Day 4 & Day 5: Mundipharma, Microsoft, & BD
2016 International Study Trip, Vietnam
We arrived at Mundhipharma’s office at 8:30 a.m. Most of us felt the jet lag had finally gone away, and we were eager to learn about a company that was introducing a new product to the market. We walked into the Mundhipharma office, and the country manager, Nguyen Phuong, briefed us on the company and his staff. His 15-person team of experienced doctors and managers sat in a small office of about 20 desks on the sixth floor. The feng shui eased the feeling of the cramped hallways.
Phuong’s team is tasked with managing Mundhipharma products and bringing a new painkiller to the Vietnam market. Mundhipharma faces several challenges in bringing new products to Vietnam, such as educating doctors and pharmacists about the advantages of their painkiller over morphine, the predominant painkiller used in Vietnam up until this year.
After our presentation on the pharmaceutical market in Vietnam, Phuong and his team graciously treated us to a traditional lunch at the Vietnam House restaurant.
DAY 5: Microsoft
Microsoft has been in Vietnam since 1997 as a marketing development office. In 2007 Microsoft became a local subsidiary in Vietnam and was voted as the best IT workplace in Vietnam, beating Intel and other technology companies. At one point, Microsoft was one of the biggest U.S. employers in Vietnam.
We met with Khoa Pham, the legal and compliance director at Microsoft Vietnam. His passion for technology and wanting to make an impact in Vietnam brought him back to his roots. His family escaped during the Vietnam War by boat to Malaysia, from where they eventually immigrated to the U.S. “I wanted to throw fewer rocks to make bigger ripples,” said Khoa. He found his moment of clarity to move back to Vietnam after spending a few years practicing in house law at VMWare. Khoa advised to us that, “When you find a role in your career where there is an alignment of career development and passion, you should take it.”
Khoa also spoke about value propositions across cultures. For example, households have several generations of families living under one house. “Your grandma, cousin and brother know all about your life,” said Khoa, who said privacy is viewed differently than in the U.S. Many societies view policies differently, and this is one of the many facets that companies need to consider when doing business across different countries.
He was very optimisitic about the future and development of markets in Vietnam. Vietnam is primed for exponential growth because of a “Young and hungry population of people who have high usage of the Internet.” In fact, he said, “123 million sim cards are registered in Vietnam,” which outnumbers Vietnam’s population of about 90 million. Khoa said there are also opportunities for the need of CRM for SME (Small-Medium Enterprises). He believes Microsoft currently has a strategic and scaleable solution for Vietnam’s customer with their hybrid solution of public and private cloud solutions.
I found Khoa’s interview to be quite different from other speakers. He was born in Vietnam during a turbulent time and escaped to the U.S. with his family, became highly educated and obtained his law degree, and eventually walked away from his success in the U.S. to pursue his passion and go back in his roots. Many of us felt inspired after leaving our meeting that we could bring our ideas and passions into Vietnam and make a sizeable difference in people’s lives.
Becton Dickinson (BD)
In a crowded and narrow conference room, we met with the BD to learn about the Vietnamese healthcare market. Ho Thi Uyen Khuong is the country manager for Vietnam and has been with the company for 17 years. Her team at the representative office of Vietnam is looking to build sustainable business in one the fastest emerging markets in health care. After introductions, we dove into questions and answers:
Chandra: What is your sales process like?
Khuong: As a representative office in Vietnam, we only drive and perform marketing for BD. There may be chance to switch to an operating entity.
Taherian: Where is the product manufactured?
Khuong: Our business is medical surgical systems, and the products are imported from Singapore and the U.S., with some coming from India as well.
Parker: Is JIT being implemented in Vietnam and Singapore?
Khuong: We work with distribution and hospitals to balance inventory levels and demand. Distributors are responsible for managing inventory.
Li: Who are your main customers?
Khuong: In Vietnam, we have two levels of hospitals: government and private sector hospitals.
Li: Are government hospitals better?
Khuong: Government hospitals are better than provincial hospitals, while private sector hospitals offer newer technology and better service.
Modupe: Is there a fixed price for government and private sectors?
Khuong: It depends on the consumption and demand of the hospital, plus if we have a partnership with the hospital then negotiations are possible.
Prit: What is the biggest challenge for BD?
Khuong: We have partnerships with other governments, which bring more opportunities to Vietnam. As an MNC, we face challenges with regulations that change and requires our team to react to be compliant with the law and also be in compliant with our company law. There is also a lot of competition where prices are constrained. It makes for tough competition even if your company provides the best quality products and service.
Jeff: Why is BD using the representative office model?
Khuong: Twenty years ago, BD wanted a presence in Vietnam and the only option was to create a representative office domestically. This is also the trend in the market for MNC.
Albert: What advantages do you have as a company in Vietnam?
Khuong: We have the ability identify unmet needs in the market. We also provide education training to our customers.
Mit: What kind social responsibility work does BD do?
Khuong: Besides the business, we also try to engage in society activities. We are very proud to work with the HIV program in Vietnam and recently worked with orphans who were born with HIV. We worked with orphanages to provide housing and company.
P Taherian: What is your experience been like as a woman in a powerful position such as the country manager?
Khuong: We don’t discriminate between male or female in Vietnam. Vietnam is quite fair as long as you can perform the job well. BD also doing a great job balancing the ratio of genders.
Khuong: Can you tell us about your MBA program?
Chandra: We have two programs. The full-time program takes two years, and typically students don’t work during those two years. The part-time program is for working professionals, and the program which can be completed in two to three years.
BD staff: What are the requirements? Is there a thesis to be completed?
Chandra: You should have some work experience and need a four-year degree along with your GMAT score. There is no thesis but a consulting project is required before you can graduate. The companies we work with come from different industries such and food, beverage and technology.