LastUpDate: December 19, 2018

【Keynote Speech 1】
The Current State and Future Prospects of
Training and Utilizing Globally-minded Human Resources

Vice-chairman of FPT University
Adviser of FPT Corporation/Vietnam
Nguyen Thanh Nam

1. Introduction

    Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Nguyen Thanh Nam. I serve as the vice-chairman of FPT University. Today, I will talk about "globalization of education," "globalization of universities," and "how to educate young talents for the globalized world." Joining me today is my colleague, Mr. Khoi, the Chairman of FPT Japan.
    Today traditional universities face a lot of challenges. Everything had changed; we now see globalization and no borders. Even the expectation for students and the behavior of students changed. While everything is changing rapidly by IT, nobody knows what exactly will happen in five years from now. Universities are facing the challenge of how to educate global talents for this new world.

2. Establishment of FPT

    Starting with a little about my own background first, you can see here a picture of Moscow State University, 30 years ago. I went to Moscow State University as one of the students selected by the Vietnamese government. I studied mathematics and received my Ph.D. in mathematics in 1998. Then, I was faced with a decision. At that time, since Vietnam had been put under sanctions by the United States, it was a very poor country. the government of the country could not afford to fund research in the fields of mathematics and science. Accordingly, if you wished to go back to Vietnam, that meant you had to give up doing your scientific research in mathematics. It was a very difficult decision for me as an international student, but I finally decided to go back.
    After I went back to Vietnam, I started a personal computer company. This is FPT. Many of you may remember that about 50 years ago, computers were generally large machines and they required a lot of space for operation. Since 1980, when personal computers started coming on to the market, we believed that the future would belong to these small machines. At that time, there were only about 100 computers altogether in Vietnam, but it was a very exciting time for us.
    At that time, we didn't have any business experience in management, trading managemanet, finance, personnel affairs, and so on. We learned many thing from our business partners, Olivetti, IBM, CISCO, Microsoft, Sumitomo, Toshiba, Sony, etc. From our experience, we believe that learning in the real world is much more important than learning in the classroom.

3. Becoming One of the Largest IT Companies in Vietnam

    Last year, FPT became one of the largest information technology companies in Vietnam. In 2013, FPT's revenue was 1.36 billion US dollars and it employed 17,000 employees. Now its revenue has increased to 1.6 billion dollars with 22,000 employees. We now have offices in 19 countries worldwide.
    FPT is now providing services for the "smart world" (a world where everything had information processing functions). About 30 years ago, we believed that the future would belong to personal computers. However, we now believe that the future will belong to intelligent devices. Interlligent devices are generally called IoT(Internet of Things), but we understand if as smart devices (devices with information processing functions). I believe that everything will become smart (will have information processing functions) in the future.

4.  Establishment of FPT University

    During the developmemt of the FPT as a company, we were facing a problem - we weren't able to secure the people whom we were looking for.
    Universities in Vietnam are still doing the same thing as 100 years ago. There has been no change in university operations and professors' mindsets for about 100 years.
    The world is now becoming borderless. Universities need to change as technology changes. They need to teach their students to become globally-minded. This is not only a problem for Vietnam but also for other countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and Japan. Technology gets outdated very quickly, so teaching technology only is not effective. What universities need to teach their students is the "skills to adapt to and keep up with technology change."
    It was very difficult to convince universities. So we decided not to keep trying to convince the existing universities but to establish a new university by ourselves. The establishment of a university by the industry was a very important, landmark event. Many professors from universities may think that universities should keep a distance from the industry and continue to conduct independent academic research. However, we believe that the industry and university should work together in collaboration. 

5. Four Goals of FPT University

    FPT University has four goals. The first one is to teach our students to be globally minded. The second one is to teach them skills to communicate their ideas to other people. The third one is to create an environment fully responding to information technology so that everything will relate to technology. The last one is to train them to be able to work anywhere around the world after graduation from FPT University. I hope that FPT graduates will work not only in Vietnam but globally in the world. I believe that they are able to do so.   

6. Globalization at FPT University

    As we have visited many universities in the world, we’ve come to a conclusion that there is something that we have to work on to achieve the goals of FPT University.
    Firstly, we shouldn’t keep our students in one place. We need to have them move from one university to another. We call it “global mobility.” University faculty and staff also need to become globally minded. If a professor can’t see things globally, he/she can’t teach his/her students to be globally minded, so he/she needs to become globally minded first. To this end, universities need to establish their campuses in various places around the world.
    Secondly, students, the university, and companies need to join together to create everything, including curricula. We also have to qualify for international ranking. We need to know where we want to go and where we are in the world.
    To put these ideas into action, we first established FPT’s campuses in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia. They are very small, but the size is not the point. What is important here is to establish a campus overseas, in itself. This will force the whole of the University, including faculty and staff, to work on university operations with a global perspective.         

7. QS University Rankings

    FPT University participates in the QS world university rankings. Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd. (QS) is a UK base education consulting firm. It ranks universities by using various criteria such as “Graduate Employability,” “Teaching Quality,” “Research Quality,” “University Infrastructure,” and “Internationalization.” In its evaluation system, the maximum score is five stars. In November 2012, FPT University received a three-star rating from QS and joined the ranks of the top 800 universities in the world.         

8. Training Programs

    Integration between the industry and universities is necessary. In FPT University’s training programs, students will learn basics of PC, go through on-the-job training, and then learn advanced engineering. Engineers from FPT Software participate in our training programs to mentor students based on their real-life experience such as techniques for programming. In response to technology changing from day to day, curricula always need to change. Accordingly, engineers from FPT Software also participate in revising FPT University’s curricula.         
    Considering examples such as the case of Edward Snowden in the United States, we teach our students ethics that IT industry workers must follow. Employees working at IT companies have enormous authority. They can access any data and information. They can easily cheat people if they want. It is very important for us to help students learn ethics and how to be responsible for handling data that they are allowed to access, as FPT is expanding its operations.


9. FPT's Expansion into Japan

    One of the reasons why FPT decided to go to Japan is simply because the governments of Vietnam and Japan have a very good relationship. Professor Hiroshi Ota, the coordinator of this event, said that there are a lot of similarities in cultures of Japan and Vietnam, and we have a lot in common in ways of thinking and behavior patterns, so we can work with each other easily. Here, I would like to invite my friend and colleague, Mr. Khoi, the Chairman of FPT Japan, into the conversation.

10. FPT Japan

(Tran Xuan Khoi)
    Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Tran Xuan Khoi and I’m in charge of FPT Japan.
    FPT Software was established in 1999 and now has a presence in 11 countries in the world, including Japan, Europe, the United States, and Southeast Asian countries. We have 50% of our revenue coming from Japan. Currently, the company has grown into a global business partnering with many IT vendors and other companies, including IBM, Microsoft and Amazon. Dr. Nguyen Thanh Nam, by whom I was introduced, is actually the founder of FPT Software.
    FPT Software now employs about 9,000 employees (as of October 2015), and of them, about 5,000 employees are working in the Japanese market. FPT Software is aiming to increase its employees to 10,000 by 2020. FPT Japan, which is headed by me, is the Japanese arm of FPT Software and now has three offices, in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya. This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the establishment of FPT Software’s office in Japan.
    FPT Japan is an outsourcing company that mainly focuses on the development of software. Beside that, we also provide other services such as Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Cloud services. Some examples of our customers include: Sony, Toshiba, Hitachi, Fuji Xerox, Honda and Mazda, the biggest companies in Japan. FPT Software is considering increasing our sales to 600 million US dollars in 2020. So far, our revenue in Japan has grown by about 40-50 percent every year and we believe we can achieve this sales goal.
    Last year, FPT Software started a program called “10,000 Vacancy Program.” This program aims to bring 10,000 IT system engineers from Vietnam into Japan and provide Japanese language training for them so that they can work in the Japanese market. An officer from the Ministry of Economic, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI) joined the opening ceremony for this program.
    Here, I would like to talk a little about Fukuoka City. From the perspective of a company considering IT business in Japan, Fukuoka City is a very good location, because there are many engineers in Fukuoka and we can expect to combine offshore and nearshore business models and this combination will be the best shore business in Japan. Another advantage is that a flight to Fukuoka from Vietnam and other Asian countries is shorter than the trip to Tokyo from Vietnam and other Asian countries. We hope that in the next few years, we will set up our new office here in Fukuoka. Thank you for your attention.

(Nguyen Thanh Nam)
    Mr. Khoi’s objectives in Japan are very clear. He aims to increase FPT Software employees to 10,000 and to establish FPT Japan’s offices in various places all over Japan, including Fukuoka City. FPT University needs to try to achieve our goals in accordance with Mr. Khoi’s future policy and directions.

11. Only University in ASEAN Countries

    It’s not widely known that FPT University is the only university in ASEAN countries that provides all of its students with Japanese language education. Since a Japanese language course is compulsory at FPT University, all FPT students can communicate in Japanese although they have different levels of proficiency.
    What we can see here is our “Software Engineer Curriculum,” which is worth 145 credits in total. There are many Japanese language courses, including primary Japanese, intermediate Japanese, IT Japanese and IT Fundamental Engineering. To join FPT Japan, you need to pass the N2 level of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. If you obtained the N2 level and speak good Japanese, you may have an opportunity to work together with Mr. Khoi in Japan.
    Currently, FPT University cooperates with Shinshu University, Soka University, Kyushu Institute of Technology University, Hosei University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Bunkyo University and many other Japanese universities to accept Japanese college students to Vietnam for internship, cultural exchange, joint research, and other various purposes. Creating an environment within the University where you can talk about Japanese culture, make Japanese friends and directly communicate with them, leads to further understanding of Japan.

12. Conclusion

    In closing, I would like to say that nothing can be more splendid than to have friends. It is not that important what you’ve learned in class. What is important is to learn from real life. You can learn from your experience in making friends. Japanese students coming to FPT University are making friends with not only Vietnamese students but also with students from all over the world. Memories shared with their friends will be an enormous support for them in their future and will lead them to success. Thank you very much for your attention.   

【Comment】 (Coordinator: Ota Hiroshi)

    “Diversity,” “openness,” “interconnectedness,” “flexibility,” and “mobility”. These are the five keywords that universities in the 21st century have to underline.
    The world is changing on a large scale. Businesses and human resources necessary in the business world are changing. Under these circumstances, FPT University aims to become a new university focusing on “collaboration with industry.” Mr. Nguyen has suggested that it is necessary to create a new type of university with enhanced openness and rich diversity, not a copycat version of existing world-leading universities, and that this can be achieved by paying attention to assessments of markets, and not counting on traditional government appraisals and protection.
    In Japan, more and more people go to university than in the past. Today, universities are facing huge challenges in producing talented people to meet the needs of this new age. To deal with these challenges, Mr. Nguyen provided us with some suggestions, including collaboration between academia and industry, in his presentation.


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