Vu Thanh Mai
MSc in Strategic Management and Planning, UCD
Mai received a 2012-13 Irish Aid IDEAS fellowship to study for the MSc in Strategic Management and Planning at University College Dublin.
I work for the government of Vietnam in the Ministry of Industry and Trade. My role is within the Vietnam Competition Agency, which is still a very young agency, as part of the International Co-operation Board. I mainly work with international projects and funders, developing proposals to enhance our capacity. Also, because of my translation and interpretation experience I also assist the Director.
After three years, I felt I needed more intensive training in the management and economic aspects of my role, something more strategic, which is why I applied for the Irish Aid fellowship to do the MSc in Strategic Management and Planning at UCD.
What I have studied so far relates to what I want to do in the future in terms of planning, decision-making and strategy. It has put me in a lot of groupwork and group meetings and I’ve learned to improve my own contribution and overall outcomes. Also, in the Decision Making Techniques subject, I’ve learnt to look at things in terms of steps and make sure there is a good process.
I like the grading system here, it’s totally different from Vietnam. I find the professors are very fair and what you contribute is expressed in your grade.
In Vietnam qualifications are very important, especially in the government system so I hope that when I go back my opinion will carry more weight . In the work I do in the future I will try and propose strategic plans, building on what I have studied here. If my ideas can have greater effect then I can make a change. In the long term, I would hope to be promoted.
When we are doing projects or research here I think there are fresh ideas that I can put into my daily job. The international working method is more practical - in Vietnam we are still very bureaucratic. I hope we can change the group setting and have everyone express themselves well and contribute what they have. Team work in Vietnam is very weak.
In the third semester of the course, there are different options. I could do more modules and an in-company project but instead I will challenge myself to do the thesis. It will be hard but it will be my brain-child.
When I return, I hope that in the next five years my agency can enforce competition law effectively and make it well-known. That is how we can improve the competition environment. And obviously we hope for sustainable, stable development for the whole economy.