Building Connections Across the World

Thursday, August 10, 2023
by Harshil, Quang, Raphael, and Tony (AFM students)

As the corporate relations team for the International Study Course Trip to Vietnam, our mission is to establish strong connections with industry professionals across the globe. With its dynamic business landscape, Vietnam has emerged as a promising destination for collaborations and partnerships. Despite encountering several challenges, our team has honed valuable skills and tactics to ensure our success in reaching out and arranging meetings with industry experts in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Collage of Harshil, Quang, Raphael, and Tony

Leveraging local head offices for introductions

Navigating the Vietnamese business environment can be complex, especially when dealing with unfamiliar companies and individuals. To overcome this hurdle, we adopted a strategic approach of reaching out to both the domestic and international head offices of companies that are based in Canada. We gained valuable guidance and direction through building connections with senior management in Canada and seeking introductions to their counterparts in offices located in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. This not only provided us with a clear pathway to the right contacts but also facilitated a warmer reception from potential partners, since introductions from trusted sources carry significant weight in Vietnamese business culture.

Personalized communication for effective engagement

Learning from Professor Steve Balaban, we recognized the importance of personalized communication in establishing meaningful relationships. Rather than resorting to bland and generic template messages, we crafted personalized messages tailored to everyone we hoped to connect with. This approach not only demonstrated our genuine interest in their work and expertise but also fostered a sense of trust and authenticity. By initiating conversations that resonated with the recipients, we were able to bridge the gap between potential partners and ourselves, resulting in a higher rate of positive responses.

Embracing the business culture in Vietnam

Understanding and respecting Vietnamese business culture has been crucial to our success in setting up meetings. There is an emphasis on valuing relationships and face-to-face interactions, which we have embraced wholeheartedly. We learned that building trust and rapport takes time, and as such, we have adopted a patient approach to cultivating these connections. Regular follow-ups with industry professionals, along with a genuine interest in their insights and expertise have contributed to the development of lasting partnerships. By focusing on nurturing authentic connections instead of rushing for immediate outcomes, we have built stronger trust and confidence among our potential collaborators.

Outcomes: Setting up meetings with industry professionals

Through unwavering determination and continuous follow-up, our efforts were fruitful as we were able to successfully arrange meetings with prominent industry professionals in Vietnam. These meetings spanned across various sectors in the industry, including venture capital and beyond. In the meetings, we facilitated productive discussions and fostered new avenues for potential collaborations. We firmly believe that these initial meetings are the stepping stones to forging strong and mutually beneficial partnerships in the thriving business landscape in Vietnam.


Connecting virtually with industry professionals in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi required strategic planning, cultural sensitivity, and personalized engagement. By leveraging local head offices for introductions, embracing personalized communication, and recognizing the importance of building relationships over time in Vietnamese business culture, we navigated challenges and achieved success in setting up meetings with key players in the Vietnamese business world. As we continue to expand our corporate relations efforts, we look forward to building lasting partnerships and meeting with these dignitaries in-person during our trip!