Annop Kanthatham
Industry Faces
Having worked at his father's company as a teenager, combined with direct study abroad experience, Annop Kanthatham turned his back on a career in IT to continue his father's work.

My father founded York Institute back in 1987 and I spent two years in the USA, for 9th grade and my senior year.  I helped my dad when I was at university and accompanied groups to their state for the orientation. Then I studied at Northumbria University in the UK for about a year and a half, doing my postgraduate degree in Business Information Technology.


Alternate career path
I love technology so I probably would have worked in the IT business, but it's kind of too late now I think. With IT it's a changing market every day, every year.  I did work in the business briefly when I came back from the UK; it was only for about a year. But I knew I would eventually help with the family business.


Be patient with students. Also the role often involves counselling, sometimes you have to act like you're the parent of the student. Sometimes you feel like you are giving advice not just about their education but about their life.


Exploring alternate markets
I'd like to visit parts of Europe, like Poland, Russia or Hungary. The Thais are not very adventurous; they tend to go to the USA, UK, Canada. So when you say "What about Ireland?" they ask,"Where is it on the map?" We also see during ST Alphe, and others, that there are universities from Eastern Europe that are there to recruit students.


Feel-good factor
To me that's probably when I see that students we sent in the past came back and became successful or they got married and had kids or relocated to the country we sent them to.


Close-knit community
With Thai agents and Tieca, we have that culture where we call ourselves friendly competitors. We get along, we go to each other's birthdays and weddings, we're always excited for our meetings, to catch up and enjoy our time together.


Day to day
I oversee everything at York Institute. When school representatives come it's me that meets them. I talk to the schools and the staff communicates with the students and the parents. For TIECA we used to have monthly meetings but now it's every two months for the members, and for the committee we try to meet once or twice a month. Currently we have 75 members.

Growing TIECA
We have seen interest grow especially this year. Part of our plan this year is to achieve 82 members. We have been stuck at around 70 for a while so we want to change that. I think one of the criteria is that you have to be in the business for five years and I think that's a bit too long so we are changing it. We brought it down to two years but we are still waiting for the approval from the Ministry but it should be ok. But I think that once we reduce that down it should help.

Most important thing I have learned
Education is not only about degrees; it's about meeting different types of people, experiencing different cultures.

Be patient and also the role often involves counselling, sometimes you have to act like you're the parent of the student, sometimes you feel like you are giving advice not just about their education but about their life.


Remain resilient
At the moment there are more and more companies in the business, at least in Thailand anyway, so there are more competitors now. But the number of students is pretty much the same so at times some companies may experience a drop in business, and the new ones might feel that business is not as good as they thought it would be so they might not last long. It's a changing market in terms of incidents of visas, politics, no matter if you're new to the market or have been in the business for a long time you're going through the same things and you have to be alert and able to adapt.

When I started working for York Institute I was thinking ,"Oh I'll help him for another five years or so and then I'll go back and work in the IT business" but once I started full-time that was it. It's like the Godfather movie, you can't escape it and it'll keep pulling you back in. Time really flies, its 17 years now. In 10 years' time I'd like to be still in the business but hopefully less involved.


As well as increasing our members this year Tieca is celebrating its 20th anniversary so we're doing something special in November in time to coincide with our expo. Our last event in November was very successful so we're hoping to repeat that.


Interview by Clarissa Waldron,
Editorial Assistant


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