An Interview of Ngoc T.B. Nguyen: A Woman Entrepreneur

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The entrepreneur
The entrepreneur I choose to interview is a well-known and respectable woman in the tourism-hospitality industry in Vietnam. Her name is Ngoc T.B. Nguyen. There are now many different definitions for the word entrepreneur and entrepreneurship, the definition of entrepreneur as the ‘risk taker’ might be the one that suits her best. Born in 1963, this woman has spent more than 10 years in the Tourist industry and has since then been an inspirational model for many young adults in her hometown. Nguyen started to work for a local hotel as a receptionist at the age of 20. At this time, because of many reasons, she finished high school but could not pursue her dream of studying higher. Not giving up, Nguyen kept working hard and eventually got into a university majoring in English Literature. Full time working and part-time studying, by the end of the course, she got promoted to be a Reception Manager. “To be honest, at this time, I wasn’t very sure about my future career nor was I sure about whether this was my dream job. What I had in mind was to keep working and try my best in order to support my family, my parents because my husband back then was in the army.” Nguyen said during the interview and recalled that was one of her hardest moments. Since then, although she has no previous business background, with her personal effort, an open mind and the willingness to learn, in 2005 she became General Manager and then the Vice President of Yasaka-Saigon Nha Trang Hotel, a holding company established in 1999 as a result of a contract between Vietnam and Japan. For many people, to be where she was 5 years ago would have already been a high achievement. However that was not Nguyen’s case: she decided to quit her high-earned position as vice president and opened her new and very first business venture in 2008: a Tourist and Hospitalism Institute. The entrepreneurial journey

From idea to opportunity
When being asked where she got the idea from, Nguyen said it was simply by listening and observing. However simple that was, it took Nguyen more than half a year to shape the opportunity, complete the research before transforming the business plan into action. Bygrave and Zacharis in the book Entrepreneurship had stated, “The difference between venture success and failure is a function of whether your idea is truly an opportunity.” (1937) Being in the industry and having worked her way to being the second highest position in the company, Nguyen knew nearly everything about the demand of the industry; but she did not want to gamble with one of the most important decisions of her life. Before quitting the job, Nguyen spent most of the time conducting a well-constructed market research stressing on three aspects: the market, the customers and the competitors. Vietnam today is an ideal tourist destination as the number of tourists’ arriving to the country is expected to increase. Moreover, the country is an emerging and developing market that attracts many investors. Being a source as well as a destination market, the Vietnamese tourism industry has grown nearly twice as fast as GDP in recent years, contributing approximately 13.1% of the GDP in 2009, despite the financial crisis. ((Industry Research Solutions 2010). With a seaside city like Nha Trang, Nguyen’s hometown, new hotels and resorts, restaurants are built at a surprising pace. This requires a large need for professional employees leading to the trends of students studying in hospitality and tourism subjects in local universities. Once having an overview of the market, Nguyen was left with the question whether the opportunity was large enough. Another research had been conducted on the Vietnamese education in general and the teaching of the course in particular, Nguyen concluded that the teaching and learning of Tourism and Hospitality was not practical enough and there were no government based institutes or universities that provided the course. After...
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