IEE Newsletter No. 25

AlumnIEE: Career Development after Fulfilling Master of Arts in Development Management

After having recently met again with Gabriele Bäcker and Professor Löwenstein during a workshop in Vietnam, MADM graduate Tran Ngoc Diep was happy to share with us about her career since graduating in 2006.

It was a dream come true when I was granted the DAAD scholarship to study the Master in Development Management (MADM) at the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) in Germany, in 2004. It was such a special and precious experience for my professional life.

Before joining the MADM, I was working for the Ministry of Industry and Trade as a trade official, assisting enterprises in trade promotion activities. Information on the Master Programme intrigued me because I considered the contents of the programme to be helpful for developing my career – a consideration that proved true.

The MADM - combining theoretical and practical learning experiences

The MADM equipped me with both theoretical and practical experience for my work. One good thing about the programme was that you could study the concept of development from both social and economic perspectives. I had the opportunity to collaborate with brilliant lecturers from both fields, which I would not have been available to me had I not participated in the programme. This knowledge was an important background for my career development in trade promotion, where you need to understand fully the social and economic needs of the business community.

Besides academic knowledge, the experience of studying in Germany has helped me build personal characteristics that are important for my working life. Now, I know how to deal with challenges and difficulties when specific problems arise. I know how to manage teamwork to ensure the best results.

After graduation, I continued working at my previous job, but was promoted to deputy director of the export promotion division. My duty was to focus on consulting and helping business alliances design their export promotion projects. During that time, I had the chance to continue assisting Vietnamese enterprises in penetrating the German market by providing them with fruitful information and helping them participate effectively in trade fairs in Germany. Thanks to this aspect of my work, I had chance to revisit Germany for some time.

Returning to Germany Thanks to a DAAD Reinvitation Scholarship

As the IEE provided me with a research position at the Institute in 2010, I was then granted a “DAAD reinvitation scholarship” to conduct a short-course research on “How Germany Supports Small and Medium Sized Companies: Lessons for Vietnam”. This reinvitation scholarship allowed me to meet with and interview a number of German companies that provided me with important knowledge about trade policies in Europe for small and medium enterprises, particularly in Germany. After the research, I could come up with initiatives to help Vietnamese small and medium enterprises to make use of various support programmes.

Right after the research period and continuing my career as a trade promotion expert, I was then appointed to work in the Embassy of Vietnam in Belgium, partly due to the relevance of my study background in Germany. My work in the Embassy consisted of continuing to help with business matching between European and Vietnamese enterprises and following the negotiation process of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. My main tasks had a lot to do with development management skills. Again, the MADM courses proved to have equipped me with the necessary skills for my tasks at work. After finishing my contract at the Embassy in 2014, I was promoted to the Head of a Division under the Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, leaving me responsible for helping enterprises in branding and information activities.

After 11 years still keeping in touch

Diep Alumni neu Tran Ngoc Diep (MADM Intake 2004-2006), here with Wilhelm Löwenstein and Gabriele Bäcker during the "Reintegration in Domestic Job Market" workshop organized by the AGEP in Vietnam in 2016.

Although it has been 11 years since I finished the MADM programme, I have continued to maintain contact with the IEE in many aspects. Recently in September 2016, I had the chance to meet my previous lecturers and mentors when they organized a workshop in Vietnam about “Reintegration in Domestic Job Market”. I was invited to come and share my experience as a student of the IEE and how the programme has helped me in my career. At the same time, we also discussed possible continuous collaborations for the future. In the coming time, I plan to conduct another research project with the help of the IEE. The topic will be: “How to help Vietnamese enterprises in building up their company brands for their better business development and higher competitiveness in the market”. I am sure I will continue to receive valuable support from the IEE, which will no doubt be an asset to my career.

by Ms Tran Ngoc Diep

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