The final group of RMIT Vietnam engineers with Masters scholarships from Intel and the Australian Government graduated last week, and their opinion of the scholarships is unanimous: they could not have afforded the study without them.
Seventy nine engineers wore their royal blue hoods on graduation day, full of simple pride in their achievement - but when they talk about the advantages of gaining the Engineering Masters degree, their replies are more complex.
They all know the degree is a pathway to a higher-level, better-paid future career and so facilitate a better lifestyle for their families. They know the degree's accreditation by Engineers Australian makes overseas employment a possibility. But there is more.
Tran Hoang Khuong says he believes the degree prepared him for challenges in his work environment at Intel: "I'm well-equipped not only with technical knowledge but managerial skills such as time management, team work and report writing and presentation," he said.
That emphasis on soft skills impressed many of the engineers, including Intel engineers Uong Dinh An and Huynh Pham Ngoc Tram.
"Engineers do not work alone," Tram said.
"Soft skills like team work, communication and negotiation are important. We are well-prepared thanks to the program."
Bui Minh Hieu, who gained a scholarship from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), now is doing PhD research at RMIT.
He believes the masters degree boosted his confidence: "It connected me to a network of professionals in my field and gave me a good view of global technology development."
Another important aspect was RMIT Vietnam's English speaking environment.
According to Nguyen Dang Quoc Anh, originally from Danang and now working for Intel: "Having completed the courses in English is useful when you work in real industry," he said.
"If you are good at English you possess a key to be promoted in your job."
Vo Phuoc Hau, who gained a scholarship from DFAT and works for hearing aid company Phonak, also commented on the degree's international standards:
"We collaborate with people from our group company, Sonova, in Switzerland. They all have a high educational background so their working style is scientific and professional.
"The Master of Engineering has trained me in that working style so I can adapt well."
It's clear that having the Master of Engineering qualification has the potential to make a difference in these engineers' lives, but for DFAT scholarship holder Nguyen Anh Viet who hopes to begin PhD research in two years, the effect is also immediate:
"It gave me a clear vision of why I do what I do," he said.