“AIT is an option for our central bank” – Mr. Daw Tenzin, Governor of the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMB)

Mr. Daw Tenzin, Governor of the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMB)

In a strong signal to the growing regional stature of AIT’s nascent Professional Master’s in Banking and Finance (PMBF) Program, two of Asia’s senior most bankers graced the second Completion Ceremony of the program held on 15 December 2012, addressing diplomats, dignitaries, graduates and AIT officials in Bangkok.

Mr. Daw Tenzin, Governor of the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan (RMB) and Mr. Md. Ahsan Ullah, Executive Director of Bangladesh Bank, spoke on banking and finance perspectives of their respective countries and globally as they witnessed 26 of their countrymen and women receive completion transcripts for their degree.

A total of 16 students from Bangladesh and 10 students from Bhutan will be conferred their degree from the School of Management, AIT, at the 118th Graduation Ceremony on December 18. Employees of Bangladesh Bank and the Bank of Bhutan, the tight-knit class of mid-level managers completed the 9-month program run by AIT Extension while on extended leave from their jobs, living and studying on campus.

Extending words of congratulations and thanks on behalf of AIT President Prof. Said Irandoust, AIT Extension Executive Director Dr. Jonathan Shaw emphasized the special relationship AIT shares with both countries in terms of partnership for elevating professional skills and human capacity. The PMBF is an innovative attempt at banking and finance education that emphasizes banking for positive development which seeks to avoid the mistakes of the recent global financial crisis, he said.

Calling the Asian Institute of Technology “a very special institute”, Governor Tenzin was matter-of-fact in his assessment of the PMBF and of AIT’s ability to educate his staff in this highly specialized subject. “Banking is a new business in Bhutan, and the challenges of banking and finance are enormous,” he said. “AIT is an option for our central bank.”

The Governor of RMB thanked H.E. Mr. Kesang Wangdi, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bhutan to Thailand, for his support for the program, and wished the graduates well in their careers. He told them to keep learning, think like a banker, focus on credit and debt issues, and be vigilant in one’s knowledge of the economy. He also cautioned the bankers all to heed the lessons on the recent liquidity crisis and to be mindful of the enormous challenges associated with global financial integration.

Bangladesh Bank Executive Director Mr. Md. Ahsan Ullah offered an in-depth look at the financial system in Bangladesh, and pointed out key developmental themes of the country’s Central Bank, such as its pioneering role to promote environmentally-friendly banking practices.

Drawing on historical references, the top banker emphasized the evolving nature of banking globally, stressing possibilities for improving societal welfare. “Central banks have a development role,” he stated, which should and entail close monetary and fiscal policy coordination. Officials should strive for inclusive growth and reducing Gini coefficients as “per capita income is not a panacea” in terms of achieving societal happiness, he stated.

For PMBF Program Coordinator Dr. Sundar Venkatesh, the modular program is moving forward in the right direction by emphasizing the very highest quality. The PMBF emphasizes practice with a strong theoretical underpinning, he said. “We conducted aptitude tests for 100 applicants from Bangladesh Bank, and from these sixteen were taken.”

Students are also regulary exposed to senior experts and speakers who conduct real monetary policy, he stressed, and the program includes faculty members from many of Thailand and India’s finest universities, apart from AIT.

From left: Mr. Kazi Russel Parves, First Secretary, Embassy of Bangladesh; Mr. Daw Tenzin; Mr. Fazle Karim, AIT Extension; H.E. Mr. Kesang Wangdi; Dr. Jonathan Shaw; Mr. Md. Ahsan Ullah; and Dr. Sundar Venkatesh, PMBF Director, AIT.