Faculty/Staff Current Students

Thailand and Vietnam

This IFS will focus on the growth of the economies of Thailand and Vietnam over the past few decades as well as the challenges that each country faces during this period of transition. The cultural, economic and political context of each country will be examined in the context of emerging markets. We will also study how each country is leveraging its image to drive business and tourism. Students will meet with corporate leaders in local industries such as textiles, construction, finance, hospitality, education and IT. We will also explore cultural landmarks in Thailand and Vietnam. Led by Dr. Christopher J. Robertson, Professor of International Business and Strategy. 

Thailand and Vietnam represent two of the most diverse and fascinating cultures in Southeast Asia. Moreover, both nations have experienced strong economic growth in the past decade and are now at a crossroads to climb to the next level. Thailand is famous for its ornate shrines and temples, beautiful beaches, exotic food and vibrant culture. Bangkok has established itself as a strong business center and trade hub for many MNCs operating in the region. In Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is the epicenter of business, government and culture and is emblematic of the country’s fascinating cuisine, thriving businesses and fascinating yet complex culture. Both countries have strong and positive relationships with the United States and many firms are working hard to cultivate sustainability into their business models.

Areas of Interest

Thailand and Vietnam account for over 160 million inhabitants and some of the most beautiful topography in the world ranging from the vast Mekong River Delta to the seemingly endless beaches of the Andaman Sea. Much of the plush agricultural areas in both countries are within a one day drive from the burgeoning world class cities of Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City.

Bangkok, with a metropolitan population of just over14 million, is a beautiful city with an exotic street life, and many shrines and important temples. The Silom business district and Grand Palace represent the unique blend of new and old that transcend the city. The Thai people are increasingly stressing higher education, innovation, and business savvy. In addition to business visits we will likely have the opportunity to visit a number of cultural and historic sites such as the Temple of Dawn, the floating market and Chinatown.

Course Description

Students will be exposed to an array of cultural and business differences in the region with unique emphasis on challenges and opportunities related to emerging economies. While in Thailand and Vietnam students will attend lectures by business executives, leading academics and government officials. Students will also interact with their counterparts from a top university in the region. The overall objective of the course is to learn about the challenges and advantages of operating a business in Thailand and Vietnam.

Format of Instruction

The class will meet monthly prior to trip departure. Students will read case studies and popular press articles about Thailand and Vietnam and the current economic and cultural environment of Southeast Asia. Students will write-up a case analysis and student teams will present their recommendations for export feasibility projects to colleagues in either Thailand or Vietnam.


Christopher J. Robertson, Professor & Group Coordinator of International Business and Strategy Group, D’Amore-McKim School of Business

Accommodations, Transportation & Meals

Participants will be housed in double rooms in high-quality tourist hotels during the program. Accommodations for spouses or friends are not available. Breakfasts, some lunches, and some dinners are included. Students are usually responsible for other meals. Students are responsible for securing passports and visa. Inter-country transportation is included.