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Bui Vinh Thang

MSc in Supply Chain Management, University College Dublin

Thang was working at Vietnam Airlines when he applied for a 2015-2016 Irish Aid IDEAS Fellowship. The award allowed him to pursue an MSc in Supply Chain Management at UCD.

Before I came to Ireland, I was an executive in the Supply Chain Department of Vietnam Airlines.

After a few years working, I decided that I need to study more so I tried to find an international course. The UCD MSc in Supply Chain Management course seemed very attractive to me based on the professional course profile, the modules and the profile of the school is really good.

The skills and knowledge I am getting from the course are many and the first thing is how to work in an international environment. The other thing is that I am getting to know more about the researching style here in a Western country and especially in Ireland. Back in Vietnam I did not get a chance to do much research so that will benefit me a lot in my future career.

Back in Vietnam, there are mostly no schools to teach supply chain management so when I came here, I got a lot of new knowledge, valuable knowledge from professors on the course. I firmly believe that it will help me a lot to improve myself in my career in the future.

When I get back to Vietnam, I hope to continue my career in supply chain management and work for a Vietnamese company or a multinational company there. Vietnam has just signed a free trade agreement with Europe, with the EU. The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is going to be signed. The ASEAN Economic Community has been enacted in December 2015, so it is like a whole era for Vietnam and for the economy. We have a lot of opportunity for Vietnam and of course, there are some people who know how to manage supply chains and I think that I can benefit myself from it and my country can benefit from it.

Adjusting to life in Ireland, first, we should talk about the ‘bad’ side of Ireland —the weather – it rains a lot! I kind of like the cold weather because it’s really hot in Vietnam. I just don’t like the rain. The other thing is that I never lived in any kind of dorm before so living with people together has been a new experience for me.

I’m doing a charity project here with Vietnamese Irish Network of Adoptive Families (VINAF) a support group for Irish families who adopted children from Vietnam. Through that we help the children get some experience from home, some culture from Vietnam. In the end, we get to know a lot more about how the Irish families are living, their culture. I benefit a lot from that.

What I think I will miss most about Ireland are the people. The people here are so nice. When I researched about Ireland before I came here, I knew that Ireland is a country with a very open culture, people are friendly but to be here and to live with you guys in Ireland is quite different.

I definitely think I will continue to have links with Ireland. There are many opportunities where Vietnam and Ireland can work together. For example, the food industry is one of the main industries Ireland is focused on. In Vietnam, the food industry is what we are lacking, for example for dairy products, we can only supply 30% of the demand in Vietnam. There are so many ways that Irish companies can enter the market in Vietnam. Our two countries have many things in common, we are both small countries, we want to open our economies more to the world and our economies are based on exports mainly. There are many things that we can learn together and we can work together to improve the relationship between both countries to benefit both countries in terms of economy.