Category – Business Education
“Today, we go farther together” was the rallying point of this year’s Fall Business Team. And go farther they did, giving presentations in 15 universities and government institutions in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, expanding our Applied Management Competency Certificate (AMCC) program from one to two cohorts, and selecting 2018’s two J-1 business candidates from Hanoi University (HANU). But if we had to choose one word to describe this team’s experience, that word would be celebration!
How do you effectively communicate business principles to university students and seasoned business professionals? This April our REI business practitioner volunteers used a variety of approaches, including content-rich presentations, interactive case studies, and, particularly, the strategic use of spaghetti noodles and marshmallows.
Which is better? A variety of relevant presentations on current business practices, issues, and solutions, or a structured multi-year program which lays a solid foundation in Strategic Planning, Strategic Leadership, Ethics, Communication, and Financial Structure, Analysis and Reporting? REI’s answer: Yes. Both. Absolutely.
The Exchange in Resource Exchange International means just that: the act of giving something and receiving something in return. Much of REI’s service consists of sending teams of volunteer specialists to Vietnam and elsewhere, to share their expertise and learn a few things themselves. But we also bring Vietnamese to the USA for the same purpose. This past month we received two guests from Hanoi University (HANU) as part of our recently launched Applied Management Competency Certificate (AMCC) program, Professor Dzung (pronounced “Zoom”) and recent graduate Ms. My (pronounced “Mee”).
REI’s first Business Team visited Hanoi University (HANU) in 2004, presenting a variety of topics designed to help train young business students in the ways of success. We have generally followed that model ever since, in a number of universities. BUT... higher up and further in! We are not abandoning this model, but at HANU we are launching something new, something more!
How do you fit a size 12 foot into a size 9 shoe? Sometimes we here at REI have so much going on that we can’t quite communicate everything that has been happening! The work of our Business Education Teams (or Business Teams, if you prefer) is an example. It has been nearly a year since we wrote about this work, but since then we have had 2 teams of skilled and experienced business practitioners serve in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, in November 2015 and again in March 2016. Why did they come? To help build up the future business leaders of Vietnam.
Building a nation includes building its economy. As the economy grows, individuals, communities, and the country as a whole enjoy a higher quality of life. REI seeks to help train business students in sound business principles, that they might succeed in their own career paths, and in so doing help build their nation.
The Spring 2014 Business Team experience was a delightful mix of business training and life principles. Informal as well as formal times with students are moving the conversations to deeper levels.
Members of the Fall 2013 Business Team, led by Don Colebourn, were in Hanoi, Vietnam when a weakened Typhoon Haiyan was forecasted to hit the city. Miraculously, the storm veered off its predicted course and the team experienced only heavy rain. The storm did present a few challenges, but this “incredible business education team stayed positive and pursued excellence in each presentation in spite of scheduling disruptions,” according to REI-VN Director, Brian Teel. This team instituted a new format—changing the way the team interfaced with students, thereby better serving those in their classes at universities in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Dave and Brenda Trifon, from The Woodlands, TX, are united in their purpose to serve others in foreign countries and they live out their mission with joy and a sense of fun that is contagious. They recently joined our team of business professionals who visited Vietnam this spring. They were deeply touched by the welcome they experienced having expected a polite welcome -- at best. What they received was so much more.
Last month a team of international specialists met in Hanoi to present topics such as Human Resource Management, Investing, International Communications, Leadership, Project Management, Risk Assessment, Emotional Intelligence, and The Future of Oil in the coming decades. The Faculty of Management and Tourism at Hanoi University sponsored the “REI Business Education Week” and coordinated our speakers’ schedules between four universities and three MBA programs.
At the end of the week HANU along with other participating institutions showed their appreciation for the Business Education Team by hosting a closing ceremony. The celebration had double meaning because it was also a celebration of the 10th Year of HANU’s Management and Tourism Department. Talented student entertainers, fun games and tasty treats were part of the celebration. Each of the Business Education Team participants received a mug with the embossed words “WE LOVE REI.”
Excellent leadership is a combination of skill, knowledge, and character. Hoang Gia Thu has added much to his skill and knowledge base these past few years and graduated last May with his PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Portland State University. Now back in Hanoi, he is better positioned to achieve his goal of “helping to advance higher education in Vietnam and helping young people reach their full potential.”
Women in Leadership, one of three workshops led by business woman Gail Schowe, sparked interest and opened the hearts of participants as they discussed the joys and challenges of woman who lead. Gail addressed leadership models, leadership styles and "femininity meets leadership" in her Women in Leadership workshop.
Lien Tran, REI's Representative for Vietnam Relations, may be small in stature, but in every other way she is big for REI-Vietnam. Her head, hands and heart are all engaged to meet the needs of anyone who is in need of her help. This may be expressed by getting medicine for a visiting professional who is sick, taking a visiting professional to the best shop for buying embroidery pictures, visiting a sick family member of a Vietnamese friend, helping one of REI-Vietnam’s resident professional with visa issues, or waiting at Noibai airport to greet an arriving team member’s midnight arrival. When asked for help if it is within her power to do so, her answer is always “yes”.
In 2004, international leadership consultant Tom Knighton received an invitation he just couldn’t refuse: come to Vietnam and join longtime REI partner Bob Wattles to launch a new Business Education initiative at Hanoi University. Last month Tom’s commitment brought him back for his 8th consecutive yearly trip even though his schedule allowed only 78 hours in Hanoi. Why does he do it? Tom sees this “Business Week Program” in Hanoi as one of the most strategic investments he can make with his time. Developing the next generation of business leaders is what motivates him.
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