Master of Business Administration (MBA) student outcomes in Vietnam: Graduate student insights from a qualitative study
Article publication date: 9 February 2015
Exploratory insights into the graduate student experiences of offshore MBA programmes in Vietnam are presented. Students are considered key stakeholders in the higher education (HE) debate, and their views were sought in light of recent shifts in HE worldwide, associated business education changes, nagging questions around the quality of MBA programmes, and the need to consider how all these factors might influence the MBA student experience in a developing economy such as Vietnam. The literature confirms a disconnection between what management education providers offer in MBA programmes and what management education users (here, students) are actually receiving, especially when compared to student expectations, needs and outcomes. Here, a portion of the findings from a larger exploratory, descriptive qualitative study, located in Vietnam, is presented. Graduate students’ views as to what they were seeking when enroling in offshore MBA programmes in Vietnam, and how the programme subsequently met their needs, are shared. Recommendations are made as to potential improvements in curricula design, review, administration, and processes in response to these findings. The paper aims to discuss these issues.
Findings from an exploratory, descriptive qualitative study, located in Vietnam, are presented. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with graduates of offshore MBA programmes in Vietnam, drawn from the graduates of three case study HE provider organisations. Interviews were transcribed verbatim in Vietnamese, then translated into English.
Graduates’ views as stakeholders in the provision of offshore MBA programmes in Vietnam are shared. Qualitative analysis revealed evidence of their attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge relating to offshore MBA programmes in Vietnam. The narratives and interpretations offer insights into both the perceived benefits and limitations, and empirical evidence as to whether graduates’ original expectations were met.
This was a qualitative, exploratory, descriptive study, deliberately undertaken in the absence of others like it in the literature. The research relies upon interview and focus group data gathered from three case study organisations and exploring the perceptions of three different stakeholder groups: graduates of offshore MBA programmes (findings shared here); employers of offshore MBA graduates; and MBA programme providers (including programme managers, administrators and/or teaching staff). This paper includes only the perspective of graduates of offshore MBA programmes in Vietnam, on the basis that rich exploratory information can be derived from a few cases (Perry, 1998).
The literature confirms a potential for disconnection between what management education providers offer in MBA programmes and what management education graduates actually receive, compared to graduate’s original expectations, needs and wants. Here, empirical evidence of this intersection is examined.
The graduate narratives share crucial exploratory evidence offering a better understanding of the needs and expectations of MBA graduates who might be considering enroling in offshore MBA programmes in Vietnam. These findings are especially important with regard to understanding the sustainability and value of offshore MBA programmes being delivered in Vietnam, especially given the country’s current state of economic, political and cultural transition, and the associated need for businesses and workers to be able to operate successfully in an international business environment.
No previous studies evaluating the value of MBA programmes in Vietnam have been located. At a time when Vietnam is in economic, cultural, and political transition, knowledge to assist and support their HE sector is crucial. Recommendations are made as to potential improvements in Vietnamese offshore MBA programme curricula design, review, administration, and processes in response to these findings.
Ly, C.T.M., Vickers, M.H. and Fernandez, S. (2015), "Master of Business Administration (MBA) student outcomes in Vietnam: Graduate student insights from a qualitative study", Education + Training, Vol. 57 No. 1, pp. 88-107. https://doi.org/10.1108/ET-08-2013-0104
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