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  • Writer's pictureThu Hoang

NGUYÊN BỘ LUẬN VÀ THƯ GIỚI THIỆU FULBRIGHT

5 năm trượt đến lúc chán học thì viết lại luận và đỗ. Không ai 1 bước là tới thành công (Nội dung dưới đây gồm 4 bài: Mục tiêu học tập nghiên cứu, luận cá nhân, và 2 thư giới thiệu 10 năm sau mới thấy mặt). Các bạn có thể đọc rất nhiều thư nhưng lưu ý là luôn phải nối nó vào luận của bản thân nhé (Những chỗ gạch chân)


Còn người này hồi trước chỉ có chút làm liên quan tới nhà nước và giờ đã rất thành công không chỉ ở Việt Nam nữa rồi.


STUDY RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

"In today's global marketplace, complexity and speed are certainties. In such an environment, a good axiom for project management is, Do It, Do It Right, Do It Right Now. Creating clear direction, efficiency, timely response, and quality outcomes requires project managers who are agile - adept at change" - About the Profession, Project Management Institute web site.


After a long period of closing to the rest of the world, Vietnam has awaken itself and tried to get integrated in the world market since 1990s. The face of the country has been changed significantly in every aspect: social, economic, cultural and, of course, technical. Pressure on the development of the country has led to a boom in construction, where infrastructure and other construction works are growing at a speedy rate. For instance, before 1990, the most complex project in Vietnam was Song Da 1,900MW hydroelectric plant. The plant, often called "the project of the century", had been built in more than ten years; and 168 engineers and workers lost their lives during the construction. At the same time, it was broadly known that soil condition in Hanoi could not facilitate construction of any building with 10 floors or above. After only more than a decade, things have changed rapidly. The capital city now has hundreds of modern high-rises with 20-40 floors, while the country has, in five years, safely built Phu My thermal power complex with 4,000MW total capacity, double of that of Song Da. Transition has not only brought new techniques in construction, but more importantly put forward urgent needs on managing construction projects to ensure quality, safety and effectiveness of works.


Graduated from Hanoi University of Civil Engineering in 1996, I started to get used to construction project management since. Although I had gained theoretical background for a civil engineer, the field of project management was somewhat really new to me then. Two months after I got my first job in Hanoi Construction Corporation, I was assigned as a planning engineer for Toyota Assembly Plant construction project. The planning activities were not so complicated but very important, because it affected the whole process of the project. I worked with my colleagues and sub-contractors, and tried my best to consult with my partners to make a construction plan that everybody agreed to and complied with. This very first experience triggered my interest in project management. I read about it, learnt about it through my work. Different projects delivered to me new experiences of project management skills. I was evoked at new types and scales of projects. The bigger and the more difficult a project was, the more I could learn from it. In 1998, I moved to work for the project for improvement of Bach Mai hospital in Hanoi under direct supervision of Japanese managers. Their carefulness and seriousness helped me a lot to gain more effective tools and approaches in project activities that I could apply to various types of construction works. I gradually achieved trust and recognition in every project I worked with, and was recommended to new ones by my job supervisors and partners.


Time by time, my professionalism grew with the project involvement I experienced. Upon the completion of the hospital project, I made my way in 2000 to be coordinator of three major packages for the owner of the biggest project in Vietnam - the First Refinery in Dung Quat. I coordinated with my colleagues to make overall schedule, prepared invitation to bid documents, identified potential bidders to call, communicated to clarify any queries from them, assessed their bid proposals and negotiated terms and conditions of contracts before signing. To me, the job position was very challenging, but very interesting as well.

University taught me technical backgrounds in civil engineering, and work experience showed me fundamentals of management through project activities. My jobs in the next projects - civil quality control manager for a Swiss consulting company, and then construction manager for a Korean company - helped me to realize more clearly a weakness in the country's major construction projects, as most of them required the presence of foreign consulting firms. It is not because local engineers are lack of technical background or professional skills. The bottom line is that most Vietnamese project managers do not have deep nor overall knowledge of project management. Many of them are from engineering disciplines, and they know well, for instance, how to build a house or to erect a heavy structure. But when it comes to management aspects of projects, they fail to understand even basic principles in project management, leaving projects at mess or being phased out of contract. I witnessed such situations happening to contractors and counterparts in the project, and decided, in late 2005, to go my own way - to join and take part in the board of directors of a local consulting and construction company, where I can help the company to provide international standard services for construction projects.


I am now at a very important stage of my professional career. Having been deputy director of a consulting and construction company for more than a year, I am making a big milestone in my career. We have completed several projects with local and foreign clients. Most recently, my company, as a turn-key contractor, has successfully designed and built a diamond polishing factory for Tiffany & Co., the world-famous American jewelry company. I, as the project manager, have managed the project implementation to the investor's satisfaction. We will handover this quality project in May 2007 as scheduled. Towards further success in my current and future positions, a combination of solid technical knowledge and strong foundation and skills in management is a must. To this end, deeper understanding of various aspects of project management, such as management of project integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk and procurement would help me to reach my desire. A study of Master of Science with major in project management will definitely help me to link my current expertise, construction management experiences with modern management approaches. I want to obtain this objective in the United States, a country with substantial background in management, high quality of education; where new ideas and practical techniques of the field are emerging day by day.


PERSONAL STATEMENT

"There are decisions you have to make in life. Remember that these are your own decisions. There is trade-off in decisions you make. Be confident about your own choice. Once you have made your mind, just go for it and be responsible for it". I still remember what my father said to me when I was 11 years old, hesitating whether to take the reward to go with him on his trip to a beach that I had been tried for for a long time or to stay for the final match with my school soccer team. After ten minutes of consideration, I told him that I decided to stay with my team for the match. My brother could replace me for the trip but the team needed their captain forward in the final. I missed the trip, which was a desire of many teenagers, the one my brother kept describing how wonderful it was for weeks later. But I did not regret. I was very proud that my team won the final, and I was a part of the triumph with two decisive goals. Even though the award, which costed me the trip, was just enough for us to buy one ice cream for each player, the joy of being a part of the team that clinched the title was so strong that I did not regret at all about my decision.


It was the very first "difficult decision" I made. It was the first time I had to take responsibility for what I did, the first time I thought about being a part of a team and a leader of a team. It was also the first time I really got confidence in myself.


I could say for sure that at turning points of my life, I am able to take responsibilities and challenges, making my own decisions with the confidence I built up from my early age. I have my strength, skills and aspiration to learn. I can do what I want to achieve my goals with my confidence.


Just ten days after graduating Hanoi University of Civil Engineering in 1996, I started my career in Hanoi Construction Corporation, a leading State-owned firm. Inexperienced but enthusiastic, I tried my best to learn from actual works. I worked hard to help setting up systems of planning, scheduling, controlling site works as well as documents for bidding activities. My work received high appreciation from my leaders and colleagues. When my direct supervisor, the deputy director of the company, moved out to lead a project management unit for building a big cement plant and wanted me to join the unit, I was thrilled with the new challenge. But the company's director disallowed the move, as he did not want me to work out of his control. It was a tough time for such a young engineer like me. If I denied to follow the director's command, I would not be able to work in the company nor could I easily find another job at the time of Asian economic crisis 1997-1999. But I decided that I wanted to move on to a new environment where I could learn new things rather than working in someone's shadow. After that, I submitted a letter of resignation to the director and started looking for a new job.


A month later, I read a newspaper advertisement of a site engineer position in Toda Corporation, the Japanese general contractor of the project for improvement of Bach Mai hospital, the biggest foreign investment project in Hanoi at that time. This was a desirable workplace for any local engineer at the time of crisis. I decided to apply. After three-round recruitment process, I was selected for the final interview with the management. The site manager, Mr. Matsumoto, told me, "We are impressed by your skills and abilities, so we will take you to the project. But I am quite concerned with your age. You will be the youngest engineer in the company, while you will have to supervise complicated works which may require someone more senior with more experience. As we give you a chance to take this challenge, try your best". Keen on learning and hard working, I soon gained trust from the management and colleagues. Management board wanted to take me as their permanent staff - a life stable job with the company after the completion of the hospital project. Colleagues came to congratulate me. Family members were so happy for my opportunity. However, I had another challenge ahead - a three-year contract to work in another discipline: the First Refinery, the biggest project in Vietnam at that time, with total estimated investment of 1.3 billion USD. Decided to face the new challenge, I had to deal with many aspects of project management. In the beginning, everything was new to me. I had never worked in oil refinery field before, nor had I ever been involved in too many management activities in such a big project. I then tried my best to get used to the situation. I read lots of project management documents and participated in various activities of the project, and learnt from colleagues and supervisors. Just after six months, I was promoted to be the leader of a project coordination team. I dealt with a bulk of three big packages with fifteen potential bidders, traveled back and force 900km every month from project site to headquarter, set up coordination procedures and followed up to ensure the works run smoothly. And my efforts were appreciated with consecutive annual rewards for excellent work performance from the company.


After three years in the refinery project, I found that I needed new challenges. From mid-2003 to mid-2004, I worked as civil quality control manager for a Swiss consulting firm in Uong Bi 300MW Extension Power project. From mid-2004 to late 2005, I was construction manager of Youngone Namdinh manufacturing complex project, invested by a leading textile and garment corporation from Korea. And since early 2006, I have been deputy director of a local company, and also assigned as manager of the most important project of the company - the project to design and build a diamond polishing factory for the US jewelry firm Tiffany & Co.

Over the years of work, I have teamed up with a strong network of colleagues and friends who have the same goal and direction: work smartly and professionally. We have shared together not only technical issues but also our visions, future plans, aspiration and determination to make ourselves more and more professional. Now we work together for a local company, specialized in providing professional services for construction projects, with the motto of high quality and professionalism. I was a forward in my childhood soccer team, and now I want to be the first striker out of local companies. I want to be a successful leader of a team that brings together international standard technical and management advices with the expertise we have in local construction section.


REFERENCE 1 - CONSTRUCTION MANAGER (BOSS AND EUROPEAN)

I am writing this letter of reference as per applicant name's request for his application for a Fulbright scholarship.


Being a professional consultant for construction projects, I have been working in South East Asian countries for years. When I first came to Vietnam in October 2003 for Uong Bi 300MW Extension Power Plant project, my first impression about local counterparts was not so good.

Compared to my previous local counterparts in Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia, the Vietnamese ones seemed much less professional, as they, for example, often came late to work or to meetings, kept documents in messy conditions, did not prepare well enough for site work performance. With those counterparts, I then thought that it would be the toughest task ever for me in this region.


But I had to change such a negative thought immediately when I met applicant name in our site office. He had not only very good background in technical matters but also professionalism in project management activities. Smart, punctual, applicant name prepared very well all construction plans, quality control procedures and other documents before starting any work. At job site, he worked hard, checked carefully construction activities in terms of quality. As a Civil Quality Control Manager, he helpfully assisted me in fulfilling my role of a Construction Manager.


In terms of project management, we had some other Vietnamese line managers. To me, their technical skills and experience were good enough. However, to be "real managers" but not only "technical manager", they seemed unqualified. They did not really know how to prepare a good plan, how to follow and control it, or how to have preventive or recovery actions in case the plan phased out. But applicant name did.


I remember one day a site engineer from the owner, Electricity of Vietnam, intended to stop our on-going concrete pouring for a big machine foundation because we did not submit quality control plan for this work to them. If we had to stop, this would be very costly and waste of time as we would have to demolish it and pour concrete again. Our site manager did not know how to solve this matter. Then applicant name came, showed the owner's engineer all required documents, such as quality certificates of cement, steel reinforecement, aggregates etc. He also showed a transmittal of the certificates, with signature of another site engineer from the owner, dated two weeks before. This proved our compliance to quality plan, and that the owner had better to allow us to continue concreting. If Hung had not prepared so well for the work, we would have had a big problem.


I was also impressed of his adaptability to new situations. In the first 6 months of the project, when we had not found a suitable secretary and interpreter to employ, we faced big difficulties in communication between owner, consultants, contractors and local authorities. Applicant name, while still did very well his technical works, willingly took secretarial duties. He translated in meetings, prepared correspondences, filed and controlled very well all documents in and out. His lingual and secretarial skills were so good that even our partners from the U.S. or Europe were surprised, especially when they knew that applicant name was actually an engineer that had never learnt English abroad.


Working very well in our project and receiving high appreciation from colleagues, but applicant name decided to move to another project. I know that applicant name needs new challenges in his new position. I believe he has so far performed very well in the new position. And when he talked to me about his application for a Master of Science degree in Project Management in the U.S., I am convinced that applicant name will achieve useful knowledge through the study and will continue his success upon returning to Vietnam.


REFERENCE 2 - MANAGER OF PLANNING AND CONSTRUCTIONS (PARTNER AND KOREAN)

I am writing this letter in reference to applicant name and his request for application for a Fulbright schorlarship. I am employed by Tiffany and Company, a high end jewelry retailer based in the United States and across the globe. Two years ago Tiffany Co., set out to build a new 4,500 square meter Diamond Polishing factory in Hai Duong Province to relocate from the old existing factory and initially set out to find a company with a proven track record of quality construction in Vietnam.


Accustomed to a high level of construction standards typical of Western means and methods, our company set out to commission a Japanese company named Obayashi, whose worldwide presence and proven history of quality construction was known. Due to constraints on our construction budget, Tiffany Co. started to refocus on hiring a local Vietnamese construction company which typically have a lower cost and therefore assumed a lower quality of construction when compared to Japanese or European based companies. As we neared the completion of the project we now know that this assumption was not correct as we will be receiving a building of a higher quality than we ever imagined when the project started and I honestly believe that it was due to all the positive attributes of Mr. Applicant name. Extremely intelligent, sound judgement, willingness to accept criticism and to learn from them, honesty and integrity. The upper level management have monitored this project from the beginning and are amazed that so much was achieved in so little time and with very minor complications.


When I met Mr. applicant name and his associates for the interview as a potential company we would use I was impressed by his comprehension and speaking of the English language. I discovered afterwards that he had no formal exposure abroad. I also was impressed by the fact that when a question was asked of him, he first listens intently and then thinks things through in his own mind prior to providing an answer in a very rational, pragmatic manner.

Due to the great distance between Vietnam and the United States it was not possible for me to monitor the construction regularly and being that I was limited to three or four trips for the entire duration of the project, we hired an owners representative to oversee the construction.

During that time Mr. applicant name was asked to demolish and reconstruct certain elements of the construction due to what we perceived as poor quality and at first there was friction between our owner’s representative and Mr. applicant name but I believe that once it was evident to Mr. applicant name that there was a great deal to be gained by accepting the constructive criticism. He realized that he learned something new and he did not let emotion and pride overrule sound judgement and his appetite to learn new things grew and grew.

One of the most admiring aspects was his honesty and integrity. There were many times when he was asked to do things which were in addition to the scope of construction and the agreed costs but yet he proceeded to do the work at no additional cost. On numerous occasions he had the opportunity to impose additional costs to the project but did not do so. If the level of integrity that Mr. applicant name exhibited throughout the project was instilled into many of us, we would be better people than we currently are. I could continue to write multiple pages listing the positive attributes of Mr. applicant name and why he should have the privilege and honor of a Fulbright Scholarship but what I am certain of is that the knowledge gained studying and living in the U.S. would not only benefit Mr. applicant name but would benefit all those individuals who will be fortunate to have contact with him thereafter.


I wish him the best success in his endeavours and hope he is given the opportunity.




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