Winter Term 2013: Singapore/Vietnam – January 11, 2013

The Journey to Asia Begins—Vietnam and Singapore (Day One)

A group of JD and MBA students, led by four faculty members from both the Elon graduate business and law school, embark on a 10-day visit to Vietnam and Singapore. The study-abroad trip is a component of an International Business course—a joint venture between the two professional programs—that utilizes the experiential learning approach in the education of the business, legal and cultural challenges facing two uniquely different countries in Asia.

The goal of the course is to provide students with the opportunity to work collaboratively across professional programs and to integrate their expertise in addressing the business and legal implications of conducting business in Vietnam and Singapore, guided by the expert facilitation of distinguished professors in this learning process. Field study involves research, daily personal interactions with locals, company visits, and cultural excursions to better understand the complexities that exist through the interplay of the cultural, legal and economic dynamics.

Over the next ten days the team will divide their time between the emerging country of Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam and the exemplary and well-established market of Singapore, “The Lion-City.” This field work will provide the basis for an interesting comparison and contrasting study of these intriguing economies to that of the U.S.

During our pre-trip January meeting, student groups presented their background research on business/legal topics and on the companies to be visited while abroad, in an effort to gain a greater awareness of the current state of various overseas corporations.

The team began their journey on January 10th with an early morning 8:45 am United Airlines departure out of the Raleigh-Durham International airport.

The second-leg of the trip was a connection through Newark International Airport with an approximately 5-hour layover, which provided a wonderful time of fellowship. The flight out of Newark was originally scheduled to depart at 3:35 pm, but due to a plane delay our actual departure was not until 5:20 pm that made our estimated time of arrival into Hong-Kong at 10:24 pm. This provided only a brief period to make our expected 11:00 pm connection into Vietnam.

Interestingly, our plane took a polar route across the North Pole and then coursed south into Hong Kong. We arrived in Hong Kong and were able to take the last flight of the day out at 12:30 am arriving in Ho Chi Minh City at 1:55 am on Friday, January 11. After collecting our bags we were greeted by our wonderful host “Queenie” who directed our pick-up and transportation by bus to our hotel location for much needed rest before days of work and exploration.

Travel to Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City) was fabulous and largely uneventful. Of course, there were the minor, yet joyous and inherent challenges of international travel—flight delays, fluctuations in plane cabin temperature, anxiety concerning the status of checked baggage, and time-change adjustments. We are all very grateful to have arrived safely on day-one of our venture. Frequent the MBA Blog and stay tuned over the course of the next week and a half as we make a fascinating trek through the culture and society of Vietnam and Singapore.

Written by: Daniel Newby


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