Passion for social impact paves the path for RMIT top graduate

A President’s Scholarship recipient who graduated top of his class with a perfect GPA of 4.0, Vu Hoang Trung believes that creating a positive impact in society can be the guiding principle for young people to find their own ways to success.

Among the 947 students graduating from RMIT’s Saigon South campus this year, Vu Hoang Trung was the sole recipient of the Chairman’s Award – an annual recognition reserved for a graduate who represents everything the University wishes its students to exemplify: high academic achievement, social responsibility, and service to the community.

A former student of the prestigious Hanoi – Amsterdam High School, Trung was already a top academic performer before starting his RMIT Bachelor of Business (Economics and Finance) degree on a full scholarship. But it was during his university years that he really stepped out of his comfort zone.

“My RMIT journey shaped me into a very different person, and I think in some ways, a better person. I became more down-to-earth as RMIT encouraged me to become more involved with the community via student clubs, school events and social contributions, rather than just pursuing academic achievements,” Trung said.

Trung became the Vice President of the RMIT Accounting Club and represented RMIT in several competitions in Vietnam and Australia, including the 2019 ASEAN Data Science Explorers (ADSE) Competition, where the goal was to leverage technology to create social impact in ASEAN.

His team’s idea of empowering ethnic minorities with online education helped them win the regional round of the competition.

Trung was then offered a position at SAP Vietnam as an intern and Corporate Social Responsibility Lead, where he could integrate the plan into a much larger initiative with SAP and UNICEF to deliver online learning through tablet devices to youth across Vietnam.

“At one event, where I presented this vision to more than 30 company executives with the aim of attracting support for the cause, I felt all my knowledge and experiences culminated to help me successfully garner enough partners to jumpstart the initiative,” Trung recalled.

During his exchange to Australia as an RMIT Global Experience Ambassador, Trung gained another major opportunity to create social impact. Through RMIT’s Fastrack Innovation Program, he collaborated with the National Bank of Australia to devise a new banking product aimed at improving local families’ financial wellbeing, contributing to the very community he was exploring.

“I believe the true purpose – besides personal or family goals – is to help solve the big problems in society and improve the lives of people around us,” Trung said.

“There are actually plenty of opportunities to make substantial impact if we consciously look for them. The key is to be mindful and active whenever there is room to contribute.”

When asked about his secret to achieving a perfect GPA of 4.0, Trung said that contrary to what people might think, he never really put much stress on achieving perfect scores.

“I just happened to be genuinely interested in what I did and learned; that enthusiasm allowed me to learn faster and work productively” Trung explained.

“For example, I was already interested in and reading books about economics before entering university, and I enrolled in the ADSE competition simply because I wanted to try data science. Everyone has different passions and abilities; mine just happen to facilitate good performance in this field of study,” he said.

“People close to me know that I actually play video games, do sports and go out more than I study. So, the ‘secret’ is definitely not to grind away, but to find balance in life and take it easy sometimes.”

Now working as a junior management consultant at Boston Consulting Group, a desirable workplace for many fresh graduates, the thought of resting on his laurels has not crossed Trung’s mind.

“It is an unwritten rule that one must continuously learn and work hard way past university life to reach true success,” he said.

“Looking back, my GPA has little value in determining how well I do in my current job; only my mindset, my qualities and my skills matter. School gave us knowledge and soft skills, but that is only a foundation on which we must build.”

Credit: RMIT Communication Team


06 May 2021

Author: RMIT Communication Team