A few Saturday mornings ago, I spent a couple of hours in a conference room at the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi speaking to a group of MBA students from the University of Houston (UH). Most had just arrived for a nine-day study tour (7-15 July) that would take them to Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and Ho Chi Minh City. According to the UH website,
This trip is designed to give students an opportunity to learn about business practices “on the ground” by immersing students in local culture, learning from on-site visits with local and foreign companies, briefing with U.S. Embassy officials, interact with seasoned scholars, and meet with UH alumni who are working in Vietnam as professors, global managers, and social entrepreneurs.
Needless to say, all of them were keenly interested in Vietnam; some even plan to do business here in the future.
It was a pleasure sharing some of my personal and professional experiences gained during nearly six years of living in Vietnam and working first for a non-profit organization and later a private sector company. By way of introduction, I began with a short PPT entitled On the Outside Looking In: A US American in Vietnam. During the presentation and discussion that followed, I touched on a wide range of topics, including how Vietnamese view foreigners, Vietnamese and foreigners working together, some recent and notable changes in Vietnamese society, and some of my company’s main activities.
The group was accompanied by Dr. Long S. Le, Faculty Coordinator, and instructor of Emerging Markets in Southeast Asia and Dr. Roger Blakeney, instructor of Managing in Vietnam.