Goodbye Vietnam

Today is the last day of the GIP Vietnam and we will end tonight with the Farewell Dinner at a typical Vietnamese restaurant. The last two days in Hanoi have been amazing. We have had the opportunity not only to visit local companies, but also to meet the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and to see the most important historic places of the city.

Yesterday we started our Hanoi trip with the visit to Metlife, the insurance company, where the local CEO explained us the challenges and the potential of a country where the life insurance penetration is very low, but it is expected to rapidly grow in the next few years.

Then, we made a very interesting historic tour. We started visiting the Hoa Lo Prison, originally built by the French and then used during the war against the Americans. After that, we visited the Temple of Literature and the buildings around the Presidential Palace and the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum.

We ended the day meeting the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs to speak about international trade and relations, especially with China and US. It has been an honor and a privilege to meet one of the main politicians of the country, who is a Columbia SIPA Alumnus.

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Today we visited Vietcombank, one of the top three Vietnamese banks, and we appreciated the huge untapped potential that the banking system represents in Vietnam.

Then we moved to the US Embassy where we met in small groups local entrepreneurs and students that wanted to ask us advice for their businesses and future careers. During this talk, I have personally felt the great privilege for being part of the MBA program and I have seen this opportunity as a “give back” experience. Talking with the students I understood how much was important for them to learn good English and to study in the US to enrich their background, a privilege that I am experiencing myself as an international student in New York.

Concluding this Vietnamese experience, the first one for me in Asia, I personally believe that each of us will bring back great learning and memories from the trip. Goodbye Vietnam!

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Elena Richermo ’18

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