The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) launched Coca-Cola Leadership Program


From May 08 to 13, 2022, at Fulbright’s Crescent campus, the Coca-Cola Leadership Program was designed and delivered by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) to 22 young leaders, who were functional experts with years of experience in management-level positions with high prospect to take on senior leadership roles at Coca-Cola Vietnam. The rigorous training presented new tools and knowledge, which included core leadership and management competencies, comprehensive business insights, effective management approaches, strategy-driven decision making, and global business leadership, to help participants create meaningful change within their organizations.

During the 5-day bootcamp program, the 22 participants immersed in a full-time learning experience

A bootcamp experience

During the 5-day bootcamp program, the 22 participants immersed in a full-time learning experience, which they learned and stayed together at the campus and the Waterfront Residence respectively. Embedding inquiry-based learning into the core of its innovative pedagogical methods, the program engaged participants by making real world connections through exploration and high-level questioning, thus, encouraging self-study and activating the problem-solving mindset via experiential learning, reflection, and knowledge transfer.

The program was delivered by the most senior lecturers at Fulbright University Vietnam and distinguished guest speakers from a diverse number of industries including education, technology, entrepreneurship and coaching, which enabled participants’ exposure to multi-dimensional perspectives and practical approaches in order to solve problems in different fields at numerous stages of their organizational development.

Dr. Nguyen Chi Hieu, Coca-Cola Leadership Program’s chief instructor

As the program’s chief instructor who collaborated with the CEI from the very first stage of the curriculum development, Dr. Nguyen Chi Hieu, CEO and Co-founder of IEG Global and also an adjunct faculty member in Economics at Fulbright University Vietnam, shared: “We first assessed the strengths and weaknesses, as well as the development potential of mid-managers who had great potential to take on senior leadership roles in Vietnam-based enterprises. Then, based on the international executive training syllabus whose effectiveness had been proven, we developed our modules to provide participants with the essential skills to solve problems that aligned with the global business evolution, while highlighting particularly factors in the Vietnamese business environment and human resource management”.

In his lectures, Dr. Nguyen Chi Hieu constantly asked participants to solve real world business problems in different industries such as retail, aviation, cosmetics, and fashion, operating in different regions around the globe. Laden with practical business cases, Dr. Nguyen Chi Hieu also urged participants to shape their own leadership style while allowing space for flexibility in unforeseen crises.

Participants were asked to solve real word business challenges

Enhance leadership and management competencies

Besides offering structured business knowledge, the Coca-Cola Leadership Development Program also brought about lectures to enhance leadership and management competencies which were delivered by expert coaches. Coach Luong Ngoc Tien – Founder of One Life Connection Training & Consultancy, impressed participants with her session on mindfulness leadership, its implementation to self-discovery, self-awareness and mindfulness practice, hence, nurturing compassion, enlighten and wisdom to face every challenge in life.

Coach Luong Ngoc Tien delivered a session on mindfulness leadership

Believing that coaching is one of the most crucial responsibilities of a successful leader, CEI collaborated with coaches from LCV such as Coach Dang Le Tram – International Coach Federation (ICF) Professional Certified Coach and Head of Product, Coach and Emotional Intelligence Trainer at LCV, and Coach Doan Huynh Van Anh – first Vietnamese Professional Certified Coach by ICF.

Up until now, I’ve always thought that by asking leading questions, I would coach my team members. On the contrary, it was just me wanting them to follow my idea. I did not actively listen to them, nor properly coach them to encourage decision-making and personal development. After completing this [Coca-Cola Leadership Program], I will practice coaching regularly to become a better manager and a far more inspiring leader,” shared one of the participants, Ms. Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao who is currently a Financial Controller at Coca-Cola Vietnam.

The program also invited many special guest speakers, among them Mr. Hoang Nam Tien – Chairman of the Board at FPT Telecom, Mr. Vu Thanh Cong – Vice President of Product & Customer Experience at Mservice (MoMo Ewallet), Ms. Truong Ly Hoang Phi – CEO of Vintech City, Founder and CEO of Business Startup Support Centre and Mr. Ryan Galloway – Country Director at Funding Societies Vietnam. With valuable insider business information from their many years of accumulated experience in leadership roles among numerous industries, they brought the program up to a new level by stimulating participants’ exposure to real world insights ranging from innovation, design thinking to the psychology of leadership.

The lectures were highly interactive with multiple activities

Dr. Nguyen Nam – Faculty and Director of the Vietnam Studies Center, and Dr. Michael Rosen – Adjunct Professor at Fulbright University Vietnam also gave a lecture at the Coca-Cola Leadership Program. Providing a new look on the philosophy of leadership from the perspective of religion in Vietnam, Dr. Nguyen Nam enlightened participants with in-depth explanations of an ethical leader who had strong values and a clear vision, the ten duties of rulers (Dasa Raja Dharma) in Buddhism and the critical connection between national culture and corporate culture in the core values of organizational leadership.

On the other hand, Dr. Michael Rosen led a roundtable discussion in which he moderated dialogues revolved around the roles of a leader. With years of experience in education and entrepreneurial businesses, Dr. Rosen also encouraged Coca-Cola’s future leaders to regularly reflect on their own management progress while giving them the most valuable advice.

Incubate and accelerate Vietnamese ventures

The Coca-Cola Leadership Program was given a Net Promoter Score of 4.7, with a 4.9 out of 5 going to the organizational quality and training activities on the last day.

Participants presented their initiatives

Mr. Pham Quynh, a participant who is the Digital Solutions Manager at Coca-Cola Vietnam shared: “I highly appreciate how interconnected the program was designed, from the problems that we need to find a feasible solution for, to a spiderweb of insights from different business aspects at any stage of the product life cycle, to coaching sessions in which we practiced our coaching and management competencies. Instead of being just a functional manager within our team, we were put in the shoes of a leader who need to solve unprecedented challenges for the whole organization.”

Participants were put in the shoes of organizational leaders

The Coca-Cola Leadership Program is one of many CEI efforts to incubate and accelerate Vietnamese ventures going after Vietnam and the region’s toughest challenges. Ms. Huynh Thi Ngoc Truc – Vice President, Country Head of People at Coca-Cola Vietnam said: “Two years ago when we started having meetings with CEI to develop the training curriculum, we looked for an executive program that enabled functional mid-managers at Coca-Cola Vietnam to grow into organizational leaders. Covid-19 was an unprecedented event that prevented the program from being executed until now. Nevertheless, it was an awakening call to us all to realize that we are now living in a VUCA world in which Coca-Cola needs to prepare its people with essential skills to tackle the toughest challenges that may yet to emerge. Our senior leaders at Coca-Cola need to be curious, empowered, inclusive and agile to “Refresh the world. Make a difference”.”

The 22 Coca-Cola participants at Fulbright University Vietnam’s Crescent campus

About The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) is Fulbright University Vietnam’s first University Center.

The CEI is Fulbright’s flagship effort to embed entrepreneurship and innovation into the core of Fulbright’s culture and academic program. The CEI also offers impactful learning opportunities on entrepreneurship and innovation for stakeholders across Vietnamese society and the region, including non-Fulbright students, professionals, startups, companies, and members of the general public. In time, as both the CEI and Fulbright University Vietnam grow, the CEI will incubate and accelerate ventures going after Vietnam and the region’s toughest challenges.

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