Alumni Spirit | A rich cultural mix

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Thi Thom Pham lived in Thailand until she was four years old, when she and her parents moved to France. In 2015, thanks to a professional opportunity, the young woman moved to Bangkok. Today she is the director of marketing for the Ascend Commerce group, where she oversees marketing for EGG Digital, Pantavanij and WeOmni.

A passion for language

Once she had her literature-focused baccalaureate in hand, Thi Thom pursued her studies in applied foreign languages, specifically English and German. After her master’s degree, she enrolled in a master’s program in communication at INSEEC, specializing in corporate communication and advertising. However, she still felt passionate about literature and continued to gobble up novels, especially historical ones. A fondness she passed on to her 14-year-old son, who has no Internet access on his telephone, but uses an e-reader when taking public transportation.

“Reading novels is a pleasant way of acquiring knowledge without even realizing it,” she notes.

Thi Thom is the first in her family to be drawn to studying literature, as her brothers opted for engineering. She then enrolled in the communication program at INSEEC. She emphasizes the professional character of this curriculum:

“The instructors are experts in their fields. They share their experience and confront students with concrete situations. I loved the ambiance of a small school, so different from the anonymity of university life,” she remarks.

The young woman has warm memories of her time at INSEEC, so much so that she took the initiative to contact the alumni network so she could share her experience with current students.

“I want to tell today’s students what I wish someone had told me at the time,” she reveals.

 Marketing performance

Coming from a working-class background, Thi Thom followed her heart when it came to higher education, without a precise vision of her future career.

“For my parents, if I worked in an office, that would mean success. At first, I thought I might try public relations or event planning. But after INSEEC, I landed an internship at an affiliate network,” she explains.

When she joined Affilinet in 2006, her main challenge was to place advertisements on the Internet and measure their effectiveness. That’s when the young woman discovered her scientific side.

After almost three years working for Tom James in Dubai, Matthew works for some time as a consultant for Links Group, a company helping businesses to set up in the Middle East before launching his own custom tailoring brand with a focus on sustainability: Benjamin Siggers.

“There is a tracking aspect, which is very technical, and a significant amount of math: what investment for how much turnover, etc.,” she notes.

In 2008, Thi Thom was recruited by Mistergooddeal. After the brand became part of the M6 group, her responsibilities expanded with M6 Boutique and Popgom. On top of managing the affiliation programs of each entity, she also supervised the Internet acquisition hub.

Then in 2012 she joined Aramisauto, a company founded by two young business school graduates whose idea was to sell cars online. As director of the acquisition hub, the young woman was responsible for generating quality prospects for brick-and-mortar agencies.

“What I liked was the ability to prove what you are doing, thanks to the magic of data. The results are more tangible than if you plaster the streets with a publicity campaign,” she notes.

“There is a tracking aspect, which is very technical, and a significant amount of math: what investment for how much turnover, etc.,” she notes.

The land of smiles

In 2015, an opportunity to work at CDiscount in Thailand popped up. It was far from being the dream expatriate mission with all expenses paid: she would have to go it alone during this huge life change. She had to talk it over with her husband before making a decision, especially since she had just given birth to their second child.

“If we decided not to go, would we regret for the rest of our lives that we didn’t give it a try? In terms of experience, we had nothing to lose, we just had to find a new way to work. We took six months to decide, because by leaving, I would lose 50% of my salary, and my husband would not have any work when we arrived,” she remembers.
They took the plunge, giving themselves a year. In no time at all, Thi Thom was contacted by a recruitment office looking for someone for CP Group, one of Thailand’s largest groups, which started in agroindustry and diversified into retail and telecommunications.

And so the young woman started as director of marketing in the e-commerce branch of Ascend Corporation, one of the group’s subsidiaries, and then developed the FinTech entity in six countries with TrueMoney. After five years, it had 16 million users and became the leading digital wallet in Thailand.

“After a few years living as though we would soon leave, we decided to stay in Thailand. If one of us wanted to return to France, there would be no questions and we would leave. Still, I did suggest to my husband that we might buy an oven,” she jokes.

Even if she liked getting her hands dirty, today Thi Thom’s role is 80% management. Moreover, she doesn’t want to be remembered as the person who launched this or that campaign, but as the person who made it possible to move forward on a subject. “I want to help people, to inspire them.”

This new role allowed Thi Thom, who considered herself an authoritarian, to find a new way to work:  

“In France, you feel as though in a discussion, it’s the one who speaks the most forcefully who wins. In Thailand, on the contrary, the one who raises their voice loses because they have displayed a poor way of communicating,” she explains. 

The importance of creativity

When she isn’t juggling data or mastering AI for prediction purposes, Thi Thom dedicates her time to a family project with her children and husband, who is a graphic designer. Together, they create parodies of cartoons for their YouTube channel Supertoonico.

“We wanted to initiate our children to the inner workings of the Internet in a fun way and show them how to create a project from A to Z. Influencing can be a career, but you must work hard to be good at it,” she affirms.

This project reflects her career philosophy: “You have to find something that you enjoy, because if you don’t like what you are doing, it can quickly become hellish!”

Finally, if she were to give advice to future students, it would be to be kind to others, but also to oneself: “When life is difficult, help and encourage each other and yourself!”

“You have to find something that you enjoy, because if you don’t like what you are doing, it can quickly become hellish!”

Thi Thom PHAM


Updated 22 July 2024