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Zicklin Executive Students Visit Vietnam on International Business Study Tour  

May 1, 2024

One of the many benefits offered by the Zicklin School’s Executive Programs is the international study tour, in which students travel to an overseas location for eight days of meetings with leaders of local and international businesses, nonprofits, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Because the study tour trip is part of a course for credit, students prepare by studying the country’s economy, business environment, and history. When they return, they work on projects related to the experience.   

Past study tours have been to South Africa, Costa Rica, China, and Singapore. In March 2024, 18 students in the Executive MBA and Executive MS in Human Resources programs visited the Southeast Asian nation of Vietnam.   

In the northern city of Hanoi, students got an overview of Vietnam’s business climate from an in-country law firm that advises international businesses operating in the Vietnamese economy; attended a presentation on workforce management by a consultant from PwC Vietnam; and toured an electrical manufacturing facility. Students also heard presentations by a social enterprise working to combat traffic injuries by producing helmets and encouraging their widespread use, and a not-for-profit foundation offering education and vocational training for local street youth. The final evening in Hanoi featured a networking event with a principal at IDG Capital Vietnam who has extensive experience in overseeing large investments aimed at strengthening Vietnam’s economy and bolstering its resilience.   

Next, the group flew south to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) for a briefing on the future of healthcare in Vietnam from a foreign-operated multidisciplinary medical provider. On a site visit to a garment factory, they learned how the country has become a leader in the global textile and apparel industry, rivaling China, India, and Bangladesh. They discussed investment opportunities with the CEO of an investment management firm and learned about the logistical challenges of global shipping and trade on a tour of Saigon Port, the country’s main import-export hub.   

“One of our most memorable visits was to the manufacturing plant of GER Industries,” said Gwendolyn Webb, PhD, associate dean of executive programs and a professor of finance. GER Industries is a family business that makes high-end architectural furnishings for New York City hotels and office buildings and is owned by a School of Business alumnus, George Roach (BBA, ’71). The company’s executive vice president, Harrison Roach, led the Zicklin students on a tour of the plant and described the manufacturing process from concept to delivery.   

“The Vietnam study tour introduced our executive students to a country whose history, culture, challenges, and ways of doing business are very different from our own,” Dr. Webb summed up. “We hope the experience leads them to seriously consider the needs and problems of local communities and how businesses can be part of the solution.”

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