After navigating through the cultural ambiguities of our morning meeting, the team was excited to meet with a familiar face to the Thunderbird community: Hang Thi Huynh of K-biz Consulting. Prior to our arrival, another TEM Lab team consulted with K-biz in Nha Trang for six weeks and was able to implement more efficient business tools and competencies, resulting in immediate success. As a result, Hang was thrilled to have another Thunderbird team on the ground. Having extensive experience consulting with the local tourism industry, we knew going into the project that she would be a great resource….and we were right.
Upon arriving to her simple, three-story white apartment-like office building, we were greeted with a warm smile and an incredibly welcoming attitude. From the second we walked in her office, it was evident she was proud of what she had accomplished and she was extremely happy to see students from Thunderbird. Directing us to the conference room on the third story, she immediately delivered a presentation about her business, including the things her company had accomplished and the local businesses it has been able to help since the company’s inception in 2005.
Hang’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion evoked similar feelings from previous interactions with business professionals in other developing countries like Brazil and the Czech Republic, spewing out passionate and emotional responses to the questions we had structured before our arrival. Unlike our first meeting, this meeting was filled with conversation stemming from both personal anecdotes about the country and region, focusing on both the positive and negative attributes. In a country where objective and negative thought processes as it pertains to government and political structure are not necessarily welcome, it was great to hear an honest opinion. Hang’s command on the English language certainly made the meeting easier to manage, however, it was interesting to note that whenever Shirley would speak to her in Vietnamese, we always seemed to get a more thoughtful response, maybe even a more honest viewpoint of the topic at hand.
After two hours of incredible dialogue intertwined with the incessant buzzing of the outside traffic and motor scooters, we accomplished what we had set out to do: gather as much information as possible about the province’s recent growth strategies and tourism marketing structure, and an understanding of how we should strategize in accomplishing our project goals.
After only one day in Nha Trang, our team felt like we had learned a lot from our interactions, both culturally and professionally.