Duc Tran – MSc Finance graduate

Current employer: Techcombank

Current job title: Business Plan Management Officer

Current location: Hanoi, Vietnam

“I would recommend people undertaking the MSc Finance course at Plymouth University. Professors and staff are very friendly and have very good pedagogic knowledge. The course delivers practical knowledge and equips you with good analytical skills.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

After graduating from Plymouth University, I returned to Vietnam and joined a short-term market research project for a start-up brand in FMCGs. I then applied for a business finance position in Techcombank, a commercial bank. This job was a stepping stone for my career in banking industry as I was a total newcomer.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

My career path has changed in recent years. At first, I thought that I wanted a job in market research or as a business analyst. Then, an unexpected chance came and I became an employee of a large domestic bank. During the two years working in the bank, I moved from business finance to sales and service excellence. Presently, I am a business plan management officer, in the sales and distribution division.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

The most difficult thing which I have faced in the bank is the banking system. I have insufficient knowledge about structures, operations, and products, whilst financial indicators are not enough for analysis. The system of a commercial bank is quite complicated, especially when my job required wide and deep understanding as it relates to every nook and cranny. Sometimes, I do not know exactly what I need to dig out of the system when I receive orders from bosses. I have to figure it out as soon as possible though.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

The most exciting thing that I have done is that I have mastered advanced Excel and SQL from scratch. While I was studying my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, I only used basic Excel functions and SPSS was the main statistic application for my thesis analysis. However, advanced Excel and SQL are two main skills you must know when working in a bank’s back office, and I believe that I have done well. Now, I can easily produce automatic reports or query database with complex codes.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

I would have spent more time identifying my career focus. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure of my career path, so it took more time to decide what I really wanted to do.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Working in a bank (especially in analysis) requires good Excel skills. Excel appears in every job and it could help you to save a lot of time. A two hour job would be done in one hour if you could use advanced Excel functions. SQL is another application you should know while working in a back office, especially in analysis. If you know how to use SQL, you can work independently and get insight into the banking system.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

Studying at Plymouth University has helped me a lot. An analytical mind-set, the ability to go through logical process, and being able to complete tasks that require self-studying are three major advantages which professors at Plymouth University gave me after a noteworthy year. I can work independently, learn new things, and analyse with a highly logical mind.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

My favourite memory of studying at Plymouth is the Hoe during the summer months with a blue sky up above whilst lying down on the grass. I also remember Plymouth at bonfire night and the international fireworks. They are very nice memories and I will never forget them.

Do you stay in touch with other Plymouth University alumni or lecturers?

I still stay in touch with some of my Plymouth University classmates and other alumni who were my roommates. Occasionally, I have a chat with them about their current life or our memories from Plymouth.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

I would recommend people undertaking the MSc Finance course at Plymouth University. Professors and staff are very friendly and have very good pedagogic knowledge. The course delivers practical knowledge and equips you with good analytical skills. I appreciate what Sue Farrar, Mojisola Olugbode, and Andrew Hunt taught me on the course.

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