Stephen Andrews, Chief Finance and Operations Officer (Bursar) at Brighton College Bangkok, has lived and worked in Thailand for the last eight years. His role is to lead the management of all the non-academic and support services, in support of Brighton College’s world-renowned reputation of delivering excellent and inspirational teaching.
What attracted you to a leadership position at Brighton College?
I have worked in an educational environment for almost 18 years, and I have been closely observing developments in this sector. I was aware of the reputation of Brighton College UK and its exemplary focus on individual pupils, unique combination of academic excellence and extra-curricular activities, and the fact that many of Brighton College pupils have gone on to pursue higher studies in some of the best universities in the world.
Therefore when I learned that Brighton had plans to establish a school in Bangkok, I was truly excited to play a leading role from the start and see the school grow and develop. I also admire Brighton’s strategy of setting up sister schools, to develop the high standards and successes of Brighton internationally and the achievements of Brighton College Abu Dhabi and Brighton College Al Ain especially in such a short space of time, are truly remarkable. Brighton is a truly innovative enterprise and I wished to be part of its journey and further growth in Thailand and other parts of South East Asia into the future.
What have been your career highlights to date? What has been your proudest achievement?
I have had the wonderful fortune and great pleasure of living in the ‘land of the smiles’ Thailand for the last eight years and Bangkok has truly been home to me, my wife and daughter. Prior to joining Brighton College Bangkok, I worked as an Executive Director in an International Facilities Management Company based in Bangkok. Before moving to Thailand, I ran my own management consultancy business for several years, working across a variety of countries and sectors supporting companies and organisations in pursuing excellence in their respective areas.
I believe we all have many achievements, which we are proud of for different reasons. Whilst most achievements are the result of good leadership I believe this leadership must be supported by a dedicated team who all work towards the same goals and are part of this shared achievement. In this regard, one of my proudest achievements was in 2011, when Thailand was devastated by severe flooding for several months, with large areas inundated by 2-3 meters of water. During this major crisis situation, I had the responsibility for an International university that was home to almost 5,000 students, faculty and staff from over 80 counties, which unfortunately was located in the flood area. My team and I prepared for the massive flooding, arrangements for the safe evacuation of all personnel, and temporary relocation of academic and housing facilities and subsequently also supported in the recovery and restoration of the university. The success of our joint undertaking was that everyone was evacuated safely, temporary accommodation arrangements were made, and the academic programme was able to continue (despite the University campus submerged in 2.5 meters in water) with the original student graduation only delayed by 4 months. So this was one of my proudest achievements, which I credit to excellent teamwork, and working towards a shared vision.
What skill set/experience do you feel you bring to the team?
Education has always been close to my heart, as evidenced from the 18 years of my career spent in this sector. I have worked both in the UK and Thailand therefore I have an appreciation of the various educational systems and supporting cultures in both great countries. In addition, having lead and managed the non-academic services provided in schools and universities including those of a very multicultural environment, just like Brighton College Bangkok, I have a deep understanding and appreciation for diversity and internationalism. The above coupled with my earlier experience in the management consultancy business, across a variety of countries and sectors, will allow me to bring a range of international best practices and innovations to my role at Brighton College Bangkok. I am eagerly looking forward to being a part of the senior management team, and feel confident that together we can ensure that pupils attending Brighton will have the best possible education with all of the supporting structures in place.
What are your priorities between now and when the school opens?
Brighton College Bangkok will be the home of a beautiful, newly built, ‘state of the art’ College so one of my key priorities is to support the completion to ensure that all facilities are available on the first day of the school opening in September 2016. I am eager to meet with the teachers, support staff and prospective parents. It will be a very exciting period leading up to the opening of the school, and I am very much looking forward to this new opportunity in my career.