Recall last August when arriving in Dublin, many things were strange to me: people go on the left hand-side on streets, the weather was cold even in the summer and the sun was still on my head even in the evening. In my country, Vietnam, evening means dark and no sun, summer means very hot and humid; and of course, we go on the right hand-side. All those things made me feel unusual and I asked myself how could I adapt to a new society and what should I do to perform well in the MBA?
How am I now after one year? Everything is different. I am confident walking on streets in Dublin, I am confident to be a tour-guide for my friends visiting the city. I can speak fluently about Cork, Galway, Killarney, Cobh, Dingle bay, Belfast and Giants Causeway. More than that, I also have experience of working in family farms of my classmates in Sligo and Mullingar. I love to play football and hurling with my mates in sunny evening (you cannot say “sunny evening” in my country!). What has changed me? That is one year MBA with lovely people.
The first day coming to my class, I worried – how can I catch up with the class, how can I work with people from various countries? My concerns were reasonable because the difference in culture, the unfamiliar business environment and the language barrier were big challenges waiting for me. In the first term, those challenges accompanied with heavy workload were extremely tough. Indeed, language barrier was the major obstacle. For example, sometimes, I was confused in class discussion; and it took me double or triple times to finish all readings and assignments in comparison with others in my class. I feel that the first term was the hardest time of study in my life.
How am I now? Now I am confident to involve in discussions and presentation in my class, I understand the business customs and I am comfortable to contribute ideas from the viewpoint of people from an emerging and dynamic economy in the East. My contributions are valuable to the class because I give them the perspective from different experience and different angles. What has changed me? That is the MBA.
It is the end of June now and there are only three days left for me to finish my journey with the MBA. I am very sure that MBA in Smurfit School is my best decision ever. It is a bridge for my future, both in career and in life. I came here with a group of Vietnamese people and I am very sure that they learned a lot too. I would like to say thank you to my classmates, to the school, to all my professors and teachers and especially to Irish Aid who sponsors me for my MBA. Only three days more in the school and several weeks before coming back to Vietnam, I am very sure that I will miss Ireland and the school a lot. To me, MBA is unforgettable in my life and Ireland is my second home.
– Phuong Hoang, FT MBA 2011