More than 300 promising communicators have graduated from RMIT International University Vietnam's Professional Communication program since its establishment five years ago, with the vast majority clinching jobs in the rapidly growing communication industry.
RMIT University Vietnam's President Professor Joyce Kirk said while the university had predicted there would be strong demand for well-educated communicators in Vietnam, the success of its Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communication) completely surpassed all expectations.
"The program started from humble beginnings in October 2008 at RMIT Vietnam Saigon South with an initial intake of 51 students and three lecturers," Professor Kirk said.
"Today, we boast more than 300 alumni, about 300 current students, and 19 lecturers across Saigon South and Hanoi where the Professional Communication program was first offered in June 2012.
The leader of the Professional Communication program, Conrad Ożóg, reported that RMIT University is regarded as one of the top 100 providers in communication studies globally according to the QS World University Rankings in 2012.
Graduates have secured positions such as account executives, copywriters, social media co-ordinators, event managers, communication consultants with an array of employers including AVC Edelman, Square Communication Group, the United Nations, Unilever, T&A Ogilvy and Ogilvy Mather, DDB, Bates CHI, Yan TV, Diageo, Elle and FreislandCampina.
"RMIT Vietnam partners with communication agencies and departments locally and regionally to provide students with up-to-date work integrated learning experiences, field trips and internships, industry contacts and guest speakers, mentors and networking opportunities that often lead to future employment" Mr Ożóg said.
He said students developed capabilities and skills in corporate communications, advertising, professional writing and editing and in related fields associated with public relations and advertising.
"Our multicultural team of teachers, globally focused teaching practice and resources combined with local understanding prepare our students and graduates for work both in Vietnam and overseas."
Industry has been quick to recognise the strengths of the Professional Communication program. Award-winning advertising agency Bates Vietnam Managing Director Tue T. Nguyen described graduates as "smart, confident and not afraid to approach others to introduce themselves."
"RMIT is definitely one of the top universities in Vietnam. Their graduates are very open-minded and quite sharp in challenging the norm. It is always good to see a confident yet humble attitude in a fresh graduating class," Mr Nguyen said.
The program's first full-time lecturer, Patrick Sharbaugh, described the program's first semester at the end of 2008 as "exciting and frightening".
"Nobody knew if Professional Communication would make it, if there would be any interest out there. We had to build the whole program from the ground up," Mr Sharbaugh said.
"Now our students are the envy of RMIT Vietnam. Our teachers are consistently recognised as being among the best RMIT has to offer. Industry leaders are fighting for our graduates as they are in such high demand. We've shown not just RMIT and our students, but all of Vietnam, that excellent communication is not just a trade: it is a philosophy of life and a lifelong practice."
Mr Ożóg said the program would continue to develop into the future on the back of its commitment to providing well qualified industry professionals able to contribute to the development of the local communication industry.
"In light of a recent explosion in the number of communication agencies and communication roles available, we remain very keen to keep abreast of the latest industry and teaching trends and ensure that our students' learning is on the cutting edge and the best it can possibly be," Mr Ożóg said.
To celebrate the five-year milestone, numerous events are being held including a dinner for industry and alumni, a symposium on client and agency relationships and a barbeque for current students.