Nguyen Huynh Dong, PhD, turned down a high salary in France to return to his hometown and work as a lecturer at the Viet Nam Petroleum Corporation. He talks to Hai Yen about the rationale behind his decision.
Nguyen Huynh Dong, 35, is the secretary of the Youth Union of the PetroVietnam Manpower Training College and author of 16 scientific articles published in prestigious domestic and international magazines. He has also attended 14 international science seminars abroad and received certificates of merit from the People's Committee of the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, the Minister of Trade and Industry and general director of Viet Nam Petroleum Corporation.
Inner Sanctum: You have been highly praised by the Council of Outstanding Young Vietnamese Award thanks to your international scientific articles. Can you share something about this?
In France, I studied the thermodynamic model applied in imitating, designing, calculating and optimising energetic technological processes, especially in producing bio-fuel. Of the articles I had published, the one in the Industrial&Engineering Chemistry Research magazine was the most remarkable. After it was published, I was nominated for the Best European PhD Thesis award in the thermodynamic field, which was the premise for me to expand the research and application in Viet Nam.
My latest achievements resulted from my passion and enthusiasm for science research. I have been asked about my secret but I have none. Each person has his own opportunities and has to try his best. If I had to do anything again, I would only try my best.
Inner Sanctum: After completing an MA and PhD in France, you were offered many working opportunities in Europe. Why did you decide to return to Viet Nam and how did you come to be an official of the Youth Union?
In France, only enthusiastic and passionate people are recruited and their labour is used thoroughly. If you perform badly, you will be fired. I worked as a researcher for a company and was fortunate to receive good treatment and had a bright future. But I chose to return to Viet Nam to work as a public employee.
I wanted to return to my hometown, where my mother and my siblings need me.
I was born in the central province of Da Nang. On coming back to Viet Nam, I ended up in the province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau, working as a lecturer at PetroVietnam Manpower Training College. I never imagined that I would some day become a lecturer, then an official of the Youth Union. I think it is my destiny, which originated in the passion and enthusiasm of my youth.
Inner Sanctum: Do you find Vietnamese youth had changed?
They have changed a lot. They expect themselves to be at the centre of things and to become rich and successful quickly. Many French are easy to upset but I have met many young Vietnamese who are hot-tempered too. Maybe because they suffer from so much pressure of study and work they tend to be stressed all the time. It is better to know how to balance work, release stress and create a harmonious environment.
People exaggerate when they say that young Vietnamese have become more aggressive, rebellious and playful. Each person has his own point of view, but they have become more talented. Many Vietnamese in their 20s work as CEOs for large corporations or are experts in many fields, including science research. I find them self-controlled and proactive in everything. Sometimes I think young people can even orient their teachers.
Inner Sanctum: But many talented youth are still jobless. The mass media has reflected that several students, with the best results at graduation, could not find appropriate positions. Can you share some of your experiences to help them to find jobs?
The worry about jobs is an obsession with many youth, their biggest concern.
In fact, in such a difficult economy, many students find it hard to get jobs, despite being good at theory and having good exam results, From my experience, I realise you need both soft skills and working skills. Hence, I usually suggest that young people improve their skills and gain new ones in order to adapt themselves to the new international working environment. To students of the training college where I'm working, skills are the determining factor in their job applications. English, techniques and computer skills are the basic factors each youth needs today.
As the secretary of the Youth Union, I conduct small surveys to see how the youth are faring and what they want and I have found they need to supplement their knowledge with skills. Thus, we have hosted seminars on professional knowledge, employment and working skills to satisfy this need.
Currently, the economy is recovering and projects are gradually being booted, so if the students concentrate on studying well and gaining essential working skills, their opportunities will be broadened. — VNS