In the last week of May, 19 graduate students enrolled in Fulbright’s first class of Leadership and Management concentration (LM 2020) defended their theses after 18 months of coursework.
LM students are particularly geared towards pragmatism. With over 60% of students coming from private and NGO sectors, graduation theses for LM are oriented towards practical application. To fulfill graduation requirements, each thesis can take the form of either a policy analysis paper, or a capstone project on topics chosen by students, then completed under faculty guidance. Accordingly, research topics can be real-life challenges facing the students in their workplace or business projects. Applying theoretical knowledge and analytical frameworks learned at FSPPM, students re-evaluate the problems at hand from a scientific approach to discover or invent innovative solutions to these problems.
Backed by real-life experiences, LM students combine their respective expertise with analytical approaches to evaluate, validate and draw conclusions for better performance in workplace. Insider knowledge help them to navigate around distractors and stay focused on the core issues at hand.
For example, in Nguyen Thi Ngoc Diep’s research project, “Evaluating the impact of livelihood support programs for vulnerable women: A case study on Beauty for a Better Life Program by L’oreal Foundation”, the recent graduate investigated and analyzed the effectiveness of vocational training programs initiated by the cosmetics giant, L’oreal Group, for disadvantaged women in Vietnam. During its10 years of operation, the program successfully trained 2500 women, boosting income and securing jobs for program participants. The initiative combined individual desires for a more sustainable occupation with L’oreal’s needs to both promote its brands and extend its customer base.
Dedicated to traditional and cultural values, Mr. Vo Thanh Trung, CEO of Lune Production, is the producer behind many great performances such as A O Show and Teh Dar, renowned productions weaving together Vietnamese tradition and contemporary dance. One of his main concerns is to preserve Vietnamese culture, but also promote it to the wider word. His research project explored national policies preserving cultural heritage and recommended a sustainable model in which the central government coordinates the participation of private sector and civil society alike.
Even though these LM theses tend to be practical, with simplified research techniques, they are remarkable feats of hard work and dedication by graduates. Some capstone projects can even be considered small scientific research projects of their own right. LM students were also appreciative of their advisors’ efforts in guiding them to the final results. “I am particularly indebted to Fulbright lecturers for watching every step of ours. Their timely encouragement and constructive yet honest feedback on our shortcomings help us grow up academically and personally,” shared Nguyen Huynh Thu Truc.