Thursday, 22 June 2017 00:36

    Vietnam gets to grips with its business schools

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    Nguyen Thuy Tinh Ca says that when you have spent three years at a Vietnamese university you will know what boredom is. “It was a struggle not to fall asleep in class,” says the young woman who is now fizzing with entrepreneurial energy.

    “Traditional teaching is 90 per cent theory and badly done. How far can you go with that dead learning,” she adds.

    Ms Nguyen launched herself as a brand manager with L’Oréal, then Rémy Cointreau, and is now marketing manager for Porsche, after graduating from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s Ho Chi Minh City campus six years ago. The institution is the Asian hub of Melbourne-based RMIT, which is Australia’s biggest tertiary institution. It is also perhaps the nearest thing Vietnam has to an international-standard business school. Ms Nguyen is now studying for her second degree at RMIT having embarked on a masters in project management.

     

    “Vietnam is catching up amazingly fast. Vietnamese people are obsessed with quality now. That is why so many think about studying abroad – they don’t trust the quality of education here,” Ms Nguyen says. She recalls entering with nervous delight what was billed as the first 100 per cent foreign-owned university in Asia.

    “My first reaction was ‘Wow! A branded university inside Vietnam.’ The workload was a shock ... [but] it also taught me the vital management trick of being able to multitask.”

    RMIT’s adventure, into a country where only a generation ago Australian ground troops fought alongside American “imperialists”, shows how a focused project can help transform the pedagogic playing field in a developing country, says Michael Mann, education consultant, former Australian ambassador to Vietnam and a former president of RMIT Vietnam.

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