What should a leader do in crisis? Rarely has the question felt more appropriate than it does today. Indeed, with a global pandemic that shows little signs of stopping in the short-term, there is a significant need for leaders to step up and make clear the path forward.

On April 23, famed American journalist Chris Matthews joined Fulbright University Vietnam to discuss what leaders need to do in crisis and how he’s seeing leaders perform around the world. Matthews is an internationally recognized political commentator, journalist, and public figure. He previously hosted Hardball with Chris Matthews, which aired on MSNBC for over 20 years, and also authored multiple books on politics and leadership, including books on President Kennedy and President Nixon. Matthews gave this talk as part of Fulbright’s “COVID-19 & Our Future World” talk series.

To begin, Matthews noted the remarkable success of Vietnam in fighting the coronavirus. With no deaths and a quick response, Matthews argued that the leadership of Vietnam have shown up to address the issue of this virus. Part of Vietnam’s success, Matthews argued, comes down to Vietnamese leaders upholding some of the core requirements for leaders in crisis – which will be outlined below.

After commenting on Vietnam, Matthews turned his attention to the United States and particularly the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo. New York is the epicenter of the virus in the United States and has recorded nearly 20,000 deaths* attributed to the infection. However, the governor has become one of the most popular national figures in this crisis. Matthews posed the question: how can the person with the worst local situation end up being the most popular person in the response?

The reason, Matthews argues, is that leadership in crisis comes down to a few rules that you need to follow.  Governor Cuomo invariably followed those rules.

Rule No. 1 — Show up!

When faced with danger, people want to see their leaders. Matthews gives the example of a building catching on fire. When you see a building on fire, you want to see people like your local government leaders, the fire chief, and the police chief all at the scene of the action. Just by being there, they are showing that they are focusing on what matters for the community and the people.

Matthews argues that this is one of the rules of leadership that both Cuomo and President Trump have obeyed. Trump, for example, has been on national television most evenings talking about the virus. Cuomo does the same, showing up in public briefings and national media to talk about the virus and New York’s response.  

Rule No. 2 — Get the facts to the people as soon as possible

 In crisis, people are often scared. What helps the population work through those fears is an understanding of the situation. Facts are important and need to be shared by leaders as quickly as possible.  

Again, Matthews argued that this is where the U.S. governors have been good. They tell the people the latest information; they tell then what to expect, and they tell them that the problem is coming.

When faced with danger, people want the facts because they use them to protect themselves. In particular, they want the whole truth – not a candy-coated version of it. If they discover a leader is not telling the truth, they will not trust him.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo is respected today, Matthews argued, because he put the facts before his constituents. Cuomo has been direct and specific about the danger facing New York, and the fact that it was being hit first and being hit hard.

As Cuomo argued, facts are empowering. “Even when the facts are discouraging, not knowing the facts is worse. I promise that I will continue to give New Yorkers all the facts.”

Rule No. 3 — Show that you care

 Matthews argued that in crises like these, people want to know that their leaders care about them. Again, Matthews uses the example of Cuomo. Cuomo regularly talks about his mother, Matilda, being one of those he cares about and being part of the “2%” of people who could potentially die from the coronavirus. This connects his story to the broader story and shows that he thinks about the lives behind the numbers.

Even as Cuomo approaches the facts with precision and clarity, he also focuses on the back story of what they mean. Over the past few weeks, the number of daily deaths from Coronavirus in New York has been decreasing. However, Cuomo argues that any of these deaths is a devastating loss for a family – and thus a tragedy. He shows that he cares even as he is clear with the facts.

As Matthews finished his talk, he also emphasized cultural differences. For example, many of the rules that he described likely apply in most settings, but should be adjusted for the Vietnam context. In fact, Matthews argues that many of the cultural traits in Vietnam should become more prevalent in the United States – particularly a focus on the collective good over the self.

As we look forward in our talk series about the COVID-19 crisis, we’ll discuss other areas that leaders need to address and other responses from around the world.  Karen Dynan, Harvard professor and former Chief Economist of the Treasury, has recently examined the future of our global economy and the impact COVID-19 would have. Following that, we’ll also look at a specific case of Wuhan with Harvard biostatistician Xihong Lin. In particular, she’ll examine what are the lessons learned from Wuhan that can be applied more broadly.

(*) Data based on reports at the time of the discussion.

On December 4, 2019, Dr. John Branch, Clinical Assistant Professor of Business Administration and Co-Director of the Yaffe Digital Media Initiative at Stephen M. Ross School of Business visited Fulbright University Vietnam. As part of a talk series, organized by Fulbright’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Dr. Branch delivered an amicable and engaging speech on a classic economic topic: how to win on the market.

This talk is the first of many planned by the CEI to share the expertise of leading experts in entrepreneurship and innovation to the broader Fulbright and Ho Chi Minh City community.

Competition and superior performance

“Competition is the on-going, disequilibrium-provoking process which consists of the struggle among companies for comparative advantage in production resources costs, and competitive advantage in consumer value, and there by Superior Performance,” this is a rather complex definition of competition introduced by Professor Shelby D. Hunt. Dr. Branch helped break down this concept. Simply put, a company wins when it can outperform its competitors, hence achieving “superior performance”, either by having lower production costs or higher consumer value.

The first half of any company is acquisition and deployment of production resources, which include financial, legal, physical, human, organizational and relational – the FLPHOR resources. With these resources being scarce and heterogeneous, companies compete against each other in order that their cost structure is lower than that of their competitors.

“Every day, your task as a businessperson in a company is to try to lower costs. There are two ways to lower costs: to lower the acquisition costs, or to deploy your resources more efficiently,” Dr. Branch emphasized.

Dr. Branch explaining the FLPHOR resources

The second half of a business is going to the market. As with resources, consumers and products are divergent: no two consumers or two products are the same. “When a company goes to market, we discover that different offerings in the market yield different values to different consumers”. Businesses have to attract buyers by offering exceptional consumer value, with better 4Ps – product, price, place and promotion.

Moreover, a company needs to be aware of where it is situated, whether it is enjoying superior performance and should keep going, or it is in an inferior position and needs to stop.

“Know yourself and know your competitors, which means doing research. But to be fair, the market will also tell you, especially if your company is publicly traded on the stock market. Stock analysts are not actually analyzing the stock, they analyze the performance, and then they issue advice to buy, hold or sell,” John clarified.

A question was raised by an audience member: “In a situation where we have to choose between cost reduction and value increase, which should be prioritized?” To this, Dr. Branch positively affirms a rule of thumb: always go for value. “Always a cost floor, never a value ceiling,” he said.

The audience was captivated by Dr. Branch’s speech

With production resources, there are certain limits to which cost can only be reduced to, thus the “cost floor”. However, value enhancements are limitless. At the end of the day, consumers want value maximization, not price minimization.

“If you can produce something and sell it at a very cheap price but no one wants to buy it, you’re not making any money,” John explained.

Not all inventions are innovations

In a constantly evolving and highly competitive world, businesses have no other way to achieve superior performance than to innovate. The very definition of innovation, according to Dr. Branch, stems from competition itself.

“There are two types of innovation. The first type of innovation is, ‘invention minus cost’. An innovation is when a company invents something that can lower their costs. Or, ‘innovation is equal to invention plus value’ – innovation is anything we do which is novel, new, creative and adds value.”

To illustrate this idea, Dr. Branch recalled an innovation by the fast food powerhouse – McDonald’s. Most Americans are well familiar with Drive-Thru, McDonald’s speedy service that allows customers to buy food without leaving their cars. Customers place their orders by speaking into a microphone while on the other end, an employee wears a headset to take the orders. Yet, many would be surprised to know McDonald’s is currently experimenting outsourcing this job to labor all the way in Bangalore, India. As counter-intuitive as it may sound, this is an exemplary innovation, as it helps McDonald’s cut down on their human resources costs as well as organizational costs, giving them a comparative advantage.

On the other hand, some inventions are not innovative at all. For instance, Colgate-Palmolive once launched a product that combined a toothpaste pump and a roll of dental floss. However, this was quickly pulled from the shelves, which was an evitable move according to Dr. Branch. The item was inconvenient, had no actual improvement to the product quality and consequently, it could hardly appeal to any buyer.

“If something does not add value, it’s only an invention, not an innovation. Who decides? The customers,” reiterated John.

The best advantage is sustainable advantage

Once they have successfully achieved superior performance, companies need to consider another critical question: how to keep winning. Most will lose their edge after a while, yet some enjoy leading the market for a long time.

“When it comes to business, you only are winning for a short period of time. It’s a continuous, ongoing game, it never stops. Competition is ‘dis-equilibrium’, what does it mean? – It never stands still.”

Another concept was brought to the table: sustainable advantage. Sustainable advantages have one thing in common: inimitability, being very hard to copy or emulate. This would allow companies to stay ahead of the game without being dethroned by competitors. Dr. Branch pointed out several different ways market-dominant enterprises have used to achieve such position.

The most prevalent method is utilizing legal frameworks, patenting ideas to prevent other companies from reproducing them, as applied by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. However, this is far from being the only way. Others include complexity, like Toyota’s intricate systems that none can replicate; the secrecy of Coca Cola’s recipe; or the rarity of De Beers’ diamonds. In short, companies have to be creative with inaugurating sustainable advantages, otherwise, they will not be able to maintain their superior performance.

To summarize his speech, Dr. Branch put an emphasis on the importance of competition: “It seems that competition is a very powerful beast. Without competition, there’s not really a lot of economic advancements.”

Anh Thư

Tại cuộc thảo luận ở Đại học Fulbright Việt Nam, ông Meyer “Sandy” Frucher – nhà cải cách của sàn chứng khoán Philadelphia, Phó Chủ tịch sàn chứng khoán NASDAQ nêu ra bốn đúc kết quan trọng .  

 Sandy Frucher từng là nhân vật chính trong công cuộc xây dựng và khôi phục lại những yêu cầu về đạo đức trong thị trường vốn. Năm 1998, ông trở thành CEO và Chủ tịch sàn chứng khoán Philadelphia, một sàn chứng khoán đã trải qua khá nhiều thăng trầm và gặp rất nhiều khó khăn.

Tuy nhiên, Frucher vẫn vực nó dậy với doanh thu tăng trưởng ở mức 65%, giá trị chứng khoán phái sinh tăng trưởng ở mức 155%. Năm 2007, sàn chứng khoán Philadelphia được NASDAQ mua lại với giá $690 triệu USD, và sau đó, Sandy Frucher trở thành Phó Chủ tịch sàn NASDAQ.

Công nghệ và tính minh bạch: Trường hợp của sàn chứng khoán Philadelphia

Trong quá khứ, thị trường chứng khoán hoạt động một cách khá “thủ công” với một “sàn chứng khoán” hiện hữu, nơi các nhà giao dịch tập hợp và các giao dịch mua bán được điều phối bởi một chuyên viên trung tâm, gọi là score keeper. Score keeper sẽ là người duy nhất nắm giữ thông tin. Cách hoạt động quá “thủ công” này tạo điều kiện cho tham nhũng xuất hiện trong thị trường vốn. Những vấn đề như giao dịch nội gián thường rất dễ xảy ra, gây ảnh hưởng xấu đến giá cổ phiếu và công việc kinh doanh của công ty niêm yết, do quyền lợi của các nhà đầu tư khác thường bị đặt sau quyền lợi của người nội gián.

Khi Sandy Frucher tiếp quản sàn giao dịch chứng khoán Philadelphia (PHLX), sàn chứng khoán lâu đời nhất của Hoa Kỳ, PHLX gặp rất nhiều khó khăn bởi nạn tham nhũng. “Có một mối tương quan khá rõ ràng giữa khả năng tiếp cận thông tin thấp, sự thiếu minh bạch, và nạn tham nhũng trong thị trường chứng khoán.” Dưới sự quản lý của ông, sàn PHLX đã gầy dựng lại tính minh bạch trong việc quản lý và theo dõi các thông tin giao dịch bằng cách sử dụng công nghệ máy tính.

Ông Meyer “Sandy” Frucher – nhà cải cách của sàn chứng khoán Philadelphia, Phó Chủ tịch sàn chứng khoán NASDAQ

“Khi chúng tôi bắt đầu sử dụng công nghệ tài chính, chúng tôi nhìn thấy rằng các hình thức giao dịch mang tính hợp pháp thường đi theo một khuôn mẫu nhất định. Thật ra khi áp dụng công nghệ để quản lý PHLX, chúng tôi gặp rất nhiều sự phản kháng từ nhiều nhóm lợi ích khác nhau; và khi đó, chúng tôi biết rằng chúng tôi đã đi đúng hướng. Ngày nay, chính sự phát triển phi thường của công nghệ đã giúp chúng tôi có thể quản lý hệ thống một cách công bằng hơn.”

Hiện tại, sàn NASDAQ vẫn tiếp tục phát triển những công cụ quản lý mang tính đột phá nhằm bảo vệ khối dữ liệu giao dịch khổng lồ của hệ thống, giúp các hoạt động giao dịch được thực hiện một cách dễ dàng hơn, và giảm thiểu sự gian lận trong giao dịch. Chính công nghệ đã góp phần tạo nên tính minh bạch cho hệ thống, xây dựng nền tảng để thị trường vốn trở nên thành công hơn và đạo đức hơn.

“Đối với tôi, thị trường tài chính là nơi mà người nghèo nhất trong nấc thang kinh tế vẫn có thể đầu tư vào cổ phiếu và gầy dựng cơ nghiệp. Tùy vào khả năng tài chính của mình mà nhà đầu tư cá nhân có thể mua cổ phiếu để dành khi về hưu, giúp con mình có đủ tài chính học đại học, hoặc có thể là làm giàu. Tuy nhiên, điều này chỉ có thể thực hiện được nếu như mọi người đều có quyền tiếp cận thông tin một cách công bằng và trung thực nhất.”

Khi công nghệ giúp phần lớn xã hội có thể tiếp cận với thị trường vốn và thực hiện giao dịch qua dữ liệu mở, công nghệ cũng có thể tự thực hiện giao dịch nhờ vào những thuật toán. Điều này gây nên những quan ngại từ nhiều phía, ông Frucher chia sẻ, đặc biệt đối với hình thức giao dịch tần suất sao (high frequency trading) và ảnh hưởng của nó đến các nhà đầu tư chứng khoán cá nhân.

Nhà đầu tư cá nhân vs. Giao dịch tần suất cao: đẳng cấp khác, thị trường khác

Động cơ thúc đẩy các nhà đầu tư tham gia vào thị trường vốn có thể khác nhau. Tuy nhiên, đa số sẽ thuộc vào hai hướng chính. Hướng đầu tiên chính là các nhà đầu tư cá nhân, những người mong muốn thu về nhiều lợi nhuận hơn nhờ vào nguồn tiền tiết kiệm của bản thân. Tùy vào khả năng kinh tế của mình, họ có thể đầu tư vào cổ phiếu của một, hoặc nhiều công ty khác nhau. Hướng thứ hai là các tổ chức đầu tư lớn, những người áp dụng giao dịch tần suất cao để giao dịch chứng khoán.

Những tổ chức này thường không quan tâm quá nhiều đến tình hình kinh doanh của một công ty bất kỳ, mà quan tâm đến cách họ thực hiện giao dịch trên thị trường chứng khoán. Những tổ chức này sẽ thực hiện một số lượng giao dịch lớn nhất có thể trong một khoảng thời gian ngắn nhất có thể dựa vào thuật toán máy tính nhằm ăn lời ít nhưng với số lượng lớn. Đây là hình thức giao dịch gây ra nhiều tranh cãi. Tuy nhiên, đối với Sandy Frucher, đây chỉ là một cách giao dịch ở một đẳng cấp khác, ở một thị trường khác.

“Một số người cho rằng điều này sẽ gây ra ảnh hưởng xấu đến hướng đi của thị trường. Tuy nhiên, tôi thấy nó chỉ ảnh hưởng đến một phần nhỏ của thị trường trong một điểm thời gian rất ngắn với một lượng tài sản khổng lồ. Nói cách khác, giao dịch tần suất cao là trận chiến giữa những người giàu, những người có khả năng chi trả cho những công nghệ mới và chạy đua với nhau.”

Theo ông Frucher, giao dịch tần suất cao là hướng tiếp diễn đương nhiên của sự phát triển  công nghệ dữ liệu, được thiết kế để duy trì tính công bằng, minh bạch. Và công nghệ thì cần được tận dụng để đạt được kết quả tốt. “Thị trường có thể lên xuống, nhưng các nhà đầu tư cá nhân vẫn có thể tận dụng tính năng động và nguồn vốn luôn được bơm ra thị trường qua các giao dịch tần suất cao để sinh lời.”

Tương lai của thị trường tài chính: Đạo đức và minh bạch là đích đến?

Từ những năm 1990, thị trường tài chính đã có những bước tiến dài để tìm lại tính minh bạch và tinh thần trách nhiệm trong quản trị. Đối với Sandy Frucher, thị trường tương lai cần chú trọng nâng cao tính minh bạch thay vì chỉ quan tâm đến lợi ích tài chính. Ông Frucher đưa ra dẫn chứng những nỗ lực gần đây nhất của Hiệp hội Giao dịch Chứng khoán Thế giới (WFSE). WFSE là một hiệp hội các tổ chức giao dịch quốc tế, đại diện cho hơn 200 sàn giao dịch với hơn 45.000 công ty được niêm yết. Năm 2017, WFSE có tổng trị giá ước tính lên đến 82,5 ngàn tỉ đô la Mỹ. WFSE mong muốn mang lại tính tiếp cận cao đến với thị trường tài chính, cũng như tính an toàn, minh bạch cho cả hệ thống thị trường trên toàn thế giới.

Các bạn sinh viên Fulbright tham dự buổi chia sẻ của ông Sandy Frucher

WFSE hiện đang thực hiện nhiều nỗ lực thiết kế các chỉ số liên quan đến đạo đức và môi trường để đo kết quả kinh doanh của thị trường. Các chỉ số này có thể là lượng khí thải carbon, tính nhân đạo của điều kiện lao động trong khai thác tài nguyên, tính đa dạng và hòa nhập, hay việc giúp các nhà đầu tư đưa ra quyết định đúng với các giá trị đạo đức của bản thân.

“Điều này cho thấy rằng thị trường vốn đang có những bước tiến triển để thể hiện được các giá trị đạo đức chung của xã hội. Để có được giao dịch giữa người mua và người bán, ta cần thông tin về ‘giá trị.’ Tất cả những thông tin này cần được công bố đại chúng để các nhà đầu tư có thể đưa ra những quyết định kinh doanh đúng đắn, để chúng ta có thể ủng hộ những dự án công cộng, xây trường học, phát triển công nghệ dành cho người tiêu dùng, và hiện thực hóa những ấp ủ của các nhà đầu tư, các nhà kinh doanh ở mọi cấp. NASDAQ hiện đang chú trọng thực hiện các nghiên cứu thị trường và giám sát việc tuân thủ luật lệ và quy định. Và đấy cũng chính là niềm tự hào của NASDAQ. Tôi tin rằng với nguồn dữ liệu thông tin tốt, ta đang góp phần đem lại những giá trị tốt cho xã hội.”

Hỏi đáp: Tương lai của Việt Nam ở đâu?

“Trong khả năng tiếp cận hạn hẹp của tôi với Việt Nam, tôi thấy rằng Việt Nam đã có nhiều thay đổi tích cực. Tôi chưa từng thấy ở đâu mà một chương trình giảng dạy chính sách công có thể phát triển trở thành một trường đại học khai phóng nhanh đến như vậy. Thế hệ trẻ hiện nay rất quan tâm đến môi trường, và Việt Nam may mắn có được những trường đại học kiến tạo và ươm dưỡng một thế hệ có khả năng tạo thay đổi trước một thế giới đầy biến động nhờ vào những năng lực phân tích và giải quyết vấn đề. Điều này rất đáng trân quý.

“Với sự phát triển đáng kinh ngạc mà tôi được tận mắt chứng kiến như vậy, kết hợp với sự thay đổi tích cực của thị trường vốn, tôi tin Việt Nam sẽ có nhiều cơ hội hơn nữa nếu chúng ta bắt đầu dạy môn tài chính kinh tế ngay từ những lớp nhỏ, đặc biệt đối với thế hệ trẻ. Việt Nam là một nền kinh tế đang phát triển, và Việt Nam sẽ luôn có thêm nhiều nhà đầu tư hiểu biết và những chủ doanh nghiệp giỏi giang có thể đưa Việt Nam vươn lên một tầm cao mới.”

This article uses materials from the panel discussion on STEAM Education in Vietnam, which was organized by Fulbright’s F-Green student club in April 2019 at Fulbright University Vietnam.

Following the success of the first STEAM Talk, F-Green, a student club at Fulbright University Vietnam, organized their second event of the series: a panel discussion on the prospects and drawbacks when implementing STEAM Education in Vietnam.

The discussion was moderated by a Fulbright student with the participation of three prominent speakers: Dr. Bui The Duy – Deputy Minister of Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr. Tran Minh Triet – Assistant Dean of University of Science, and Dr. Ryan Derby-Talbot – Chief Academic Officer (CAO) of Fulbright University Vietnam.

Is STEAM education important?

Dr. Bui The Duy has always been proud of his Mathematics background and that he graduated from Vietnam National University (VNU), the top science school in Vietnam. Deputy Minister Duy’s breadth of accomplishments can hardly be equaled. 

In high school, Duy won the bronze medal at the International Olympiad in Informatics in two consecutive years, 1995 in the Netherlands and 1996 in Hungary. His achievements did not stop there. Duy completed his bachelor’s degree and doctorate just within six years; he was only 26 years old. At 31, Duy became the youngest Associate Professor in Informatics and the Dean of School of Computer Science – University of Engineering and Technology, a member university of VNU. 

Dr. Duy’s success inspires many Vietnamese students to follow his footsteps. It appears that the focus on STEM subjects in Vietnamese high schools is helping students achieve similar success because Vietnamese students have a long tradition of being hugely successful at international science competitions. However, experts think otherwise. 

Dr. Bui The Duy – Deputy Minister of Ministry of Science and Technology

Deputy Minister Duy shared his concern at the event that Vietnamese students, while possessing tangible academic medals, still lack important skills such as creativity and leadership. According to Dr. Duy, the lack of other useful skills makes Vietnamese graduates less competitive in the job market than Western graduates, even in the fields Vietnamese students excel at such as science and technology. 

“In the division of labor, Vietnamese workforce belongs to the most labor-intensive part – the execution phase, which only yields 20% of the total revenue. Those who initiate, create, and advise the solution for the client’s problem receive the other 80% of the revenue while working less hours,” Dr. Duy explained. 

Deputy Minister Duy also stressed that STEM-/STEAM-focused education is vital for a country to thrive further. The question is how we can implement it efficiently. At the moment, Dr. Bui The Duy believes that Vietnam has been left behind in the development race. 

“STEM/STEAM education is an important foundation for Vietnam to step up the game, especially when science and technology is now encompassing various industries in lightning speed,” he emphasized. 

STEAM: What are the risks in new opportunities?

Dr. Ryan Derby-Talbot, Fulbright’s CAO, believes that we should discuss STEAM education both in terms of risks and opportunities. STEAM educated students are the future’s game-changing player in the technology and science fields.

With great impacts, there comes great social responsibility. It is important for STEAM educated students to possess a human-centered mindset to create more opportunities for growth and sustainability. On the other hand, focusing only on technology advancement and neglecting the humanity aspects will pose as risks for the society. 

According to Fulbright’s CAO, STEAM education should not be taught as five individual subjects. The right approach is to use Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points to teach students different competencies, including critical and creative thinking, collaboration, inquiry, communication, and analytical reasoning. 

The Assistant Dean of University of Science, Dr. Tran Minh Triet, shared that STEAM education has become popular in Vietnam. Yet, there has yet to be a clear teaching method for STEAM in the current school system. Vietnamese teachers come from different academic background and are not properly trained to teach STEM/STEAM as an educational approach. 

While there are still different debates on the implementation of STEAM education, Dr. Triet and Dr. Derby-Talbot shared the same view on the end results. With STEAM education approach, students can become individuals who are not afraid to take risks, engage in experiential learning, be creative and collaborative in forming new ideas or solving problems, and embrace interdisciplinarity. 

“The end results of education are not the grades an open-, growth-mindset and a strong set of skills. This requires teachers to become mentors throughout the learning journey,” Dr. Triet emphasized. 

Dr. Ryan Derby-Talbot – Chief Academic Officer (CAO) of Fulbright University Vietnam

Shifting the old mindset

According to Dr. Derby-Talbot, to successfully implement STEAM education, the educators need to change their mindset on how different subjects should be taught. Instead of presenting new knowledge to students, teachers may use real life problems/questions as antecedents to help students learn a concept. 

This is also an approach that Fulbright faculty are embracing. For example, in the Co-Design Year, Fulbright students had to take the Scientific Inquiry, one of the seven core courses. This course teaches students not only scientific knowledge, but also the way a scientist thinks and solves a scientific problem.

The professors do not provide answers or make students memorize specific formulas; they guide students to find the answers for themselves. This way, students can learn how to navigate through the “mess” and improve their problem-solving skill. 

Dr. Tran Minh Triet – Assistant Dean of University of Science

Dr. Derby-Talbot emphasized that what sets Fulbright apart is experiential learning. Fulbright students learn from real experience by working on real projects. This will help hone their skills and prepare them for future challenges in the work environment. 

“The grades alone cannot fully assess a student’s ability. A project, however, can show different skillsets a student possesses from the idea formulation stage, to the execution stage,” Fulbright’s CAO shared. 

Dr. Bui The Duy also agreed that education should shift from knowledge-based to competencies-based. In fact, the Ministry of Education and Training is exploring different methods to bring STEM/STEAM education into the curriculum, and teach Math and Physics in English, etc.

“STEM/STEAM education is the priority for Vietnam to nurture a young generation who can help Vietnam catch up with the world,” he said. Some universities in Vietnam is experimenting competencies-based approach by introducing a capstone project instead of an end-of-term exam. 

However, grading a project requires more time and effort than grading an exam while faculty’s salary remains the same. Thus, they only apply the capstone project in their curriculum when forced. Dr. Bui The Duy suggested that universities may consider tying the project with research work; this way, faculty may become more engaged. 

Nguyen Huu Phuc Ngan – the host of Panel discussion

Dr. Bui The Duy also emphasized that we should not treat STEM/STEAM education as a trend. Faculty need to be properly trained to change from knowledge-based teaching to competencies-based teaching. Knowledge and competencies should be interwoven in a way that students can be best prepared for the everchanging world in the future. 

Linh Vu

Date and time: 09:00 – 11:00 AM, Sunday, April 07, 2019

STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. It has become increasingly popular in Vietnam in recent years, due to its promising career prospects.

F-Green (a group of Co-Design Year students) will be the host of a Panel Discussion on STEAM Education this weekend. We are so honored to welcome two special guest speakers at the Panel, including Dr. Bui The Duy, Deputy Minister of Sciene and Technology and Dr. Tran Minh Triet, Associate Dean of the University of Science. Two guests will join with Dr. Ryan Derby-Talbot, Chief Academic Officer of Fulbright to discuss approaches and possible models to develop STEAM Education in Vietnam. 

The panel discussion will be held in Vietnamese. The details of the panel are as followings:

* Date and time: 9:00 a.m – 11:00 a.m, Sunday, April 07, 2019.
* Address: Fulbright University Vietnam, 2F, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Tan Phu Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

* Register to join the event at:



Bui The Duy, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Science and Technology

Before becoming the Deputy Minister of Ministry of Science and Technology, Associate Professor Bùi Thế Duy was the Director of Vietnam Youth Academy.

Bùi Thế Duy is famous for his impressive academic record in the past. He won bronze medals for theInternational Olympiad in Informatics in the Netherlands (1995) and Hungary (1996). In the following years, he won the AusAid scholarship to study abroad at University of Wollongong in Australia and later became a Postgraduate student at University of Twente in the Netherlands.

He successfully defended his Doctor thesis at age 26 and became the youngest Associate Professor in Vietnam at age 31.

With a burning passion of forming a close-knit and professional academic community in Vietnam,Bùi Thế Duy became the author of multiple scientific articles published on international journals; his research topics usually place great emphasis on the practicality of an issue. He is also known as a dedicated teacher who has guided and trained the Vietnam team in many international programming contests. 

Tran Minh Triet,Assistant Dean of University of Science

Before starting his career in education, Associate Professor Trần Minh Triết was awarded Vietnam’s Faces of the Youth.

He possesses great academic records such as: valedictorian of University of Science with maximum graduate score, top student of the postgraduate program. His multiple research projects on the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) were considered phenomenal. Before turning 23, Trần Minh Triết had already won more than 40 awards nationally and internationally in the software engineering disciplinary.

He has been twice awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Professional) of Microsoft. Now, Tran Minh Triet is working at University of Science as the Deputy Head of Software Engineering Department and the Assistant Dean. He is still working on multiple scientific research topics and meaningful social projects.

Ryan Derby-Talbot,Chief Academic Officer of Fulbright University Vietnam

Dr. Derby-Talbot joins Fulbright University Vietnam after eight years on the faculty of Quest University Canada, an innovative, private liberal arts college in British Columbia. For four years he served as Quest’s vice president and CAO.

Prior to joining Quest, Dr. Derby-Talbot spent three years as an assistant professor at the American University in Cairo. After graduating from Pomona College, he taught English to Japanese students through the Japanese Education and Teaching (JET) Program. Dr. Derby-Talbot holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Texas at Austin.

He specializes in the field of topology and studies objects that are potential candidates for the shape of the universe, understanding them primarily through their so-called “Heegaard splittings.” He publishes regularly in mathematics as well as in teaching and pedagogy.

Companies have long invested in data to sell credit cards and get clicks on websites, but there is a growing movement to use data to solve more important problems.

In this talk, Joe Walsh will discuss the Data Science for Social Good Fellowship, a program that trains aspiring data scientists through real-world projects with non-profits and government agencies.

Joe will present a few of the DSSG projects he mentored, including identifying police officers at risk of adverse incidents (Charlotte and Nashville Police Departments), finding children at risk of lead poisoning (Chicago Department of Public Health), and uncovering the sources of legislation in the US (Sunlight Foundation).

He will also offer lessons learned.
The talk will be held in English. The details of the talk are as followings:

* Date and time: 3:30 P.M – 4:30 PM, 29 March 2019.
* Address: Fulbright University Vietnam, 2F, 105 Ton Dat Tien, Tan Phu Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
* Register to join the event at: https://bit.ly/2JLQsbU

About speaker:

Joe Walsh has had several years of experience helping academics, nonprofits, federal and state agencies, and companies of all sizes use quantitative tools to answer questions and make informed decisions about health care, transportation, education, public safety, criminal justice, and government transparency.

He is one of the few who has served as both a fellow and a mentor for the Data Science for Social Good program. He has master’s degrees in economics and peace and conflict studies and a PhD in political science. A US Marine Corps veteran and a member of the Truman National Security Project, Joe recently left the University of Chicago to start a company that increases property-tax fairness in the US.

Given current transformational changes with the respect to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies, VNG CEO Le Hong Minh predicted that career opportunities in STEAM-related fields would be very promising. 

Currently, VNG is developing Kiki, the first Vietnamese virtual personal assistant based on perception AI technology. Even though they are willing to pay $500,000 annually for an internationally-trained AI experts, VNG still cannot find the right data scientist for the job. 

In a larger context, Minh warned students to prepare for an unpredictable, ever-changing world where a lot of human labor would be replaced by automation. For example, advertising and digital marketing used to be a “trendy” job 5 years ago. Today, most of the digital marketing campaign’s workload has been conducted by AI technologies. 

So, what should younger generations do to survive and succeed in such a future? 

“In an era when many jobs will be digitalized and automated, it is not only what you learn but how you learn that will make you stand out. Because what you know today will be out-of-date sooner than you think, you should focus on developing essential lifelong skills, including critical thinking, collecting and analyzing data, communication skills, creativity and collaborative skills. These abilities will help you to continue learning and adapting to any changes,” Minh emphasized. 

He believed that education approaches like Fulbright’s are essential for young people to explore their abilities, desires and interests with firsthand experiences. 

The most successful start-up entrepreneur highly praised the liberal education embraced by Fulbright University Vietnam, which focuses on developing students as whole person with broad range of knowledge and skills for 21stcenturies. This was the sole reason why Le Hong Minh agreed to become the first speaker of the “STEAM Education” talk-show series at Fulbright University Vietnam. 

Watch video below:

According to the result of a survey which Dr. Christopher Nguyen shared in his “Should AI care about Ethics” talk at Fulbright University Vietnam, Americans are growing less excited and more concerned towards AI technologies. 

While some impacts seem self-explanatory such as policies & regulations, or technological advancement, some carry more complicated outlooks. Let’s take the self-driving car as an example. The creation of self-driving car brings great economic impact by enhancing productivity for the users.

At the same time, it will affect the current society by eliminating jobs related to driving. If the self-driving car causes an accident, who – the user or the manufacturer – will be responsible and how can we determine that?

Such unprecedented cases will require the legal system to adapt. If the legal system fails to satisfactorily solve the case, should we or should we not ask for government’s regulations on self-driving car? What role does ethics play in this and whose roles should it be?

There will be more examples like this one as AI develops further in the future. So where do we, human beings, go from here? To adapt to this new age, Dr. Christopher Nguyen suggested that we need to encourage a combination of STEM and liberal arts education, the type of education Fulbright University Vietnam is pursuing. We also need to maintain a growth mindset so that we can adapt quickly to changes.

Watch video below:

Christopher Cuong Nguyen is President and CEO of Arimo, a Panasonic company in Silicon Valley, where he leads the development of AI platforms and solutions for the enterprise.

He has served as engineering director of Google Apps and co-founded two other successful startups.

As a professor, Christopher Cuong Nguyen co-founded the Computer Engineering program at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

He joins as a board member of the Trust for University Innovation in Vietnam (TUIV), supporting the development of and funding for Fulbright University Vietnam.

During his trip to Vietnam for the first face-to-face meeting between Fulbright’s and TUIV’s board of trustees, Christopher Cuong Nguyen had brief interview with Fulbright’s Director of Communications, Bui Viet Lam.

In the interview, he shared with the audience his aspiration and ambition for Fulbright University Vietnam and the young generations.

In the  interview with Fulbright’s Director of Communications, Bui Viet Lam, Dr. Christopher Cuong Nguyen shared his point of view on the outlook of AI and the prospects of human’s roles in the AI era.

According to Dr. Christopher Cuong Nguyen, with respect to a lot the automation capabilities that AI represents, it can bring some large-scale displacement in terms of the labor force. However, there will always be a role for human beings in the AI era.

“A lot of young people are quite aware of computing capabilities and hackers. They can apply their skills and their ambitions towards this particular technology.

I think that Vietnam has an opportunity and really the challenge to leapfrog and bypass that and invest its human resources in the machine learning era directly,” he shared.

Christopher Cuong Nguyen is President and CEO of Arimo, a Panasonic company in Silicon Valley, where he leads the development of AI platforms and solutions for the enterprise. He has served as engineering director of Google Apps and co-founded two other successful startups. As a professor, Christopher Cuong co-founded the Computer Engineering program at HKUST. He joins as a board member of the Trust for University Innovation in Vietnam, supporting the development of Fulbright University Vietnam.

Watch the interview here: