Who has been the funniest team member?
Sean: Mai has definitely been the funniest member for me. She is such a bubbly, silly person; the perfect hostess for our stay here in Nam. Especially funny is the way she cracks up every time I use my favorite Vietnamese word that she taught me: Im!!!!
Rodrigo: Riley, aka. the “Zinger”. While she is also the most serious team member, she has her “funny” moments when she has just the right thing to say at just the right time. Most of the time she “zings” someone. So far I have kept myself out of her sights. In all honesty, I have spent my last two weeks watching out for every word that comes out of my mouth. I wonder if the rest of the team thinks she is funny, too, since she has zinged everyone else.
Mai: Sean. He tells funny stories all the time. He often makes a funny face too!
Lauren: Rodrigo. Even though he is our buff manly team member from Mexico, he can’t make it through a car ride in Hanoi without freaking out about the traffic and possibility of getting in an accident. Funny every time.
Riley: We all seem to have our days….
What do you wish you had brought from home but forgot?
Mai: My dad’s Point ‘n Shoot camera. My camera is a little big and I think I am aging so I cannot always carry it with me. A PnS camera could help me take pictures all the time.
Riley: Raid. I’ve had some unfortunate run-ins with very large, tropical-sized cockroaches invading my personal space.
Rodrigo: A mini-Starbucks. Coffee in Vietnam is great but 2 sips and is gone.
Sean: I wish I had brought more dress shirts with me because my plan of buying tailored suits and shirts in my first few days here did not go quite as planned. Now I feel like I’m wearing the same shirts every other day!! At least the hotel does my laundry for me so I’m staying clean ☺
Lauren: Chocolate. Obviously. But also my rain boots, a poncho and an arc to help me survive the weekly torrential flooding. :)
Who is going to be the first teammate to fall in love with a Vietnamese person?
Sean: Well… it’s a good question. I don’t know if she is going to fall in love with a Vietnamese person per say, but I’m pretty sure Lauren already has a boyfriend in Vietnam!
Riley: If we can get Sean on a plane back to America to help us make our final presentation, it will be a miracle.
Mai: Lauren. She borrowed my helmet to go out today. Who could she go out with that can ride a motorbike in Vietnam? I should ask her tomorrow. Hmmm.
Lauren: It is less of a question of ‘who is the first to fall in love with a Vietnamese person’… and more of ‘who is Sean in love with this week?’ Not only has Sean literally said “I think I fell in love tonight” multiple times… but the feeling is mutual as he has been embraced by all people in Vietnam, both male and female. I’ll leave it at that.
Rodrigo: Not sure about the first of our team to fall in love, but Mai is definitely the heart breaker of the team. During a meeting in Nha Trang the person who we were talking to could barely speak to Mai because he was so nervous and giggling the whole time.
Which class has been the most useful during your time in Vietnam?
Sean: Well obviously the Consulting Practicum has been the most relevant day in and day out but we have also used several tools and exercises we learned in the Managing Projects class with Prof. Youngdahl.
Rodrigo: Life at Thunderbird has been most useful to me during this assignment. It showed me to quickly adapt my actions, voice tones, and communications technique to get my message across.
Riley: The consulting practicum prepared me the most for the challenges we would face here. Getting through the discovery phase of consulting has taken up a lot of our time and led us to a major inflection point in our project in which we had to really focus on how to be “authentic consultants.” Additionally, Professor Finney’s war stories helped to ready us for some of the interesting dynamics of a formerly state-owned enterprise!
Lauren: Drs. Siehl and Bowen’s class, Leading Change and Transformation. Even though we are focused on strategy, knowing what to look for in terms of resistance, urgency, and change readiness has helped us identify some issues present under the surface at the company.
Mai: In terms of knowledge, I cannot tell which one is the most helpful. In term of cross-cultural communication in a multicultural consulting team, I learned a lot from my team projects in Business Intelligence and Brand Management classes. “Pre-training” before going onto the filed was also very helpful for me.
What has been your strangest encounter thus far?
Mai: In my interview to renew my US visa, my interviewer was American. The conversation was me talking to him in English and him talking to me in Vietnamese. I tried my best but hardly understood a thing he was saying. Fortunately he let me pass the interview. Phewww!!
Riley: A team pact prevents full disclosure and all videos that were recorded, but it involved a Sunday afternoon, no alcohol, a karaoke machine and a very intimate setting of only the 5 of us. Strange is an understatement.
Rodrigo: Riley, Sean, and I went to eat some Doner Kabobs two blocks away from our hotel. We sat outside the store when a couple, a Thai woman and an Australian man, randomly asked us our opinion about a camper that attaches to motorbikes. Before we could answer somehow they connected that idea to eating rats. Of course the three off us gave a firm “NO!” and then they tried to convince us that the rat they eat was a different type of rat, a “clean” rat. People…I don’t care if a rat is washed, pasteurized, and autoclaved I will never eat one.
Lauren: Riley and I decided to get pedicures at a little salon in Ho Chi Minh City. Everything was fairly normal: we were entertained by a naked dancing kid, questioned about our age, and I was asked if Rodrigo was my husband; you know, the usual. What was unusual was as we were thanking them and walking out, I received several pats followed by a long, slightly aggressive, two handed bum-squeeze by the 30 year old Vietnamese lady who painted my toes. Totally normal.
Sean: Honestly, and sorry Mai, but I would say my most awkward moment came this past weekend when we visited Mai’s family in her province of Nam Dinh. Everybody was really excited to see us and we had a great time, buuuttttt towards the end of the trip, after about 4 ‘cheers’ with her uncle he started to get reallllly friendly. Next thing you know it was like I was escorting my prom date to the dance as he locked unto my arm and led as we walked side by side towards the front of the fountain to take a picture. It was all in good fun of course, but hey you never know what they are putting in the brandy out here!