Meet NYU Stern’s MBA Class Of 2021

Chain Vayakornvichit

New York University, Stern School of Business

“Thai, grew up in England, studied Nietzsche at university, interested in healthcare.”

Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand

Fun Fact About Yourself: I practice qi gong (the slow-moving martial arts exercise that elderly people do in the parks) every morning.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Oxford. Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Vouch, Head of Product and Marketing (co-founding team member)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In Thailand, the vast majority of car insurance policies are still being sold by agents. These agents typically sell insurance part-time to hustle extra income for their families, but the process is offline and paperwork intensive. Over the past year, my team at Vouch on-boarded more than 3,000 agents onto our mobile platform, which allows them to browse prices across multiple insurers and transact digitally. Being able to help these agents, who tend to live in rural settings, earn income more efficiently gives me great joy.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Focused but open. It takes a certain kind of person to go “Hey, I’m going to take two years out of a career where I can earn income and invest into myself.” At the same time, they have to wrestle with the uncertainty of where this path will take them. These two factors are why I think the classmates I have met come in with a particular story, a particular idea of where they want to be at the end of the line but they remain open to possibilities.

What is the best part of coming to New York City to earn your MBA? For me, learning from people outside my school over the next two years is just as important as learning from classes and clubs inside the school. Physical proximity to cultural movers and industry captains is key, and New York certainly fits that bill.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Having worked in a smaller and more nascent start-up ecosystem in Bangkok, I often did not have the benefit of learning from the experiences of peers who have simply had the opportunity to do it before. I wanted to be put in close quarters with teams that I can get to know and learn from. Stern offers exactly that through experiential learning courses like Tech and the City, but also access to a network of entrepreneurs in the city area.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m looking forward to being part of OutClass, Stern’s LGBTQ community. I was not out during my undergraduate years and really look forward to being part of a campus LGBTQ community!

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? Stern’s visual personal expression essay (a.k.a. “Pick Six”) was probably most challenging because it asks so much more than one question. It asked, “How do you conceptualize your trajectory from a subjective point of view as opposed to a CV?”, as you are chronicling your life through the six pictures. It also asked “What values do you fundamentally hold that is different to others?”, as you are picking pictures that are meaningful to you.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I wanted a vantage point. Working in start-ups and consulting in Southeast Asia was incredibly rewarding. With every additional year I spent, I wondered, “What if I started a lifestyle-content company in the US or what if I wanted to work in venture capital?”. Pursuing an MBA gives me a structured way to peek into these opportunities.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Stanford Graduate School of Business, Columbia Business School, and MIT Sloan

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I was experimenting with different distribution channels for car insurance. Many of the initiatives I explored like referrals or buying leads to cold calls ended up having been executed by the incumbent brokers already, making them saturated. It was then that I realized being young or tech-driven is not always enough. Many people have been down my path and they were just as smart and hard-working. Winning market share required me to focus on what the I uniquely bring to the table. For me, that meant using the new ad formats that Facebook offers that competitors had not understood yet. This moment was humbling and reinforced to me the importance of knowing my strengths.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I’m using my time at Stern to refine my goals, but I could see myself working in either the healthcare or VC funding industries.

The Entire ‘Meet the Class’ Series

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