Known for more than 300 years as Saigon, it was re-named in 1976 to Ho Chi Minh City in commemoration of the famed leader of the Viet Minh independence movement following the establishment of the communist Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
Still widely referred to by its former name Saigon, Ho Chi Minh was chosen by the Telfer Executive MBA’s Class of 2018 one year ago as the destination for its final engagement of the Signature Series of Six Business Consulting projects - the International Business Consulting Project. The process that led us to select Ho Chi Minh City mirrors the rigorous assessment that an organization would take when evaluating potential international markets.
The physical location of Vietnam is central to the growing ASEAN market with Ho Chi Minh as a gateway to other markets in the region. Vietnam’s economic growth is one of the fastest in the world, enjoying a steady growth at about 5% to 7% each year for the past seven years. It is one of the fastest growing economies in the world as it reaps the benefits of the slowing economy in China and the lower cost of operations. The Vietnamese government is also actively encouraging foreign direct investment and has consciously put regulations in place to protect investors.
Ho Chi Minh is the business capital and the largest city in Vietnam. The city provides compelling opportunities for Canadian investment and is buzzing with an enterprising mentality because more than 70% of the overall population is under 30 years of age.
Research and preliminary efforts on the International consulting engagements with six Canadian organizations were validated and further strengthened in November 2017 by Prime Minister Trudeau when his first stop in his Asia-Pacific trip to strengthen ties within the ASEAN region was Vietnam.
The Week In-Country
The Telfer Executive MBA teams have been working with the Canadian organizations since October 2017 to take advantage of the opportunities offered Vietnam and for market entry into the ASEAN market.
The international business consulting project has been the culmination of learnings from the rigorous curriculum and team-work over the past 21 months. Through our acquired skills and knowledge we are positioned to deliver long-lasting and growth opportunities for our clients’ businesses.
Our client consulting engagement concludes this week in Ho Chi Minh. The in-country meetings with information gathering and validation will be a vital point in concretizing our work for our clients. One of the most surprising things we have found in process of conducting secondary research has been the scarcity and integrity of information about many developing countries online. This was unexpected and this is an important week in-country to validate findings. We set up a series of meetings in Ho Chi Minh by leveraging existing relationships and by forging new opportunities. These meetings would enable our client to solidify contacts within the market and to share information on how the organization’s product could benefit local organizations. It has been an exciting experience to date given the synergy of bringing value to the client, a global learning and growth opportunity for ourselves as Executive MBA candidates.
As candidates in the Telfer Executive MBA program we look forward to the business cultural immersion that exists in Ho Chi Minh. We are also leveraging the learnings beyond our classroom to learning in the global market and adapting to a different business culture. We will experience first-hand how to conduct business in Vietnam, dissecting how the rhythm of daily life is similar or different from that in Canada and how culture plays a role in the business strategy of Vietnamese companies..
We are filled with great expectations and excitements as we depart for Ho Chi Minh City. We are actively bringing Canadian opportunities to Vietnam, a market is growing very rapidly. We are excited to meet the Vietnamese stakeholders in person and to directly experience what we learned in Canada. Vietnam promises to be an exciting business learning that we would always treasure and one that we hope would propel our careers to new heights!