Celebrating International Education Week with International Alumnus - Ketekun Phanith

Nov. 18, 2022


Ketekun Phanith is an alumnus of the University of Arizona dual degree program with the American University of Phnom Penh (AUPP). The program provides students the opportunity to earn dual degrees simultaneously from AUPP and Arizona. Ketekun graduated in 2020 with a BS in Business from AUPP and a BSBA from the University of Arizona Eller College of Management.

In the dual degree program framework, academic programs are delivered in collaboration with AUPP and are co-taught by Arizona and AUPP professors. While most classes are taken at the partner university campus in the student’s home country, dual degree programs also include opportunities for studying abroad for a semester or more on the Arizona campus in Tucson.

Upon completing the dual degree program, many students move immediately into the workforce. Some students choose to remain in Tucson to pursue graduate degrees at the University of Arizona, and some students choose to pursue advanced degrees elsewhere.

Upon completion of his undergraduate Business program, Ketekun decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Economics at the University of Nottingham. He was the recipient of the prestigious Chevening scholarship which is awarded to students with the potential to inspire and influence positive change.

Ketekun first applied for the Chevening scholarship in 2020 but was not selected by the committee. Looking back at his experience, he said “Despite not being selected, I chose not to give up on my dream.”  He decided to work harder and further build on his application. 

“Throughout the process, I improved my essays and sought recommendations from my previous employers. My networking activities also included asking Chevening alumni for informational interviews and seeking assistance from them.”  

Why did you choose the UK for your post-secondary education?

It has been my dream to study in the UK. After studying the American curriculum during the dual degree program, I felt confident in my ability to adapt to the British education system. During the business administration dual degree, I gained the skills and knowledge to challenge myself and that helped me take this leap of faith. Moreover, I was thrilled by the University of Nottingham’s curriculum and its renowned faculty.

Tell us about your Chevening scholarship journey.

As I said, it was my dream to study in the UK and the Chevening scholarship was a great resource to help me achieve that dream. Throughout my undergraduate studies, I consistently worked on getting good grades while maintaining extracurricular volunteer activities. I applied for the Chevening scholarship in 2020. Back then I was not selected. I worked on my application for a year and applied again in 2021. Throughout the process, I improved my essays and sought recommendations from my previous employers. My networking activities also included asking Chevening alumni for informational interviews and seeking assistance from them. All in all, my hard work, perseverance, and dedication have successfully borne their fruits after almost six years of dreaming about it.

How did the AUPP/ UA dual degree program help you prepare for this major step in your academic career?

The AUPP/UA dual degree intensive program significantly helped my academic readiness to take on a challenging postgraduate degree. As the UA courses for the dual degree program only lasted for seven weeks each, I managed to efficiently and effectively work my way to perform well in all the assignments while providing guidance to any of my peers who were struggling with the curriculum. This process has transformed me into a student keen on getting out of my academic comfort zone to push my competency to another level. Moreover, most UA assignments focused on the practical application of concepts which allowed me to learn beyond textbook theories.


Ketekun also played a key role in building the UA Phnom Penh alumni chapter. He states that their mission is to bridge the gap between the university, current students, and alumni while facilitating community-building and networking opportunities. In June 2022, he concluded his term as a founding board member. He now serves as an external advisor to the community.


Learn more about the University of Arizona’s dual degree programs.


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