IMBA Students In Vietnam
After two weeks of getting our bearings in Beijing, our group of IMBA Pioneers has moved from China for two weeks in Southeast Asia. Our first stop in Vietnam was Hanoi — appropriately dubbed Ha-noisy. The streets were crowded with scooters and motorbikes. Crossing the streets was an adventure. Our patient guide encouraged is to “walk slowly”, and sure enough the bikes wove in between our strides.
Hanoi is the capital of the country, once cut into two prior to the Vietnam War (which is known as the American War here). An important stop on our walking tour was at the tomb of Ho Chi Min. We photographed our group in front of this impressive stone building that holds his body and stands as a symbol to the independent and unified Vietnam. The day was dark with light rain falling, so our pictures are not great. With a bit of work, however, I may be able to post one later. Next was a visit to the Temple of Literature, a tribute to Confucius and later the first university in Vietnam. The names of all the scholars, who became Mandarins, are engraved for permanent display on long marble steles. We also visited the Hanoi Hilton, the prison built by the French for Vietnamese prisoners and later used to accommodate captured U.S. pilots — John McCain being the best known.
Our next stop was Ho Chi Min City. We were using the politically correct name only to discover that locals still refer to the city as Saigon. We toured the Reunification Palace, formerly known as the Presidential Palace, and the War Remnants Museum, a sobering documentation of man’s inhumanity to man.
Amid all the touring and excellent cuisine, we were honored to hear from several business people who are succeeding in this dynamic, growing, but often unpredictable business environment. Consultants, small and large business owners, ex-pats and returning emigrees shared their stories and their lessons learned. Tomorrow we hear from other business people and tour a local brewery before heading off to Cambodia. We know that communication may be more challenging there, but we will try to post some additional notes as best we can. Meanwhile, the group is off to kareoke, an Asian bonding tradition. Perhaps we may bring this “best practice” back to the U.S. business community.