The First Vietnamese to Win a Fulbright Scholarship in Human Resources
Getting a full scholarship while studying abroad is probably the dream of many young people. The scholarship is not only a form of financial support, and recognition of one's capacity, but also allows one to step out into a new world, expand networks and increase specialized knowledge.
Recently, Mac Thanh Tuyen (28 years old) has won a full scholarship in human resources from the US government. Notably, Tuyen has a stable job with many years of experience working in multinational corporations. Before that, the young academic also graduated with two bachelor's degrees from the Foreign Trade University of Vietnam and Colorado State University (the US).
|The best keywords to describe him are probably “talented, visionary, and ambitious”. (Photo: Kenh 14)|
Step Back to Go Further
After earning 2 bachelor's degrees in the advanced program of two universities, Tuyen chose Ho Chi Minh City as the destination to start his career. Despite studying a different major, his success in the field of human resources surprises many people. At the age of 28, Tuyen is financially independent and becomes a manager at multinational corporations.
After weighing up all opportunities, he decided to quit his job and prepare his application to study abroad. This decision was made when Ho Chi Minh City entered the second phase of social distancing. For many people, having a stable job and securing finance is the priority at that time.
|Tuyen graduated from two universities and is currently working as a manager in an international corporate. (Photo: Kenh 14)|
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed his thinking about the labor market. Tuyen realized that the outbreak of the pandemic caused more challenges in the field of human resources when most employees were severely affected by this pandemic. He struggles in the search for the answer: how all employees can fully recover from Covid-19, how to protect minorities, create policies to ensure their safe life…
"I start thinking about human resource solutions to keep abreast of the global trends, reduce wasted time and increase work efficiency during the pandemic. In the process, I found myself mainly approaching the work according to personal experiences, lacking the application of in-depth researched HR models and solutions. Then I realized the urgent need to learn more", Tuyen shared.
|The Covid-19 pandemic has changed his thinking about the labor market. (Photo: Kenh 14)|
Even though these 2 years of studying abroad may slow him down at work, Tuyen still believes that it is a "springboard" to achieve greater success in his career.
"After 5-6 years of working in the field, a question that I always ask myself is whether I should continue working to gain practical experience or go back to school to gain background knowledge about the industry. Then I realized I need to go to school because if I have a solid knowledge base, I can take my job further."
The Journey to a Fulbright Scholarship
In September 2021, Tuyen and 20 Vietnamese candidates were announced by the Admissions Council to be accepted for a Fulbright scholarship, with funding from the US Government. His Master's scholarship covers full tuition, a monthly stipend, round-trip airfare to the US, and health insurance.
In more than 30 years since this scholarship program was established, Tuyen is the first Vietnamese to be awarded a full scholarship in Human Resource Management. It is known that the HR industry is categorized in the business sector with a highly competitive rate due to a huge number of applications every year.
Recalling the time when he was preparing for the application, Tuyen had a tough time when no one he knew had ever won this scholarship. Besides, amid a stressful time of the epidemic, when he had to stay at home for a long time, Tuyen's psychology has also been affected.
Candidates need to go through two competitive rounds, the Application and the Interview.
|He decided to quit his job and prepare his application to study abroad.(Photo: Kenh 14)|
In the first round, Tuyen needed to prepare the essay and related documents that the admission committee requires. Tuyen said that he was challenged and troubled the most in the essay. At first, he chose a fairly safe topic when talking about the work he was doing. Then, he realized the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the spiritual and material lives of employees, especially minority employees such as women, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community.
"In the essay, I mentioned the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the employees and suggested solutions, including policies to turn the office into a place of equality, how to ensure the maximum benefits of minority groups, and how to help businesses recover after the pandemic...
I submitted my application during the 2nd time Ho Chi Minh City apply social distancing, so the essay was very updated. During that time, many businesses had to suspend their operations, reduce the number of employees or allow their staff to work from home. My essay provides an approach for businesses to stay afloat during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Not knowing many people who have won Fulbright scholarships, Tuyen updated information from the media and researched inequality in the labor market. For the essay to have an objective perspective and be suitable for the changes in the market, Tuyen also met and discussed with experts in the industry, asked for advice, and adjusted it to fit in his essay.
|Thanks to his good preparation, Tuyen has excellently won a full scholarship. (Photo: Kenh 14)|
In the Interview round, Tuyen faced many difficulties due to limited preparation time, and not having any companion or advisor to give practical advice.
He began to contact former students at the school to ask for experience and prepared all by himself. A Fulbright interview lasted only 30-45 minutes, with two sets of questions related to the candidate himself, along with essay and professional questions. Tuyen had prepared more than 30 different sets of questions to ensure that there are no unfortunate mistakes that can take place.
"Before the interview, I re-read the essay very carefully. Then I wondered what the admissions officer would ask the writer about his essay. I prepared about 30 questions, and asked a friend of mine to randomly ask to check my reaction”, said Tuyen.
Since the interview with the US Embassy took place online, he determined that the most important thing is that the candidate needs to answer as sharply and concisely as possible. Therefore, he had prepared to be psychologically ready, as well as regularly practiced his voice, manner as well as word emphasises to attract the interviewer.
Thanks to his good preparation, Tuyen has excellently won a full scholarship in the field of human resources management and achieved his goal. Currently, he is handing over unfinished work in Vietnam to prepare for his journey in the US from this August.
|Tuyen plans to return to Vietnam and applies his acquired knowledge to human resource management. (Photo: Kenh 14)|
After finishing his Master's program in the US, Tuyen plans to return to Vietnam and applies his acquired knowledge to human resource management in Vietnam, especially the protection of minorities in businesses.
"The US is home to many headquarters of large corporations in the world. These headquarters are the place to start and develop the pioneering strategies on human rights and human rights protection. Besides that, the US is also a country with a high rate of racial diversity, with a large number of minorities.
In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, what I wonder is whether these groups are protected and what values that US businesses create for everyone to create satisfaction and ensure the interests of the employees," Tuyen shared about the reason for choosing the US, as well as his concerns about the human resources industry.
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