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Great Expectations: Kas Pathomsak MSF '97
This article originally appeared in the Bentley Magazine.
For Kasemsit “Kas” Pathomsak ’97 MSF, professional and personal paths are shaped by a single philosophy. “It’s easy to go along and conform to what’s been done,” he says. “But the easiest thing is never the best thing.”
His ready embrace of challenge inspired a recent honor from Bentley. In April 2010, Pathomsak arrived on campus from his native Thailand to receive the President’s Distinguished Executive in Residence award. His stay involved serving as a resource for current students interested in his career field of choice: international finance.
Pathomsak has made a lasting mark in the volatile field. In 1997, as financial crisis swept through Asia, he stepped outside the world of banking and into government affairs. Thailand was among the nations most affected by the crisis.
“Our focus was to salvage the credibility of the country,” Pathomsak says of the formidable assignment he accepted as special adviser to the Thai minister of commerce. His consulting role extended to the Thai Parliament House Standing Committee on Commerce.
Among other initiatives, Pathomsak helped pass laws aimed to restore confidence and support the Thai currency, and worked with a range of international leaders and institutions. As he puts it: “There are always opportunities in a crisis.”
Forging a Path
A talent for seeing opportunities that others might miss serves Pathomsak well in his current post. As president and CEO of Merchant Partners Securities Ltd., he leads the Bangkok-based company in trading securities, issuing research, underwriting shares, and advising on corporate mergers and acquisitions.
Established in 2005, Merchant Partners had to move quickly to distinguish itself in a competitive market, according to Pathomsak.
“We deliver very specialized professional services,” he says of the firm, which is a member of the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the Thai Futures Exchange. “At the same time, we maintain the agility and intimacy of a small family business.”
The same is true of Pathomsak Holdings Company Ltd., which the alumnus oversees as executive director. The 60-year-old company has core investments in property and real estate; hotel, travel and lifestyle businesses; and trading and finance-related ventures.
Making an Impression
Pathomsak’s pursuit of the path less traveled started with his education. Setting his sights on studying in the United States, he earned an undergraduate business degree at Northeastern University in 1993. Next stop: Bentley.
“I went to the office of the dean of the graduate school — without an appointment — and asked for a few minutes of time,” he recalls. “We ended up chatting for quite some time about Bentley’s programs and my background. It made quite an impression on me.”
Since returning to Thailand with his MS in Finance, Pathomsak has done much to raise the Bentley profile there and elsewhere overseas. The contributions include organizing a short-term study abroad program for current students, as well as spearheading efforts to develop an alumni chapter and networking opportunities. He also has advised the university on ways to build ties with international alumni.
The work is fueled by his own positive experience at Bentley.
“There were so many benefits: the use of leading technology in the learning process, the practical curricular and teaching approaches, and the small size of the campus, which allowed me to interact closely with faculty and friends,” says Pathomsak. “Bentley was everything I expected and more.”
Bentley University’s Co-Provost and Dean of Arts and Sciences Daniel Everett talked with us recently about a wide range of topics, including being featured in a new book by Tom Wolfe, two of his own upcoming books, the importance of studying the origins of language, and the value of a fusion approach to business education.