We took a boat from Phnom Penh to Chau Duc in Vietnam today! What a great way to travel four hours. The border crossing by boat was really interesting: quiet and efficient. We had to climb up steep steps on the river bank to depart Cambodia and then again when arriving in Vietnam.
Now that we are in Vietnam, it is beautiful and relaxing. We headed to a fish farm on the Mekong delta and learned about the fishing industry and exports in this area. Following that, we toured the Chau Duc village, which is predominantly Muslim. I didn’t know there was so much diversity in Vietnam, with 56 tribes and eight languages.
Finally, we went to the village market which had lots of stalls and sold mostly food and trinkets. Most of the food was raw or dried fish (and fruits and vegetables), which has a distinct smell. I was surprised that so many of my classmates had never been exposed to this environment. I thought the food looked delicious and fresh!
I’m excited to see what our next day in Vietnam is like!
I fell in love with the phrase “non-governmental corporate diplomacy” when I was seventeen. I was a pretentious teenager. But I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do- work with one company around the world, helping invest in communities and people and changing lives permanently for the better.
Today was an incredible day in that respect; we heard from different groups of people who operate in that space, the intersection of government and business in a developing country. It was so inspiring to hear from the team at Better Factories Cambodia about how promoting or hiring women supervisors can improve productivity in garment factories by 22%, according to a study done by Tufts.
For me, this reaffirmed that I made the right choice to pursue an MBA. It will equip me with the credential to move in to management and pursue corporate policies that benefit society and improve the company’s bottom line.
We also heard from young Cambodian entrepreneurs working out of TEKHUB at the Asia Foundation about their startups and their hopes for Cambodia’s future. It is really incredible what can happen when non-profit missions and private donors align with government to sponsor innovation.
After another delicious lunch, we visited the Garment Manufacturer’s Association of Cambodia. What stuck with me the most was hearing about why automation won’t work in Cambodia and other developing countries: it isn’t a lack of capital or a lack of will power, it’s simply that energy is not reliable enough to run manufacturing machines 24/7, or even consistently 8 hours a day. People, humans, are not replacable.
That’s exactly what I wanted to accomplish with my MBA and my future career. I’m excited to empower individuals to do amazing work and push with new technological advances. It’s going to be incredible to see how the world moves forward and what kind of jobs the future has!
We arrived in Cambodia after more than 24 hours of travel! We took two very long flights, and it is gorgeous here!
Today was an extremely busy day, starting with a tour of the royal palace (pictured above), the S21 detention center, followed by lunch at an NGO (also pictured!). In the afternoon we visited a village and watched women weave silk fabrics on looms. Back in Phnom Penh, we visited the store where these fabrics are sold and learned about the charity of Princess Marie. What incredible work she does in Cambodia and around the world!
After a delicious dinner at a local restaurant, we are back at the hotel and getting ready for a big day tomorrow!