Bangkok 2017: An Insightful Quest to Connect

It is said that networking is not just about connecting people. It’s about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities. Since its establishment, IEEE USM Student Branch has always seek to broaden our reach beyond campus, state, and even international borders.

Our founders believe that an organization can only truly innovate by learning from great organizations from other ecosystems, country or community. The difference in environment and ecosystem is the main factor that determines the success of an organization. We hope that by learning and accepting the bombardment of ideas, we will be able to mold ourselves into an organization that will continuously and tirelessly innovate ourselves and leading the change in the community that we thrive in.


Founding members Yong Bang Ming (second left) and Simon Yeoh (third left), together with Chairman 2015 Tan Ting Feng (second right), current Chairman Andy Tan (first right) and Vice Chairman William Yeap (first left)

The idea of networking visits to foreign universities was first conceived back in 2014 by founding members Yong Bang Ming and Simon Yeoh, as an initiative that serves to spur the growth of the organization. Pioneering the charge was Tan Ting Feng, where the committee drafted out plans to visit Singapore during the semester breaks. Unfortunately, the plan failed to take off as several unforeseen factors halted our progress.

Nevertheless, the committee persisted despite the failure. And finally, in January of 2016, IEEE USM Student Branch took off in a flight bound for Singapore, with the mission of fostering ties with universities, industry, and the IEEE Region 10 administration.

And in the days that followed, we successfully connected with IEEE Region 10 officers and went on an industrial visit to GlobalFoundries Singapore. We even formed a MOU with IEEE of Nanyang Technological University which opened the doors to more collaborations and cross-campus activities in the near future.

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IEEE USM SB delegates at IEEE Region 10 Office, Globalfoundries Singapore, and Nanyang Technological University

Following the success of this pioneering visit, the committee intended to keep the momentum strong by hatching new plans for a visit to a new country, and decided that Thailand would be our next destination. During a committee meeting in May of 2016, almost 9 months before the visit would happen, counselor Dr. Rosmiwati proposed to reach out to Chulalongkorn University, a Thai university which has had close ties with USM in the past.


The newly formed committee after AGM 2016

Under the leadership of chairman Andy Tan, the committee began making arrangements for the next visit, drafting documents and planning for the itinerary of the visit, and liaising via email.

On November of 2016, USM IEEE Student Branch sent two delegates to Singapore once again, to attend the IEEE HardTech Summit 2016. The mission is simple, network with the tech community in Asia, and to meet our coordinator from Chulalongkorn University, Dr. Supavadee Aramvith, who was presenting about IEEE EPICS.

The exchange was fruitful as both parties expressed great interest in conducting a meaningful networking session in Bangkok.


IEEE USM SB delegates with Dr. Supavadee Aramvith (center)

However, the planning process was far from easy, as plans were revised again and again to produce the best outcome and provide the best experience for every member in the committee as well as for our collaborators.

After months of rigorous planning, the committee once again took off on a flight to the capital of Thailand on February of 2017. Our target this time is, not one, but two universities in Bangkok, namely Chulalongkorn University and King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi.


The committee at the arrival hall of Don Muang International Airport, Bangkok

The following days in Bangkok were an eye-opening experience for IEEE USM Student Branch. Connecting with foreign universities proved to be a fruitful venture not only to us, but to our collaborators as well.


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IEEE USM SB’s visit to Chulalongkorn University, hosted by Dr Supavadee Aramvith, on a joint technical seminar with IEEE HKN Mu Theta Chapter CU, led by Ms. Thittaporn Ganokratanaa

Exchanging knowledge has always been a subject constantly advocated by IEEE USM Student Branch as part of our core values as a professional organization. Several sessions saw the exchange of technical insights into various research conducted by the presenters in the seminar.

One session hosted by Dr. Pizzanu Kanongchaiyos discussed past experiences in IEEEXtreme Programming Competition. Two winners from Thailand shared their experience in solving problems presented during the competition, and provided valuable feedback which will certainly contribute to future iterations of the competition.

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IEEE USM SB greeted by KMUTT International Affairs Office

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Visits to various cutting-edge laboratories in KMUTT Electrical Engineering Department

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IEEE USM SB’s visit to KMUTT Electrical Engineering Department, hosted by Head of Department Dr. Supakit Chotigo and final year students

The visits ended but not before a casual networking session between the committee and our collaborating partners. Contacts were exchange in the hopes that this visit will mark a new beginning for more future collaborations and cross-campus activities.

But all work aside, we made sure to set aside valuable time to relax and unwind in some of the best places Bangkok has to offer, like striking down pins at Siam Paragon’s bowling alley, shopping spree at Chatuchak Weekend Market, indulging in traditional Thai massage, witness the Grand Palace and its surrounding temples, and enjoying the night view at a rooftop bar.

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Our moments in Bangkok, Thailand

We took the opportunity to feast in an appreciation dinner at a reputable restaurant to celebrate all the successes that the committee has achieved so far. We have come a long way since IEEE USM Student Branch was first established in 2009, since the idea of networking visits was first conceived.


Appreciation dinner at Yana Restaurant, MBK

And to witness months’ worth of ideas and plans slowly fall into place, and to enjoy the company of fellow accomplishers together in foreign soil, it has been my greatest pleasure and honor, as the Program Director, to realize our organization’s vision for the second time counting.

I wish to direct my heartfelt appreciation to the committee for the hard work and dedication that made this dream into a reality, to our counselor Dr. Rosmiwati who has been supporting us since the beginning, and to our collaborators Dr. Supavadee Aramvith and Dr. Supakit Chotigo for the warm hospitality. Here’s to more similarly meaningful and impactful initiatives in the near future!

Special thanks to:

Dr Supavadee Aramvith, Dr. Supakit Chotigo, Ms. Thittaporn Ganokratanaa, Dr. Raktipong Sahamitmongkol, Asst. Prof. Dr. Arporn Teeramongkolrasmee, Mr. Pittayut Piromjit, Dr. Pizzanu Kanongchaiyos, Mr. Watchara Ruangsang, Mr. Thananop Kobchaisawat, Ms. Tanutcha Boonma, Mr. Nontanan

willAbout the Author

William Yeap is the Vice Chair of USM IEEE Student Branch for term 2016/17 and the Project Director of networking visits to both Singapore and Bangkok, has been an actively contributing executive committee for over 3 years. Loves travelling and the internet, a lot.