Weerawit (Zen) Pipatwongkasem
Saïd Business School, University of Oxford
“Banker based in Bangkok by day, foodie by night.”
Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
Fun Fact About Yourself: I practice a number of martial arts including Thai Boxing and Karate. I used to compete as a junior tennis player. I was also a Buddhist monk, practicing meditation and studying about mind and body.
Undergraduate School and Major: Bachelor of Business Administration, Finance, Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand.
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Associate, Corporate & Investment Banking, J.P. Morgan
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: After being chosen as one of six from over hundreds to join JP Morgan Thailand, I was the only analyst promoted to Associate in less than three years. There, I differentiated myself through ingenuity and leadership, working with clients with an average net worth of over $50 billion.
At J.P. Morgan, I won the 2016 APAC’s CEO Award for procural of the global liquidity management mandate from the largest Asian sugar manufacturer for effectively helping manage an export cash flow of $800 million. I was also the youngest to win the 2017 APAC’s CEO Award for assisting Thailand’s largest oil & gas company with the bond buyback and exotic interest rate derivatives.
I also engaged in philanthropic pursuits, bringing more than 250 people out of a staggering debt of $1,873,830 by conducting a financial literacy program.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why?
Diversity: At Saïd Business School this year, we have more than 300 students from more than 60 countries around the world. We can learn broader from industry experts from various backgrounds, industries, and geographies.
Collaboration: Sharing expertise in each area and being value-added with your classmates are the values that I really admire.
Open-minded: You learn better when you can be flexible with yourself and surroundings.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Oxford Saïd is famous for their financial resources. I’m looking forward to joining the Finance Lab, Asset Management Masterclass, Oxford Seed Fund, and Impact Investing Bootcamp.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Having worked with financial power/leading corporates at J.P. Morgan and with those on the grassroots level in community services, I observed a significant mismatch in wealth allocation and financial literacy. Representing over 90% of the businesses in Thailand, SMEs contribute over 40% of Thailand’s GDP, yet suffer from limited access to low-cost loans and proper management advice because of a lack of reliable credit history and ratings. Consequently, neither the SME businesses nor Thailand can maximize growth potential. My goals thus focus on giving low-middle income workers and SMEs access to stronger business fundamentals and more sophisticated financial tools to allow for greater financial stability and market longevity. At this point, an MBA would help me pursue this goal, by building worldwide connections and developing both technical and soft skills to tackle world-scale problems.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I thought about a bigger picture than the financial return from the MBA. I thought about creating a major impact and transforming the banking industry in Thailand.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? London Business School and Columbia Business School.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? I’m looking to enhance my international market insight from my classmates, and the Oxford MBA class consisted of around 90% international students in 2017. It will be the perfect place for us where we can share success stories and lessons learned from both emerging and developed markets.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? The defining moment was when I prepared my application for Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. I spent a large amount of time reflecting what I have done and what I would like to pursue in the future. It shaped me to be a more thorough and well-rounded MBA candidate who looks at a bigger picture and to be clear with my short term and long term goals.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? My goal post-MBA will be to restructure and enhance the SME segment of Thailand’s economy by developing differentiated financial tools specifically for such businesses. With the fundamentals gained at Oxford Saïd, I will establish a Business Intelligence Unit to develop the first advanced data-integrated platform for SME banking and Thailand’s first SME credit risk scoring index. The banks in Thailand should also be enhanced to serve as a full SME corporate finance advisory, maximizing profitability and efficiency throughout the value-chain by offering technological platforms of liquidity management and supply chain financing solutions. These instruments will reduce the SMEs dependence on expensive loans and efficiently monetize existing assets to grow their businesses sustainably.
Where do you see yourself in five years? My long- term goal is to found a FinTech Venture Capital Fund to invest in and implement advanced banking platforms. The establishment of the fund will benefit not only banking industries but also every business line, streamlining their transactional and operational processes. I hope that I can effectively utilize and invest in technology to ensure sustainable growth for not only Thailand’s banking sector but also Thailand’s economy and the SME community.
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