also open to the interested public free of charge and the audience could interact and exchange experiences with guest speakers directly. The past four Quick MBA for SMEs sessions were a great success with more than 100,000 views and more than 1,000 shares.

“I’m glad to be involved in this project which has received strong support from Chula alumni, and many entrepreneurs in the public and private sectors to present knowledge and share experiences through a platform organized by Chula, so everyone could come together to help solve the plight of SMEs,” Asst. Prof. Dr. Ake said with delight.

The Quick MBA program by Chula and CBS will continue to help businesses and society get through the COVID-19 crisis. For next year’s topics, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Wilert said that they should deal with business rehabilitation to get through the COVID-19 crisis.

Those facing business and emotional crises and need inspiration and brain power to get through the COVID-19 crisis can watch past episodes of Quick MBA for SMEs on Facebook pages: “Chulalongkorn University”, “CUPTmytcas (Conference of University Presidents of Thailand)”/ CBSChula / CBS Academy / Chula Marketplace / Brand Buffet.