Leadership Students in Vietnam Move with Country’s Growing Economy

For faculty member Teresa Goode, who just returned from teaching the first course of the College of Professional Studies’ new leadership program in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the fast-paced and dynamic city is reflective of the professional diversity of the students and what they want from the program. As this developing country rises economically, it is producing a “skilled workforce and higher productivity… soaking up a growing share of manufacturing investments,” according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

Goode’s students understand that if they want to be recognized in their careers, the Master’s in Leadership program will give them the skills they need to move forward in a fast-paced and growing economy.

The students in Goode’s class bring a range of professional experiences which is reflective of Vietnam’s growing economy and which also enhances the learning of the students. For example, two of the women in Goode’s class have started their own companies; one of whom is taking advantage of the thriving tourism industry in Vietnam. One student works as a civil servant for the government, while another has an entry-level position in banking.  

Students in the program take eight Northeastern courses, such as Creating Leadership Capability, Leading Teams and Developing the Strategic Leader, which provide foundational leadership skills. In addition, students take four classes in the Master of Business Administration program at International University, Vietnam National University, giving them a well-rounded set of skills when they leave the program.    

While Goode’s class started with a two-week face-to-face intensive, students are now completing the class remotely; Goode is back in Boston teaching the class through a Blackboard collaborate session. Think of it as an enhanced Skype session with the ability to project a presentation, make notes on a white board and record the session for future viewing.   During this session, students physically go to class where they are facilitated by a teaching assistant, while Goode teaches the class remotely. Students also participate in online discussions, watch videos, and view multi-media presentations via Blackboard.

Goode notes that this hybrid learning model, with a variety of teaching methods, plays to the strengths and learning preferences of the students. For extroverted students who may have stronger English skills the in-class discussion may be preferable, while those who are more introverted and whose English may not be as solid find that they enjoy the online learning component, as it allows them time to reflect and form their answers in a more thoughtful manner.  

With class wrapping up next week, students are working on their final project and presentation; in teams, students will interview a leader who has made a difference in his or her respective industry or in the community. Students use the interviews as an opportunity to bring to life the leadership concepts covered in class and will present how this leader’s experience fits within key leadership concepts.

“I’ve found that there are many strengths to the Masters of Science in Leadership program, but perhaps one of its key strengths is the multiple formats and media that I’m able to use,” said Goode. “This program has definitely emphasized how to encompass different learning styles for a smart and savvy international audience.”

In a few weeks Rick Arrowood, faculty member in the Leadership program here in Boston, will begin teaching the second course in the program, Creating a High Performance Organization, returning to Vietnam in May.