Assoc.Prof.PhD. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh: reputation of a training program

Assoc.Prof.PhD. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh - Vice Rector of UEB
Learning environment of international standard, graduates having sufficient knowledge, skills and qualifications to work in leading corporations, multinational companies, potentially to become businessmen or business administration experts are “targets” of strategic mission program in Business Administration (BA). Regarding this topic, we had a talk with Assoc.Prof.PhD. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh - Vice Rector of VNU University of Economics and Business.

- It is learnt that the UEB is implementing strategic mission training program in BA. What are objectives of this program?
Assoc.Prof.PhD. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh: The BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) training program of international standard under strategic mission scheme of the UEB named “Scheme of establishing and developing BA major to reach international level” was implemented in 2008 and has been producing good results. General objectives of the scheme are to: implement the establishment and development of BA program at the UEB to reach international level; facilitate the development of BA faculty and UEB to attain regional and international standard; contribute to renovate basically and comprehensively quality of training and research of VNU in particular and Vietnam’s university education; quickly and satisfactorily meet socio-economic development demands through business administration contributions. Specific objectives include: capacity-building for lecturers and managers; improving quality of science and technology activities; modernizing programs, curricula, teaching methodology, monitoring and evaluation, facilities for training and scientific research; enhancing domestic and international cooperation efficiency; providing high-quality human resources; documentation of component scheme implementation documents; building complete database of component schemes in line with VNU standard.
Among those, training objectives of the program are to train bachelors of international level in business administration field, who are able to do business, analyze, evaluate, research and lecture in business administration in domestic and foreign companies, multinational corporations, university education organizations, research institutes... these bachelors will be able to continue higher education, gather experience to become businessmen, managers and senior experts in business administration.
- In your opinion, what are UEB’s strengths and advantages when delivering this training program?
Assoc.Prof.PhD. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh: Firstly, in implementing this task, the UEB is supported by VNU in terms of facilities and materials, technology, international cooperation and finance to improve professional skills and foreign language for participants to the program. VNU university members also help us positively in teaching English and other fundamental science subjects.
We have a panel of knowledgeable permanent lecturers of 54 doctors, among which there are 13 associate professors. Most lecturers graduate from prestigious universities in the world and are able to give technical lectures in English. Besides, we receive effective collaboration and support from foreign professors, lecturers in BA.
On the other hand, UEB’s cooperation with many companies, corporations is another advantage for our training process. This will facilitate students to experience reality and increases job opportunities when they graduate.
- How about the difficulties?
Assoc.Prof.PhD. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh: Due to budget limitations, number of foreign lecturers invited to participate in this program is still limited. After the first year focusing on English skills, most students get minimum 5.5 IELTS score but studying technically in English is still difficult for students and lecturers. Moreover, most of program’s majors scheduled for the last 3 years require intensive efforts of students to meet the requirements.
- Learning program to train those students must be very special, is it true?
Assoc.Prof.PhD. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh: This BBA training framework of international standard is designed and advised by professors of Haas School of Business, California University, Berkeley (USA) based on reference to that of California University, Berkeley.
Materials used in the program is often updated, using mostly materials of the training program of Haas School of Business, California University, Berkeley (USA). Most subjects are taught in English, in modern methodology by knowledgeable lecturers trained in prestigious international universities.
In the first year, students have intensified English courses so that their English skill level equal to 5.5 IELTS score, meeting requirements of studying in English in the subsequent years. Furthermore, students need to have their graduation theses written in English.
- What are UEB’s solutions to connect studying program with reality?
Assoc.Prof.PhD. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh: From the second year, students will be sent to probation once a year in companies to improve their practical working experience and capability to apply learnt knowledge into business reality. In each course, students of this program have chance to visit foreign enterprises one time. Through probation periods and visits to domestic and foreign enterprises, BBAs of international standard initially understand business reality in companies, get familiar with international business environment and have clearer views on their career path.
- Besides English courses, how are scientific research activities of students?
Assoc.Prof.PhD. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh: Students are consulted by Program Manager to register and arrange learning schedule, participate in scientific research activities, seminars and exchanges with local and international scientists and businessmen. Furthermore, students have opportunities to receive scholarship from local and foreign organizations and individuals.
- Graduates though having good knowledge and update on international context but having no life skills will encounter obstacles for their career, especially in business administration major. What is your opinion of the issue?
Assoc.Prof.PhD. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh: Students of this program have chance to participate in extracurricular activities organized regularly and soft skill training courses to cultivate and develop working skills, personalities and social skills.
During the program, students will be equipped with necessary skills for studying and occupation, including soft skills. Training contents designed reasonably will help students work independently, inquire and explore by themselves, follow plans and scientific ways. Students will be able to manage time, arrange their own works, work in groups and provided with management and leadership skills. Students will be able to use what they have acquired to analyze, evaluate and consolidate a specific research matter in business administration.
Soft skills will also help students to attain good communication skills such as presentation, business negotiation, telephone and electronic mail communication, fluent communication in English with equal level of IELTS 6.0 score and above.
- What are advantages of graduates of BA program of international standard compared to students of the same major trained in other training units in the country?
Assoc.Prof.PhD. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh: Student admission requires high standard. The curriculum and materials are similar to those of overseas universities in Top 10 of BA major. Students get intensive English courses in the first year to get at least 5.5 IELTS score. Most subjects are taught in English by highly professional domestic and foreign lecturers with methods used in advanced universities in the world. Students are facilitated to be bound apprentice and visit local and overseas companies.
- Do you have any assessment of initial results?
Assoc.Prof.PhD. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh: The program has been running for more than 3 years and gained quite positive results, such as entrance scores of 4 intakes from 2008 to 2011 were from 21 to 24 marks for both A and D1 major, ranked top 3 in economics and business universities in Vietnam. After the first intensive English training, 95% of students have their English level equally to 5.5 IELTS score and above. Professional results are also fairly high, 100% students get grades of “Good” and “Excellent”. In addition, students had chance to visit local and overseas corporations, taking part in outdoor activities, clubs and have initially shown that students have good qualifications and proficient English skills, activeness and self-confidence. Other matters such as facilities, materials, and staff capabilities in teaching, researching and  managing have also been gradually improved.
- What are your expectations of this program?
Assoc.Prof.PhD. Nguyen Ngoc Thanh: If the program could invite more foreign professors to teach and students could be sent to probation and visits for longer time in overseas enterprises, I would say graduates of this program would be equal to BA graduates of universities in top 500 in the world. First intake of this program will graduate in June 2012 and I believe they will be UEB’s first international standard BA bachelors meeting local and international demand. Through this Strategic Mission program, members and VNU will progressively develop in line with regional and international standards.
- Thank you!

Thuy Ngan (reporting) VNU Bulletins No. 250 - 251

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