An innovative program has allowed a group of RMIT Vietnam students to collaborate with contemporaries from around the world to create an online business plan and international marketing campaign.
According to Bryan Urbsaitis, a professional communication lecturer at the School of Communication & Design, the project involved three campuses: RMIT Vietnam Saigon South, RMIT Melbourne, and Kirkwood Community College, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in the United States.
“There were two classes at the American school, a business class and a marketing class,” Urbsaitis said. “In Australia there’s another professor who is running a marketing/advertising class and then there’s us running the interdisciplinary communications project.”
In total, about 100 students across the three schools were broken up into ten teams. “They worked on a semester-long project for our client, which is a Vietnamese leather company called Neyuh,” Urbsaitis explained. “Their goal was to increase sales outside of Vietnam, in the US and Australian markets.”
By using free digital tools such as Google Hangouts and Skype, the students coordinated to work on their tasks. Urbsaitis believed this allowed the groups to have a study abroad experience without having to leave their respective cities.
“It was exciting for students to be able to interact with their peers…they got to know each other’s cultures,” he said.
Dinh Ha Van, a Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communication) student, shared that the teams gained experience in working with people from different cultures and countries. “Sometimes, we had misunderstandings with [students from] the other two countries and worked them out through chatting with each other,” she said.
Van added that they learned practical real-world skills such as communication and time management skills.
In mid-May, several students from the US and Australia visited Vietnam to pitch the final project to Neyuh, along with their Vietnamese colleagues.
Urbsaitis felt that the course, the first of its kind at RMIT Vietnam, was a success. “There were bumps in the road, there were challenges, but at the end of the day I think what we saw created here, with five faculty working across three campuses, continents and time zones, was a global project which…created interactions and moments of authenticity.”
Story: Michael Tatarski