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Executive MBA Participants Experience Vietnam

Boise State University’s second-year Executive MBA participants arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Oct. 25 for an international residency in the midst of one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

The residency is much like a trade mission, aligning participants with entrepreneurs, top level executives and economists in Vietnam. Uniquely, it will be facilitated in Vietnam by a special group of Boise State alumni. They are graduates of an English language MBA program that Boise State ran in Vietnam from 1990-99, the first ever internationally accredited MBA program conducted in Vietnam. There were 84 graduates of the program, many of who now run their own successful companies or hold leadership positions in the private or public sector there.

The Vietnam alums have maintained ties with Boise State through former professors, including Nancy Napier, who headed up the Vietnam MBA program and still teaches courses in Hanoi each year.

“Our Hanoi residency provides exposure to a dramatically different culture and the chance to learn first hand how a Communist country can embrace capitalism and become the most rapidly growing economy in the world,” Napier said. “In addition, Vietnamese graduates of the MBA program we ran in Hanoi 15 years ago provide deep personal connections to Vietnamese businesses, to the point where we can make potential buyer or supplier introductions for many of our participants as if this were a trade mission.”

This is the second time the Executive MBA program has taken participants to Vietnam. Marie Tadlock, LaserJet Strategic Planner for Hewlett-Packard LaserJet and Enterprise Solutions Marketing, participated last year.

“As a frequent international business traveler, I had different expectations of traveling to Vietnam. I expected this experience to be similar to a business trip where I learned a little about the country and visited a couple of businesses. I found that this was not the case at all,” she said. “The Vietnam residency through the Boise State University Executive MBA program was a true ‘cultural immersion.’ We learned about the history, current conditions and future aspirations of Vietnam, the business environment and culture.

“Our agenda included visiting the United States Embassy, many local businesses including banks, stock market, manufacturing plants, and a specific visit related to our interests, in my case high-tech. I truly feel like I know more about Vietnam than any other country I have visited and I am able to use that knowledge and experience to help provide insights to my company when working on our future strategy.”

To learn more, visit where two of this year’s participants — Jeff Pack, a cyber security officer at Idaho National Laboratory, and Troy Schrenk, a real estate consultant — will blog about their experiences.

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