A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed by Richard Meaders, Director of Academic Affairs on behalf of Stamford International University Cha-Am campus and Guido Campigotto, General Manager of Food & Beverages, on behalf of Monsoon Valley. The MOU has begun a formal consultation process between the two organisations which officially began on Friday 4th December.
What the university has been able to offer is the enthusiasm, fresh eyes and minds of a group of international business students. Under the stewardship of international business studies lecture Lee Kornowski, the students have been tasked with delivering new ideas for the vineyard’s growth and development in a post-covid world. What Monsoon Valley has offered is exposure to a real-world business environment rather than a classroom, to facilitate and develop the student’s skills and knowledge.
In an early stage of the project, the Stamford students were able to gain first-hand insights by both listening and questioning Monsoon Valley management leaders, followed by a tour of the vineyard operations. This was a learning experience in itself, with the extensive grapevine viticulture and many other alternative crops on show, apart from the hospitality operations of the Sala Restaurant, wine tasting and other tourism-centred activities.
A previous collaborative project undertaken by Monsoon Valley has resulted in the vineyard recently discontinuing elephant rides around the property in cooperation with Edwin Wiek of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT). This led to an on-site elephant sanctuary being developed for the vineyard’s two resident elephants to live a more comfortable life in retirement. The possibility of extending the sanctuary as a home for other elephants in need is also under consideration.
The signed MOU has a 12-month duration however over the next few months a project document will be developed and then presented by the students as a business model for the Monsoon Valley management to consider. One potential direction is to look at the needs of Hua Hin’s current and future retirees with the viability of supported living facilities within the vineyard’s very extensive (1,500 Rai) property as a most picturesque rural environment. A second focus will be to look at opportunities to develop organic crops and other agricultural products. The handover of the student’s project is anticipated in around two months’ time.
This ‘Grape Collaboration’ is an example of Stamford providing a real-world learning experience as an important part of their teaching program in cooperation with a significant Hua Hin industry member. Such collaborations form mutually beneficial partnerships delivering practical outcomes; they really can be a big ‘win-win’.