A Future in ASEAN #1
A Future in ASEAN #1

A Future in ASEAN #1

ABYA is proud to introduce its series of dialogue sessions, entitled ‘A Future in ASEAN’ (AFIA), which will feature prominent speakers who will share their ASEAN related experiences and insights with the ABYA community.

Written by: Isabelle Goh
Edited by: Isabelle Goh

Given the intensifying COVID-19 pandemic, ABYA has taken its dialogue session to a video conference through Zoom, which saw over 30 eager participants on the evening of 30th April 2020.

During the session, ABYA hosted Nghi Luc Tran, Lucas, a Marketing Lead Development Representative at Amazon Web Services (AWS), the multinational cloud computing company. His prior experiences in project management and marketing at ePlus Event Company, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, also give him insights into the differences, between Vietnam and Singapore ⁠— in terms of work and lifestyle. Lucas holds a double masters in Management and International Business, from Kedge Business School and University of Vaasa, while he currently also pursues his interests in being a lifestyle vlogger who shares his perspectives as a Vietnamese national working in Singapore.


Vietnam Vs Singapore

One key topic from the session is how Lucas contrasts the culture and working styles between Vietnam and Singapore. This is with regard to his experiences from having worked in a family business and a multinational enterprise, respectively.

Firstly, Lucas mentioned that his experiences with hiring processes in Vietnam reflected a greater focus on one’s existing professional experience, unlike that in Singapore which places greater emphasis on the individual’s career development and potential. This may also be due to the limited resource and manpower available in his prior company. However, the effects of such were that employees resultantly stuck to tasks closely within their scope, whilst having little room for progression for long periods of time. In his later career with AWS in Singapore, he has realised greater enthusiasm and proactiveness, given that he is empowered to work on projects within teams, while the company does rotate its employees every so often.

Secondly, it appears that the work culture in Vietnam is more hierarchical, with heavy expectations for employees to prioritise their company’s needs through their tasks. This is converse to Singapore’s work culture, in which employees are thus more encouraged to offer constructive ideas to their company.

Thirdly and most interestingly, employees in Vietnam tend to be equally close with each other, in both their work and personal lives, where the contexts are sometimes blurred. Singapore, on the other hand, has immersed him in a work culture driven by clear Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to drive greater efficiency and functionality.


Laying the Foundation for One’s Career

Lucas emphasised greatly on the need to find a mentor who would be willing to train and guide his or her career development. He had mentioned that one should be on the lookout for opportunities, even upon entering one’s first job, and that it would be crucial to grab hold of them to develop one’s fullest potential.

Emphasising personal awareness, Lucas had also noted that it is essential for one to acknowledge one’s strengths and weaknesses, before one would be able to put his or her best foot forward ⁠— especially in venturing into a new area of work, or even country. Apart from developing one’s skills, Lucas also stressed on the importance of being flexible. An example of this would include being willing to join organisations, such as ABYA, which would immerse one in a community with a strong people network and common interests that build on each other. He advises anyone keen to improve, to “join, connect and make new friends”, and be ready to “learn not to expect” because one should be ready to adapt and “go with the flow”.


Outlook on Marketing and Technology

Lucas envisions that ASEAN will turn into a technology hub in five years’ time. With more potential in its market value, large companies will turn their eyes to ASEAN, looking to invest and create more job opportunities in the region.

Given his professional experience as a marketing specialist and AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, he shared his advice on how to get an edge in preparing for jobs in the technology industry. His observation is that mobile applications now often use Cloud Computing, through a Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery model. He notes that individuals keen on entering customer-facing roles would benefit from learning more about Salesforce and SAP, as these softwares are increasingly adopted by large companies.

Moreover, he foresees that technical aptitude would be essential for non-technical users, as many companies are progressively entering a digital transformation process. He thus advocates for many to receive technical certifications, such as the Cloud Practitioner certification ⁠— which can be attained online.

Additionally, Lucas gave a comprehensive overview of the marketing industry, with reference to small-medium businesses, enterprises and start-up businesses. Marketing broadly involves in-bound marketing and outsource marketing agencies. In-bound marketing teams require strategic and planning skills while outsource marketing agencies require greater execution capabilities.

Similarly, Lucas’ advice is to find relevant certifications such as Google’s Inbound Certification, Google AdWords and Facebook Blueprint Certification. Google and Facebook do offer free online courses for people looking to get a head start.


Questions & Answers

Before concluding, Lucas welcomed the audience’s questions, largely related to his perspectives as a Vietnamese national within ASEAN. Lucas had recalled that he had initially not considered venturing abroad, given the language barrier. It was revealed that the lack of ability to speak the English language inhibits many from his home country, from being willing to venture further into the region. Moreover, Singapore is often looked to as the pinnacle of opportunity within ASEAN.

In contrast, he jokingly cautioned the audience that they may have to adjust to a culture shock, as foreigners visiting Vietnam. This is given country’s comparatively less convenient and speedy transportation systems. Nonetheless, he is upbeat about young aspirants who wish to venture into Vietnam, to which he mentioned that Vietnam is very welcoming towards its foreign guests, such that being a foreigner would be an added advantage.


Concluding Remarks

ABYA would like to thank its audience and youth community for its active participation during its first session of AFIA, ‘A Future in ASEAN’. It was surely an eventful learning opportunity with Lucas! ABYA looks forward to creating more positive memories, as captured in this Zoom conference.



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