The more you put into something, the more you'll get in return.
This is true of most things, and most true when talking about university studies. RMIT Vietnam students from the Hanoi campus have been making the most of this old adage in recent weeks, by participating in a number of global competitions - and winning.
The students, who participated in the Neilsen Case Study Competition and the SIFE Business Project Competition respectively, have shown that university is more than just a place to read books and attend lectures. University is a place to get involved with the community; a place to begin building the networks that will hold you in good stead when you enter the workforce; a place to look beyond your own world view and experience what the rest of the world has to offer.
One way to do this, is by participating in events that will put you in contact with people from other countries, with different sets of experiences. Another is to build relationships with key people from multinational corporations - some of the biggest employers of RMIT Vietnam students.
The Neilsen Case Study Competition: Be proactive to stay ahead
Global market research company Nielsen (previously known as AC Nielsen) are all about helping some of the world's largest brands solve their biggest marketing problems - not an easy task by anyone's standards. The Nielsen Case Study Competition aims to help students prepare a for a career in the rapidly changing business environment by enhancing their creativity and problem solving skills under intense time pressure. The competition requires students to work from a suite of slides filled with data and provide firstly an analysis of the case, and then, more importantly, innovative recommendations for how the company in question could solve their problems.
The panel of judges, this year consisting of Nielsen's Managing Director and other senior managers, were looking for the team with the whole package - strong analysis, savvy recommendations, an ability to work as a team and think on their feet, and a flair for presentation that was persuasive, genuine, and polished, in spite of the short, 18 hour time frame in which the teams had to prepare. They found those attributes in the RMIT Hanoi team.
All team members agreed that the knowledge and skills they had acquired by studying at RMIT contributed tremendously to their success in the competition, especially regarding their research skills, market analysis, rich references and SMART recommendations with strong justifications.
"Three days of hardly any sleep - just us against the data, the figures, the questions. And our effort paid off," said Tran Phuong Chi, a member of RMIT Hanoi's winning team following the announcement.
"That winning moment when they called our team, I was extremely proud of us. The people I've been fortunate to work with in this competition are amazing - it's an amazing experience we've been through together. I will never, ever forget this moment."
The SIFE Business Project Competition: Use business concepts to change the world
SIFE, which stands for Students in Free Enterprise, is a multinational not-for-profit organisation that brings together student teams from all over the world to collaborate with international business leaders in creating a better, more sustainable wolrd. Each year, SIFE holds first regional, then national, then international business project competitions for student teams to present the projects they've been working on and receive feedback on their ideas from industry leaders at each level. As well as being an excellent opportunity for students to give back to their communities, these competitions put students front and centre before the business avant guarde, who are always in search of emerging talent.
This year, a team from RMIT Hanoi took out the Vietnam national championships and will be heading to the United States in September to participate in the annual SIFE World Cup. According to Mark Peterson, one of the team's mentors and a Commerce lecturer at RMIT Hanoi, the students are well placed for success.
"I think we'll do pretty well. I've watched the presentations of some of the winning teams from previous years - Germany, last year's champions, the USA - and they were phenomenal, they were very good. But our projects are good too," he said.
"Our students, who won the national round, are working hard on a number of great projects - there are always a few different projects going on, some bigger than others - and in terms of their presentation skills, they're very good presenters, very passionate. I think we'll do well."
Mark also discussed the benefits for the students of participation in activities like SIFE.
"Projects like this give students a wider perspective on the world. It gets them off campus and helps them become more aware of what's out there. For many of them, working with those less fortunate, working with people who are physically disabled or living in poverty - this is the first time they've met people in those kinds of circumstances.
"It's a very positive way for our students to have an impact," he added. "At the end of the day, not that many people in the world can say they've made an impact the way these students can."
The SIFE World Cup will be held from September 30th to October 2nd in Washington DC.