“Consulting training in Africa widened my eyes on the world and its diversity”

Ha An, a Fulbright Psychology and Social Studies graduate, reflects on a transformative five-day strategy consulting training in East Africa. Embarking on a new journey at the Dalberg Global Development Advisors (Dalberg Advisors), four Class of 2020-2023 alumni, Hieu Linh, Ha An, Nga My, and Ky Duyen, had many fond memories of strategy consulting. Along with that were “eureka moments” after all the years dedicated to new experiences out of curiosity and eagerness to learn. These moments helped them understand themselves, stay confident in their career choices, continuously nurture their passions, and grow more each day.

Hieu Linh, Ha An, Ky Duyen, and Nga My befriended Dalberg global employees

Hosted in the green, plastic-free city of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, Africa, the Introduction to Consulting Training (ICT) allowed four future strategy consultants to sharpen their multidimensional perspectives on global issues. The five-day agenda included training sessions, practice, case studies, and field trips. What intrigued them was learning through the context that Vietnam, Rwanda, and the world are facing, such as climate change, energy crises, and other issues to tackle for sustainable development.

“I think the beauty of strategy consulting lies in diverse perspectives from different people. This helps create multidimensional, informative discussions and impacts how we approach and solve problems. I feel in awe of the importance of effective and cross-cultural communication, open-minded thinking, and diversity acceptance,” shared Nga My, who majored in Economics and Social Studies.

Hieu Linh, Ha An (left), and Ky Duyen, Nga My (right) during the strategy proposal presentation in Kigali, Rwanda

As Africa’s safest and fastest developing country, Rwanda is also fostering digital transformation and technology infrastructure. This particularly interested Ha An, a Psychology and Social Studies graduate, as she learned more about how technology changes local lives. “In Rwanda, Kinyarwanda is the national language and one of the official languages. When I first arrived, I fumbled for words when taxi drivers of Yego, an app like Grab, said: ‘Speak in Kinyarwanda; don’t use English.’ Then I blended in faster. Now I still remember everyone’s radiant faces when I stuttered ‘Murakoze’ instead of ‘Thank you.’”

Ha An and her team presenting a strategic consulting solution to the managers of Dalberg during the strategy proposal presentation

“The experience in Rwanda made me humble in many ways. It reminds me of the irreversible role of local patterns in understanding cultural context. As a young strategy consultant, the trip to the green city of Kigali will always be a ‘nudge’ for me. And that at the end of the day, solving global challenges or seemingly huge problems serves those with names, ages, faces, and voices, not just dead numbers on paper or the news,” Ha An reflects. Returning to Vietnam, she is applying her experiences from Rwanda to a new project: School digital transformation in multiple countries in Asia-Pacific, using Google Workspace for Education and Chromebooks.

Ha An (centered): “The experience in Rwanda made me humble in many ways. It reminds me of the irreversible role of local patterns in understanding cultural context.”

Liberate Thinking – Create Solutions

To quickly adapt to such a new environment, diverse in culture and experience levels, Hieu Linh, an Economics graduate, emphasizes the importance and benefits of developing multidimensional thinking. She also did not hesitate to challenge herself with various internship opportunities while studying to gain practical experience and make decisive career choices.

Hieu Linh (left) participated in the short-term Introduction to Consulting Training (ICT) in Kigali City, Rwanda

Linh shared: “At Fulbright, we learn to recognize, evaluate, and measure the impact of an issue in multiple ways. This helps me quickly navigate and analyze ‘puzzles’ in the strategy consulting environment. Outside the classroom, Fulbright provides us with many opportunities to conduct different internship projects. Therefore, students can achieve T-shape growth, which means broad development across different fields and in-depth in their desired fields.”

“The ability to adapt to differences is also something I gained at Fulbright. This skill helps us know how to combine and adjust different ideas instead of excluding or being conservative with some confirmation biases. Thanks to this adaptability, the group solved the business case, learned how to work with colleagues from different cultures, and proposed solutions for the assigned task.”

Fulbright alumni and Dalberg colleagues exchanged culture after training

In Liberal Arts Education, even thinking has no limits. Fulbright students have the first two years to explore foundational subjects and various fields. Meanwhile, the last two years will offer a sharper focus on their major choice. Instructors encourage students to explore multiple majors to make the most out of their potential and curiosity.

Ky Duyen rolled her dice with Psychology and Social Studies. The knowledge she gained in both fields helped Ky Duyen connect the emotions of each member and tackle unexpected situations. She played a huge role in supporting the team in completing the team presentation in less than 48 hours and presenting it when a teammate fell ill and could not join.

Ky Duyen and her teammates presented their strategic plan proposal

At Fulbright, you will have the encouragement and support you need to pursue knowledge and passion. Interdisciplinary knowledge, critical thinking, lifelong learning, analytical and problem-solving skills are the assets Fulbright alumni can carry with them from their undergraduate years. These will be the keys to unlocking their problems, supporting their community and society.

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