The MBA Hub
I was 1 of 17 MBA students to venture out to Asia for a two-week international education trip this summer.
Our adventure began in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (HCMC). Formally known as Saigon, HCMC is a bustling city full of street vendors, shops, and history. The city was renamed after Ho Chi Minh, who was an outspoken advocate for Vietnamese independence and is revered as a symbol of Vietnam's struggle for unification.
During our visit, we learned about the city's history, and were immersed in the country's supply chain management (SCM) culture and development.
Vietnam is being increasingly sought after by multinational corporations for manufacturing due to the rising costs of labor in China. We visited various companies, including UPS, Philips Lighting, and Coca-Cola, to learn how their SCM operates, is being developed, and the future of SCM in Vietnam.
Here are some interesting things I learned and experienced while in Vietnam:
If you're a coffee drinker, iced Vietnamese coffee may be one of the best things to happen to you. I must have had at least 3 of these each day.
Vietnam is hot, humid, and the air quality is poor. From my personal experience, I don't suggest running outdoors — your lungs won't thank you. But many hotels have a gym!
Another observation: wedding photos are the big thing and brides may have multiple dresses. For the men — you can have a custom made, high-quality suit made in 5 days for about $150 USD. Women - you can get custom made dresses, skirts, and blouses as well.
The Vietnam War Remnants Museum is a must-see.
The Mekong Delta plays an important role in the Vietnamese economy. Full of rich soil, the Delta is ideal for cultivating rice, and provides a transport system between Mekong Delta nations such as Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. The Delta also supports the livelihoods of millions of Vietnamese people.
Throughout our visit, I was impressed by the significant French influence on architecture... and baked goods!
I'm so thankful I was able to go on this trip — especially since it was the first opportunity for Portland State MBA students to visit Vietnam on an international education excursion. The trip offered a good mix of business learnings with cultural immersion that will benefit us all in our future professional careers, especially those who conduct business in Asia.