Korn-eak “Pann” Thamrongwang chose UMSL to continue a tradition started by his sister and brother-in-law more than a decade ago. Thamrongwang and his wife, Wichuda, are now also alumni of the College of Business Administration. (Photo by August Jennewein)
Before he had even earned a high school diploma, Korn-eak “Pann” Thamrongwang knew a master’s degree was in his future.
He didn’t know when he would begin, what he would study or where he would attend, but he was certain that an advanced degree would put him on the career path he desired.
It’s a goal inspired by his sister and brother-in-law, who graduated with MBAs from the University of Missouri–St. Louis in 2004 and went on to build successful careers in their home country of Thailand.
“I knew growing up that I had to have a master’s degree, especially when I was here seeing my sister cross the stage,” Thamrongwang said. “I turned to my parents then and told them I wanted to be like her.”
After that day, he charted out a plan: finish high school, earn a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, enter the workforce and then wait for the right opportunity.
Thamrongwang gradually checked each of these boxes. Then, after six years working as an engineer in Cincinnati, he knew he wanted to transition into business and believed the timing was finally right.
One question still remained: Where should he go?
After some thought and a few campus tours, Thamrongwang determined in 2016 that the answer had been in front of him for the last 12 years.
“Back in Thailand, both my sister and brother-in-law have gone on to be quite successful,” Thamrongwang said. “I knew UMSL had a really good education, so UMSL was always in the back of my mind. Then when I had the opportunity to visit campus, I met with …