RMIT students Vu Hoang Trung and Vu Mạnh Ha have won first prize at the ASEAN Data Science Explorer (ASEANDSE) for an idea that utilises data analytics to improve ethnic minority capabilities and benefit ASEAN economies.
Enhancing ethnic minority capabilities is rarely mentioned in ASEAN’s future growth planning as the focus is normally on preserving minority cultures.
“We believe our topic is unique - empowering ethnic minorities in ASEAN economically, by giving them more opportunities via technology-enabled education and by expanding local industries,” Trung said.
Trung and Ha, both studying a Bachelor of Business (Economics & Finance), were inspired while on their student exchange at an RMIT campus in Australia where they noticed data analytics had grown into a field in its own right.
“[ASEANDSE] was a great opportunity to expand the knowledge acquired in undergraduate courses and self-study, to gain exposure to SAP software and to know what economic policy consulting for ASEAN is like,” Trung explained.
Trung believed that their competitive edge came from their detailed 10-year action plan which outlined how countries can implement their ideas.
“Having created such a detailed initiative for ethnic minorities, we both really hope to continue on with it and create a large, positive social impact for the ASEAN region,” Trung said.
Apart from travelling to Thailand for the competition, Trung and Ha said the competition’s highlight was meeting an impressive network of people from students throughout Asia to representatives from ASEAN, SAP and the UN.
“We got to discuss our idea with those in power to help make our vision for minorities come true, [we] got to tour the UN building in Thailand and attend workshops there, along with many other networking activities,” Trung said.
The competition enabled Trung and Ha to further enhance their data analytics and SAP software knowledge, gain experience presenting to a niche audience and grow immensely from interacting with mentors, judges and fellow students at the event.
“All of our fellow students [should] seek exposure to diverse fields and cultures. Get out of your comfort zones, search for whatever way to learn what you’re passionate about, such as a competition as a way to open doors, and time will tell how far you can go,” Trung advised.
Story: Jamila Ahmed