7 July 2022

ASEAN Master in Sustainability Management Series #3: Continuing the dialogue with the scholarship awardees of this programme

By
Chanya Chinsukserm
AUN Programme Officer;

Previously on Series #2: Insightful Perspectives of the Talented Students, the Secretariat team received precious perceptions from the gifted scholarship awardees of the ASEAN Master of Sustainable Management. Today’s article will continue to provide all the insightful perspectives from the young ASEAN scholars. This time the article will focus on the students’ thoughts on the spectacular master's programme, their viewpoint on the current state of the world, and the prospect of their future careers.

Why did you choose to study in the ASEAN Master of Sustainable Management in particular?

Lucy or Lucy Wong Zi Ni[1] pointed out that “the main thing that attracts me is definitely the ASEAN title of this programme because it differentiates itself from other scholarship programs.” She also wanted to join a peer learning program since there are a lot of potential and talents among the youth and young adults in the Southeast Asia region. “I very much look forward to connecting with these people in this programme to learn different perspectives on regional challenges and how we can address them,” said Lucy.

Amin or Muhammad Amin Musa[2] regarded this programme as the very first major that provides a strong foundation for sustainability in Southeast Asia. “We have the potential to grow this discipline, go into innovation and learn more about the sustainable development process in our own region,” he declared proudly. “Having such a very good program in ASEAN, we can contribute to our societies in the future and become future leaders for the benefit of our region,” said Amin, viewing this programme as a road towards the success of sustainability management in ASEAN.

Anjulie or Anjulie Razak[3] explained that the programme surpassed her expectations. Not only did she understand more about decision-making and proceeding of businesses, but she also learned the actual sustainability aspects/thinking and saw sustainable decisions from real business cases. “Learning about how to balance between making sustainability and running profitable businesses at the same time is really important through this course. I’ve learned a lot of strategies to implement in the future when I pursue my career and I'm hopefully very confident about this,” asserted Anjulie.

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From left to right, this photo is presenting Diwangkara Bagus Nugraha, So Pyay, Arumdari Nurgianti, Su Yamon Htun, Thu Zar Lin, and Zin Min Tun respectively.

In your opinion, how should we deal with the ongoing issues in the current state of the world? How can this programme help ease such issues?

Chanbora or Chanbora Sek[4] said that “the biggest challenge to sustainability is the lack of collective actions from different countries and government stakeholders.” He further elaborated that the mentioned challenge was caused by different countries having different self-interests in economic growth. Therefore, in his opinion, individuals cannot conquer the current sustainability problems without collaborative actions. Chanbora also suggested another way forward, “I think working collaboratively between the business sector and other stakeholders in the ecosystem with a view to generate a common purpose-driven by sustainability and social responsibility is a key to overcoming this challenge.”

Arum or Arumdari Nurgianti[5] mentioned two points. As she observed from her country, the first problem is fossil fuel production and consumption. “This is why we learned about renewable energy and ways to combat and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in this programme. In the future, when we go back to our professional careers, we can contribute and take actions related to fossil fuels,” she said confidently. In the second point, Arum noted public awareness as the main problem. She expressed her concerns that “some of us really don't know that climate change is happening now. They think that the sea level rise will rise in 50 years ahead, but it's actually currently happening and a lot of disasters are happening right now.” She concluded that public awareness regarding climate change and consumer behaviour related the sustainability is an important issue that we need to urgently solve.

Khamphet or Khamphet Keosiripanyah[6] shared his opinion that our current global issue is social inequality. “Social inequality happens from food insecurity and misuse of natural resources. In the future, we have to decide on a better solution to improve the management of our natural resources through sustainability practice.” He illustrated some example solutions to this issue, which are to increase the yield of productivity by using a small amount of the resources for food production; and to enhance both global and regional social connections to improve mutual interaction upon social problems that could result in a common solution and co-management.

What are your future prospects for studying in this program? How will you further your efforts in sustainability in your post-graduate?

Thu Zar or Thu Zar Lin[7] explained that Myanmar currently needs to be developed in rural areas. According to her, the main problem is the abuse of resources, especially in the energy sector and she desired to improve this sector. She further clarified that she would like to enable electricity in rural areas by using renewable energy in her country. “After I graduate from this programme, I will try to include the lack of electricity in areas of both urban and rural, as well as contribute to the renewable sectors,” said Thu Zar.
Amin also shared his clear vision with us, “I would go back to my hometown and continue to improve sustainable tourism in the future.” He stated that separate problems and challenges have occurred from the coastal area of Yala province to Pattani province, such as cost reduction problems and non-systematic management. Accordingly, there is a need for a person with a business perspective and discipline to develop sustainable tourism, put some closure to those problems, and grow the society to be more sustainable. “The improvement should also include how we can use our own natural resources to be more productive, how to deal with crops to earn more money, and how to increase income for local people by using the resources appropriately,” he emphasised.

Arum determinedly expressed that “I would like to become a marketing communication professional.” As she gets some insight from this particular master’s programme that businesses have high potential and opportunity to create sustainable development, she will firmly continue her career in the marketing communication department and contribute to raising awareness or creating persuasive strategy in a private company.

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From left to right, this photo is presenting Chanbora Sek, Lucy Zi Ni Wong, Khamphet Keosiripanyah, Muhammad Amin Musa, and Anjulie Razak respectively.

Could you share any specific courses that you particularly enjoy/find useful the most in this programme?

Yamon or Su Yamon Htun[8] pointed out her interest in Urban Planning and Management. According to Yamon, people are facing a lot of challenges, especially in handling waste management in Myanmar. Since this course contains guidance on the solutions to her country’s problem, it results in her high attention on this subject. Moreover, her interest in the third-semester thesis is also about waste management so she is intrigued by this course.

So or So Pyay[9] mentioned that “if I have to choose just one favourite course, it would be Sustainable Business Strategy from Harvard Business School.” He noted that this course helped him understand why having a purpose is essential for businesses to grow in today's highly competitive world, as well as how organizations may incorporate social and environmental responsibilities into their strategy to be well-prepared for future challenges.

Zin or Zin Min Tun[10] also shared his favourite subject with us. He thought Business Ethics is the most important subject which can solve the way most businesses left environmental and social impacts on our societies. “We study Business Ethics to include the environmental future in order to have a sustainable business,” Zin emphasised.

From Arum’s viewpoint, she chose Marketing Management to be her favourite course. According to her, there are sustainable approaches in the marketing aspect of this course. She has greatly learned to communicate and create marketing technical strategies related to energy and climate change for the public. She would like to improve awareness and educate other people about the current critical state of climate change.
Lastly, Amin selected Marine Resources and Coastal Management to be his favourite. “As I come from the South of Thailand, I faced lots of problems and challenges regarding the cost of the natural problems. We need a young generation to help preserve natural resources and carefully look at the issues for solutions.” He also would like to pursue his thesis in the sustainable tourism management process, especially in the island destination. Therefore, he mainly concentrated on this topic.

What would you like to say to students out there who are interested in the sustainability field? Why would this programme be perfect for them?

When Bagus or Diwangkara Bagus Nugraha[11] was enrolling in this programme, he expected to meet people from different countries in Asia to broaden their network and understand the ASEAN context better. During the programme, he got opportunities to discuss heavily, exchange knowledge, and share experiences and conditions in each country with his classmates. “It met my expectations and it’s a remarkable experience for me,” he commended. Furthermore, Bagus passed along his message to others who may be interested in this programme. “This programme is a good opportunity for you to learn about sustainability management and climate change. It integrates real case scenarios that you can experience first-hand and apply to your condition and surrounding. Also, Yogyakarta is a great place to study as it’s a very colourful forest city, which is really supportive of your study. You can also go to the mountains or beaches if you are a bit bored of the study,” Bagus brightly shared his feeling.

The next series of the ASEAN Master in Sustainability Management will be the constructive insights from the lecturers of the programme. Please stay tuned for more perceptions of the success of the ASEAN Master in Sustainability Management.

Name of the Scholar Interviewees:

[1] Lucy (Lucy Wong Zi Ni), Malaysia         
– chose Track B, graduated from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
[2] Amin (Muhammad Amin Musa), Thailand    
– chose Track B, graduated from Chulalongkorn University
[3] Anjulie (Anjulie Razak), Malaysia             
– chose Track A, graduated from Universiti Malaysia Sabah
[4] Chanbora (Chanbora Sek), Cambodia
– chose Track A, graduated from Royal University of Phnom Penh
[5] Arum (Arumdari Nurgianti), Indonesia
– chose Track A, graduated from Universitas Pramadina
[6] Khamphet (Khamphet Keosiripanyah), Laos
– chose Track B, graduated from Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University
[7] Thu Zar (Thu Zar Lin) Myanmar
– chose Track A, graduated from University of Yangon
[8] Yamon (Su Yamon Htun), Myanmar         
– chose Track A, graduated from University of Yangon
[9] So (So Pyay), Myanmar                
– chose Track A, graduated from Technological University Mandalay
[10] Zin (Zin Min Tun), Myanmar
– chose Track A, graduated from Mandalay University of Distance Education
[11] Bagus (Diwangkara Bagus Nugraha), Indonesia     
– chose Track A, graduated with Master’s degree from University of Manchester