Buhay OFW

My first day as a student at St Robert’s Global Education

After I finished my baccalaureate degree in 2008, I planned to immediately enroll in graduate school but the death of my father just a few days before my college graduation hindered me to pursue my studies. In 2012, I finally got enrolled in MAED program but never actually attended my classes since I lost my job and became busy looking for a new one.

After four years another opportunity came to pursue my graduate studies, St Roberts affiliated university came and opened another door for me. I didn’t think twice and grabbed it right away. They say that luck knocks on your door once so you either seize or take it for granted. I did what I always said in my speeches – Carpe Diem!

Meeting with the CEO: The writer with Dr. Robert Galindez, CEO of St Robert’s Group of Companies during their first meeting in March 2016.

I decided to take Master in Business Administration (MBA) with Philippine Christian University (PCU). PCU is just one of St. Roberts five partner universities in the Philippines and in Thailand. One reason why I have chosen PCU is the fact that the Chairman of the Board of Trustees (BOT) is also the present Secretary (Minister) of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the Republic of the Philippines. Its just wow!

On December 18, classes for the second term for academic year 20162017 started. The date was special for me because the day before that was my anniversary of coming to the Land of Smile eight years ago.

I was very anxious the night before my first day at school that I went to bed past midnight. I got a full scholarship and honestly I also felt the full pressure of behaving and doing well in class (Mind you, I was hard headed kind of an activist back in college). I know it entails long hours of preparation, extensive reading and writing on top of my already loaded daily schedule both for my fulltime job as a lecturer and for PinoyThaiyo. Besides, I may have succeeded many tribulations in life but I still dread not being able to meet expectations.

Graduate students: Jez with his DBA and MBA classmates.

The next day, I arrived at our class just on time. There I met and got acquainted with my classmates. They are highly successful professionals. One is a PR manager who has been living in Thailand for over 30 years, a Ford motors regional manager, AIT Thailand finance coordinator, 12year EFL instructor who also has background in business, and one Thai doctor of business student who works as procurement manager in a fivestar hotel in Phuket. Its easy to admire all of them. If I were to make an excuse for a dismal performance, I think its being the youngest in the class.

After some chitchats, our professor came. He is the Dean of the College of Business Administration and Accountancy and concurrent acting Dean of the Graduate School of Business of PCU. Dr. Narciso Immanuel C. Managuelod also holds several graduate degrees both in the Philippines and Europe. Of all the professors I have studied with, Dr. Managuelod has the highest educational qualification and it was indeed an honor and a blessing to be under his tutelage. As a student and a huge fan, I did exactly what the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago did when she was also  student at the University of the Philippines. She said, “I normally sit in front where I worship my professor. I stare with love-struck eyes and take down everything he says and I don’t even breathe”.

Our first class which is Organizational Management was very interactive. It wasn’t only because of our wellexperienced professor but also our sharing of real life experiences about business management and some personal things made it more alive. After a short selfintroduction, all of us started exchanging ideas about the subject matter and how a proper management style can propel us on top. Everybody was articulate and generous enough to share their wisdom.

The class ended past twelve in the afternoon with the giving of homework, case studies and of course making new friends on Facebook.

With St Robert’s Iron Lady: Ms. Grace Galindez, St. Robert’s Thailand manager (2nd from left) poses with the writer, his friend Marjoe and cousin Summer at St Robert’s office in Pratunam.

It felt like winning a lotto streak with everything that took place in the afternoon as I went to the St Robert’s office in Pratunam after the class. There I met PCU’s big bosses – Dr. Kathleen Rose Guimbatan, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Felilia Ronan, retired Dean of the College of Business Administration and Accountancy who now serves as PCU consultant and my morning professor Dr. Managuelod; Dr. Robert Galindez, CEO of St Robert’s Group of Companies was also there. Meanwhile, it was Ms. Grace Galindez, Thailand Manager who ushered me to the room with all four of them having lunch. Dr. Galindez introduced me and shortly an ambush interview followed.

CPU bosses: The VIPs from Christian Philippine University and St Robert’s Group of Companies during the graduate studies oral defense where writer was invited to observe.

I asked them about their observations about the transnational students in Thailand and all of them gave very good impressions. They said St Roberts students are very receptive and were able to easily come out with their thesis titles in their class. The three VIPs also taught graduate students in the morning.

After lunch, I was invited to observe the thesis defense. It was indeed very educational and unforgettable experience. It was inspiring to see professional OFWs excel in a foreign land. I witnessed firsthand how the graduate students were grilled and their work scrutinized through intellectual questioning by the panel. After almost half an hour, the presenters were given suggestions on how they can improve their work. I left the room after the Thai Doctor of Business Management (DBM) candidate finished his presentation and oral defense.

Outside the room were graduate students preparing for their thesis and dissertation defense. Some of them flew from Laos and far-flung provinces in different parts Thailand.  All of them were busy reading and reviewing their materials. The level of nervousness arose when they saw me came out of the conference room and started asking me questions for tips.

Classes were going on in some other rooms when I exited. I thanked and bade Ms. Grace and her team goodbye.  At the lobby I met many professionals including some old friends who were busy preparing for their next class.

My first day was a thrill. I’m thankful to St. Roberts for giving the OFWs the opportunity to enhance our profession by providing quality transnational education here in Thailand.