Mélyssa Saint-Félix is an exchange student in MBA who recently graduated from a Dual Degree program from EDHEC Business School and Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). She shares her experience of coming to AIT.
Mélyssa had always wanted to explore different parts of the world but never had an opportunity to travel far from her home in France. While studying at EDHEC Business School, she learned about the Dual Degree Program offered by her school. “I was fascinated with the program as it offered a chance to pursue a specialized field of study and travel to a different part of the world.”
She was provided with a list of universities to which she could apply. Talking about how AIT became one of her top choices, she adds, “I have always wanted to visit Asia and it was my chance to check it off my bucket list. AIT grabbed my attention, and I contacted some friends who came to AIT for exchange programs earlier. After listening to their experience, I was convinced it was the perfect choice regarding the quality of education, adventure, and affordability”.
Student exchange programs are a prominent and highly sought-after opportunity in the Asian Institute of Technology, offering students in AIT and universities across the world to seek global exposure and experience. The School of Management offers opportunities to participate in an exchange or dual-degree program with one of more than 50 partner universities globally. The exchange programs aim to immerse students into multiple cultures for one or two semesters and expose them to different learning approaches. Students can earn full credit for their semester(s) abroad.
Mélyssa enrolled in the Dual Degree Program – Business Management in EDHEC and MBA in AIT. “This program has been great in terms of my academic development as I have gained knowledge in business leadership, strategy and marketing. My tuition fee at AIT was waived as part of the partnership between the two institutions, which was indeed great support. Such programs are highly beneficial for students like me”. She graduated from AIT in July 2022 and will graduate from EDHEC in October 2022.
Despite travel restrictions and the ongoing pandemic, Mélyssa decided to step outside of her comfort zone, and travel to Thailand to start her term at AIT. “This was the first time I traveled this far from home and alone. Although the process was challenging due to the pandemic, I was super excited to be here”.
When she arrived in Thailand in August 2021, AIT students were provided with the mandatory 14-day quarantine facility within the campus’s Organizational Quarantine (OQ) facility, operating in line with the government’s health and safety guidelines. “Considering the situation, I had a good experience in the OQ. The services provided, including the rooms, food, hygiene, health, and safety measures, were excellent and extremely helpful.”
Before arriving at AIT, Mélyssa had planned to live in Bangkok. However, she changed her mind once she observed student life on campus. “After I completed the quarantine, I started going around the campus and meeting people. The green and peaceful environment and the multicultural international community were truly amazing. I met students and faculty from different countries and with diverse cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. Despite these, we were able to bond quickly and it started feeling like a home away from home. I enjoyed the vibe here, so I decided to live on the campus.”
As the COVID-19 restrictions lifted gradually, the campus started becoming livelier. AIT moved to a hybrid mode of instruction, with students gradually returning for in-person classes and activities. Talking about her experience, she says, “Despite the rigorous coursework and classes, I admire how everyone was involved in the extracurricular activities, which inspired me to do the same. I spent most of my free time on the badminton court or hanging out with friends on the campus grounds.”
In addition to studies, Mélyssa says the highlight of her time in Thailand was also the opportunity to discover a new country and culture where she witnessed a large contrast to her world back home. “First is the weather which is very hot and humid; I’m still having a tough time despite being here for more than a year. I’ve found Thai people to be helpful and respectful, much different than what I had expected. I loved it here.” Reminiscing her experience traveling across the country, including the pristine beaches in Phuket and Krabi, adventurous outdoors in Kanchanaburi and Chiang Mai, and the social life in Bangkok and Pattaya, she adds, “This experience has been amazing and can’t be described in words. I don’t think I’ve traveled this much even in my own country, so I intend to do so once I return.”
Mélyssa says she was able to expand her knowledge in a variety of areas as part of her studies. Her program courses included Leadership and Organization Management, Risk and Decision, Strategic Brand Management, and Change Management. She also took classes in Consumer Behavior, Responsible Management & Ethics, Service Marketing, and Managing Technology & Innovation. Her research specialization after completing her coursework was on food delivery applications. The study was conducted to demonstrate the connection between the customer experience on the application and their loyalty to the brand, by determining whether their experience had an impact on their intention to recommend and revisit the application.
Speaking of her future goals, she shares that she would love to grow and develop her career in the business and marketing field after returning to France. She further shares, “I feel that having a dual degree along with such great exposure is a bonus. It has helped me learn and develop interpersonal relationships and communication skills in a multicultural environment, as I aspire to become a good manager and leader. I am confident this experience will help me a lot in my future.”
“After I go back home, I am going to miss my friends, but we will for sure keep in touch, and I know that I will meet most of them again in the future. I met new people and made everlasting good memories. Lastly, I will miss the delicious food.”, says Mélyssa as she reminisces about her time at AIT.