You Don’t Have to Study Business to Do Business

book-45Forbes Vietnam published an article by me with the above title in its February 2017 (#45) issue.  An expanded English version, which focuses more on the value and advantages of a liberal arts education and includes more examples, will be published this spring.  Here’s a brief introduction:

Viet Nam currently ranks 6th among all countries sending students to the United States – with over 30,000 at all levels, mostly in higher education.  According to the 2016 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, 29.3% of all Vietnamese undergraduates in the US were studying business/management.  This was the second highest percentage of any sending country – after Indonesia.  (The popularity of business is not limited to these two countries.  Almost one in five bachelor’s degrees earned in the US is in business, per the US Department of Education.) 

maa-forbes-2-17-issue-45Why are so many young Vietnamese studying business in the US, among other countries?  Because parents – as the key decision-makers – have bought into the seemingly logical notion that their children have to major in business in order to work in the private sector.  In other words, they believe that their sons and daughters have to study business in order to do business.  This is in part because most Vietnamese are not yet familiar with the concept of a liberal arts education and its many benefits, both intrinsic and tangible.

Viet Nam has consistently ranked #1 in recent years in the percentage of its students who choose business/management as an undergraduate major.  (It was displaced in the 2015/16 academic year by Indonesia.  Still, nearly a third of all Vietnamese undergraduates are studying business.)  Meanwhile, there are many young Vietnamese who were liberal arts majors, and are now pursuing successful careers in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors in Viet Nam and elsewhere.

MAA

Riding the Wave: An Update on Student Recruitment in Vietnam

Below is an announcement about an unofficial pre-NAFSA 2017 annual conference seminar that I’ll be leading in Los Angeles. 

MAA


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Riding the Wave: An Update on Student Recruitment in Vietnam

A Pre-NAFSA Annual Conference Seminar

Co-Sponsored by Cal State, Long Beach, Cal State, Los Angeles, & Study in the USA

Date:  Monday, May 29, 2017                                                      Time: 10 a.m.- 12 noon

Seminar Leader:  Dr. Mark Ashwill, Managing Director, Capstone Vietnam

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Content:  A comprehensive overview of current market conditions, recruitment tools and techniques and different types of recruitment strategies.

Location:  California State University, Los Angeles, Downtown Center (Address will be provided to participants.)  Refreshments will be served.

Free of charge

Follow this link for online registration

Eligibility:  Only regionally accredited institutions may participate, in accordance with Capstone’s policy.

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US Mission Viet Nam Response to Open Letter to Vietnamese Parents & Students

Below is a response I received from Molly Stephenson, Counselor for Public Affairs, US Embassy, and Matthew Wall, Public Affairs Officer, US Consulate General, in response to an “open letter” I wrote last December to Vietnamese parents and students who may be concerned about the outcome of the US presidential election.  Reprinted with permission.

This takes on added importance in light of Trump’s immigration ban that targets seven (7) predominantly Muslim countries.  My article was written for Vietnamese parents and students with an interest in study in the USA but my sentiments apply to all current and prospective US-bound international students.

Follow this link to read the English and Vietnamese versions, published by University World News and Hotcourses Vietnam, respectively.

MAA


Dear Dr. Ashwill,

The U.S. Ambassador and the U.S. Consul General asked us to respond on their behalf.

We appreciate your efforts to reassure Vietnamese families that the doors to U.S. higher education remain wide open.  This is an important message, and your post compliments and amplifies U.S. Mission Vietnam’s messaging on this topic.  We also note that the specific themes you raise in your University World News posting echo the views of the many American university leaders who have met with us since our presidential election.

We sincerely hope that the Open Doors data from Vietnam continues to climb.  We agree, as you state, that U.S. higher education institutions “strive to create and maintain an inclusive, nurturing and diverse environment in which international and U.S. students can learn, work and play together with lasting mutual benefits.”

Thanks again for your contribution to deepening people-to-people ties between Vietnam and the United States — one student at a time.

Molly L. Stephenson
Counselor for Public Affairs
U.S. Embassy Hanoi

and

Matthew E. Wall
Public Affairs Officer
U.S. Consulate General, Ho Chi Minh City

Five Emerging Markets for US-Bound Students, Including Viet Nam

Diversification is the name of the game in sustainable recruitment strategies.  These markets have impressive mobility potential for years to come.  (ICEF Insights, p. 18)

The fall 2016 issue of ICEF Insights, a magazine for international education professionals, identified five emerging markets, including Viet Nam, Colombia, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Iran.

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A glance at the 11/16 SEVIS quarterly update reveals the following real-time enrollments at all levels, but mostly higher education, in these countries.  In descending order they are:

  • Viet Nam:  30,180 (6th)
  • Iran:  12,427 (11th)
  • Nigeria:  14,495 (14th)
  • Indonesia:  8,873 (19th)
  • Colombia:  10,498 (23rd)

The rankings are from Open Doors 2016, i.e., from fall 2015 and higher education only.

MAA

US Community Colleges Made a Comeback Among Vietnamese Students in 2015/16!

2plus2Last academic year, there was a spike in Vietnamese enrollment in US community colleges (CC) over the previous year.  According to Open Doors 2016, Viet Nam ranked 2nd – after China – with 9.6% of total enrollment in a community college.

This means that 9,156 Vietnamese students began their US higher education at a two-year school with the goal of transferring to a four-year institution to complete their Bachelor’s degree.  Since the undergraduate enrollment was 14,383, approximately 64% of all Vietnamese undergraduates in the US were community college students.

Before my CC colleagues get too excited, keep in mind that these Open Doors 2016 data are from fall 2015, i.e., already a year old.  The percentages of Vietnamese students who begin their studies at a four-year institution or a community college are almost even, based on the latest 11/16 SEVIS quarterly update.  (CC enrollment is 29.3% vs. 31% for four-year schools.)  This has been the trend, with occasional deviations, since 2009/10.

That was a time when 90% (!) of all Vietnamese undergraduates were enrolled in a CC with most following a 2+2 path.  In 2005, CCs were virtually unknown in Viet Nam.  THAT’S the power of the media and word-of-mouth marketing.  (I wrote an article for the spring 2016 CCID e-newsletter entitled Community College vs. Four-Year Enrollment Trends in Vietnam:  From Steady Decline to Sudden Rebound in which I summarized these trends.  This is a PDF download.  Scroll down to p. 11 to read the article.)

The bottom line is that Vietnamese CC enrollment remains strong for the usual reasons:  cost and convenience (2+2 model), plus the popular high school completion program in Washington state.  (The latter is the academic equivalent of killing two academic birds with one stone.)  Quite a few of these Vietnamese students are in the top three host states of CA, TX, and WA.

MAA

“Welcome to the US, Vietnamese students”

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This is the title of a recent VNExpress International article for which I was interviewed.  Here is one of the key quotes: 

“Study in the U.S. is not for everyone, but if the U.S. is where you want to study, don’t let the result of a presidential election dissuade you from realizing your dream,” said Ashwill, managing director of Capstone Vietnam, a full-service educational consulting company with offices in Hanoi and HCMC.  

It contains a lot of good information about young Vietnamese studying in the US, including some facts and figures from a recent blog post Viet Nam Ranks 6th Among Countries Sending Students to the US

Follow this link to read the article in its entirety. 

MAA

An Open Letter to Vietnamese Parents & Students Interested in Study in the USA

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This is an article I wrote for Vietnamese parents and students who are concerned about the possible impact of the US presidential election on international students, including those from Viet Nam.  There are a lot of bases to cover, and I hope I covered most of them.

My essay is a heartfelt way to reassure worried students and parents using a mass circulation medium.  Since perception can trump reality, I feel an obligation, as an international educator who promotes legitimate (read regionally accredited) US higher education, to address people’s concerns.  Think of this open letter as truthful PR, a way to jam the transmission of rumormongers, and a reality check for those who lack reliable information.

While most of you are well aware of the effect of this election on international students in the US and around the world, real and imagined, there are some colleagues who seemed to have their heads buried in the sand, at least in the days leading up to the election and shortly thereafter.  Whether you want to believe it or not, for whatever reason(s), I can assure you that this concern, at least in Viet Nam, is palpable, and something we should all take seriously.

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Follow these links to read (and share) the article in English and Vietnamese.  The latter version received over 10,000 views within a day of its publication and posting on Facebook, which gives you an idea of how hot this topic is.

MAA