Back to my home country of Vietnam! I’m from the city of Nam Dinh, I studied in Hanoi and I worked in Ho Chi Minh City. But now, with my trained MBA eye, I want to visit different parts of the country to see how much the country has been transforming. Fortunately, for business and pleasure, we’ve been able to travel to several places during our time here.
The not-much-changing part
Hanoi is my second home. Spending 7 years here and coming back frequently to visit, I cannot tell you enough how much I love the city. It is the capital of the country and it is the place I expect to see the fastest transformation. However, two years since I attended Thunderbird, the city seems to not have changed much.
I saw some new constructions, but not enough to give me a big “wow”. The first week of the TEM lab, the team experienced floods on the street twice. We frequently have to walk across the street when there are tons of vehicles passing by. These are some examples of NO changes.
When my teammates were discussing these things, it was hard for me to still keep smiling and join the conversations. These are the less developed sides of Vietnam. I did not want my friends to experience it but to show them how beautiful my country is. There was a time I felt sad because of this in our first week here.
Luckily I discussed about this with one of my American Vietnamese friends who is a T-bird alumnus: “I understand that most people in the world are very nationalistic – being very proud of your country – so that is why you want to show only the best parts. That is good and bad. I think you have to point out the bad so that it can be fixed.” – in his reply to my concern. I got it! Now I am very open to discuss about these things. They make my determination in making changes to my home country grow stronger than ever.
The fast-paced changing part
The second weekend in our TEM lab, we visited Ho Chi Minh City to meet some experts in the telecom industry. This was a big “wow” for me with a happy feeling inside when I stood in the 50th floor of the financial tower in HCMC and saw how developed HCMC had become. I lived here for more than one year and the city keeps amazing me every time I go back; there are many more tall buildings and huge constructions. With this fast pace, we can expect that in the next 10 years we will be seeing a completely different city. I am looking forward to the day HCMC becomes one of the Asian megacities in the near future.
The Hidden Charm
We flew to Nha Trang city after HCMC. Nha Trang is recognized as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world for its tropical climate, blue sea, white sand and beautiful sunlight. On the first weekend of the TEM lab, my teammates also made a trip to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bay features thousands of limestone isles in various sizes and shapes. They explored this gorgeous beauty by a boat going around the bay. They couldn’t stop raving about how beautiful it was and I was really proud of my country and glad that they got a chance to see this unique landscape. (I was in my hometown, which is two hours of driving from Hanoi. My team also joined me to my hometown last Sunday and we had a great time.)
There are countless beauty spots that nature has generously granted to Vietnam. There’s no doubt that tourism could be a key economic driver, perhaps the most important driver. The country has many unique offerings in terms of landscape, people, culture and food.
Emerging onto the global stage has not been an easy task. While some of the transformations have been successful, there is still room for improvement. The challenge for Vietnam will be striking a balance between preserving old-world charms while introducing more modern creature comforts. It is important for a country to adopt many common “best practices” of the developed world, but the trick is to not lose its identity in the process. I want to be part of this effort and I look forward to seeing my country get better everyday.