By: Min Shi (On-Campus Executive MBA program)
Today, we visited IBM Vietnam. The office in IBM Vietnam was very nice and the speech was great. The country leader for IBM was Do Thi Huong Tra, a very impressive lady who shared her experience with us. It was yet another example of women in leadership in Vietnam which we found a bit surprising. After meeting with IBM, we came back to the hotel to have lunch and a panel discussion. The panel discussion included the General Manager of ITV Vietnam – an online news video content site. A partner at Ernst & Young who was named Ernest Yoong, that’s not a joke. The third member of the panel was a French Expat who owned his own fairly large consulting business. We learned a lot from this impressive group. The meeting was over by 3:30pm.
A small group of us decided to go to the Independence Palace (also known as Reunification Palace) in Ho Chi Minh City. The Independence Palace was a worthwhile activity. We only paid 30,000 Vietnamese dung (approximately $1.43 spot rate) for each ticket. We watched a documentary in the Palace to learn about the history. We had visited all floors including the basement. The palace was beautiful and filed with histories. At about 4:30pm during the visit, the officers in the Palace started to close down the facility by locking the doors up.
After the Independence Palace, we still had some time left for our farewell dinner. We had decided to go to Ben Thanh Market to shop for some souvenirs. The shopping experience in there was interesting. We would always have to bargain for the asking price. We usually started bargaining with at least 70% off the asking price. Some vendors were more willing to negotiate; some vendors did not want to counter offer back. The shopping experience was interesting until my classmate thought she heard someone saying that I was Chinese and something negative. We left and it was the only time I felt uncomfortable being Chinese in Vietnam.