2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Thee Rongkawilit, University of Washington (Foster)

Thee Rongkawilit

University of Washington, Foster School of Business

“My motto: ‘Sometimes too early, but never too late.’ Also applies to Zoom meetings.”

Fun fact about yourself: Whenever I get the chance, I help cook and operate my family-owned cat cafe in Bangkok. We currently care for twenty-three of our loving cats!

Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand

High School:

  • Ruamrudee International School
  • Shoreline Community College (High School Completion Program)

Major: Finance, Information Systems

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: Entrepreneurial Finance (FIN 457)

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • UW Business Case Competition 2022 | 1st Place Team
  • Global Sustainability Case Competition 2022 | 3rd Place Team
  • 3x UW Dean’s List Recipient
  • Graduated with Honors Recognition with Distinction (Shoreline Community College)
  • Peer adviser for the Foster Undergraduate Program
  • Club officer and presenter for music production UW student organization

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Business Impact Group | Core Consultant (Tech Event Pro)
  • Business Impact Group | Core Consultant (Onsight PT)
  • UW Consulting & Business Development Center| Marketing Consultant (The Future Care (UK) Ltd.)

Where will you be working after graduation? Currently open for employment!

Who is your favorite business professor? In her final quarter teaching Entrepreneurial Finance at Foster, Diane Legg showed how we can utilize finance to structure the growth and longevity of value-creating ideas. It was through her class that I found a simple joy in spreadsheet modeling and an excitement to derive solutions out of entrepreneurial challenges. Her last lecture truly stuck with me: the power to model a firm’s future comes with the responsibility to do it correctly.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? Business is all about rallying others to see the value in pursuing opportunities the same way you see them. Your storytelling, voice, and presentation matter.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Business is a learning process that you simply cannot accomplish alone. It necessitates partners, competitors, and a whole ecosystem of like-minded people who are driven, motivated, and ambitious. If not for the amazing people I have worked with or competed against, I would not have achieved such a rich experience working toward this major.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I would have applied to case competitions sooner! They are relatively low-barrier-of-entry experiences that push you to engage your problem-solving skills in a way not often captured through taking classes alone.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I was recently selected by the school’s Global Business Center to compete as a team internationally in RSM Star Case Competition 2023 in Rotterdam, Netherlands and I am beyond excited about it. It is so incredibly rewarding to see my growth from case competitions all last year build-up to this final opportunity for my last quarter at Foster.

Which classmate do you most admire? Andrea Hilgendorf. Many times, she has inspired me with her natural aptitude for leadership.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My mother, whose entrepreneurial spirit inspired me to pursue a business major from the very beginning.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • To be able to work in at least three different continents throughout my career
  • Joining a consulting firm!

What are your hobbies? I graduated from playing acoustic guitar after five years of self-teaching and saved enough money to buy my first electric guitar for the first time! I look forward to furthering my guitar playing and recording songs in the coming years. Other than guitar, I love cooking for friends and family.

What made Thee such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Thee “Birdy” Rongkawilit is a graduating senior who transferred to the Foster School in Winter 2022. Determined to connect quickly in the Foster School, he immediately sought out opportunities, gaining employment in the Undergraduate Programs Office as a Peer Adviser. Birdy strives to gain new skills and abilities, applying skills developed in Foster coursework enhance operations within our office, benefiting his fellow students as well as our staff. Whether that’s creating new programs to streamline check-in or building queries to better manage data, he will leave a lasting legacy for the undergraduate program. Beyond Birdy’s impressive accomplishments at work, he is also deeply involved in co-curricular activities that set him apart. Driven to apply his business knowledge, he has competed in numerous case competitions ranging from local to international, including final placements at the UW Business Case Competition (1st) and the Global Sustainability Case Competition (3rd). Birdy came to the Foster School with a drive to learn, grow and share.  He exemplifies our mission to Foster the Future as he takes his own attributes and what he has learned to better humanity through business.”

Vikki Haag Day
Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs


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