Jet lagged and on an MBA schedule meant I only remember bits and pieces of Ho Chi Minh City.
Normally when I travel, staying at five-star hotels are as real as leprechauns and unicorns. However, since my trip to Vietnam was a required part of my MBA program I stayed at the luxurious Renaissance Riverside Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.
The best part of my stay was the breakfast buffet. Delicious pho every morning? Yes, please! The second best part was the roof top pool and the view wasn’t bad either. It overlooked the Saigon River, which appeared a lot less murkier at night.
Most of the time, I was in front of a computer putting the final touches to the presentation while the rest of my team was out doing field work. That’s what they get for nominating me to be team leader – not because they thought I’d be good at it but because they didn’t want the responsibility.
Even though I spent most of my time working, I can only recall the times when I wasn’t. The jet lag didn’t help since I could barely stay up past 6PM. All of the day’s mandatory events took place at 8AM, which meant I had to be up at the crack of dawn as soon as I landed.
One day it was a visit to a Nike Factor. Another day, it was a trip to volunteer at a local school of disabled children. The latter I didn’t mind so much. It was one of the few events I looked forward to. Our “volunteer” experience consisted of watching the children perform for us and in the spirit of it all, we decided to “give back” by performing with them. My favorite moment was dancing together on stage to Gangnam Style. There’s a video out there somewhere, but it’ll take some digging for you to uncover it.
On my own down time, I visited the War Museum with friends and we purposely made a trip out to Banh Mi Bistro since we read somewhere that they had the best bahn mis in Ho Chi Minh City. My team and I also visited our client’s new office, where we were asked to participate in decorating their mural. We gladly did – Georgetown pride and all.
At the end of our consulting project, we went out to celebrate the only way MBA students know how – with alcohol! This trip wasn’t my ideal way of getting to know a new city, but considering the circumstances I did the best I could. Vietnam is definitely worth another visit.