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Hinrich Foundation Alumni Mai Nguyen HKBU

Mai Nguyen




Hong Kong Baptist University
Hong Kong SAR
Master of Arts in International Journalism Studies, Class of 2011
Co-sponsor: Global Sources
University of Auckland
Auckland, New Zealand
Master of International Business


Country Manager Vietnam
Regional Trade for Development (RT4D), Hanoi, Vietnam
“Success, for me, is simply leveling up on education and skills. Adding value to my skills and knowledge is a daily ritual. It’s what we learn from life: new learning and experiences and the value that we acquire as we lead our lives!”

Alumni background

Mai Nguyen is a seasoned professional with extensive experience in international trade promotion and marketing communications across various sectors. Currently, she serves as the Vietnam Country Manager for the Regional Trade Development Facility (RT4D), an initiative funded by Australia and New Zealand. In this role, she collaborates with the ASEAN Secretariat and free trade agreement (FTA) governance bodies. Her work focuses on supporting ASEAN governments in building capacity to effectively implement these trade agreements, ultimately promoting shared prosperity within the region.

Prior to joining RT4D, Mai worked at USAID as the National Lead Consultant on a project designed to improve the business environment and strengthen the capabilities of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by empowering Business Support Organizations (BSOs).

Throughout her career, Mai has held various managerial positions at esteemed organizations. These include National E-commerce Consultant at the International Trade Centre, Marketing & Research Manager at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade) and Program Manager at the Hinrich Foundation.

In 2011, Mai earned her Master of Arts in International Journalism Studies from Hong Kong Baptist University through the Hinrich Global Trade Leader Scholarship Program.

A global mindset

In her own words, “My interview with [Hinrich Foundation Program Director] Alex Boome in 2010 opened a new horizon for me,” she revealed.

As a young student, Mai always wanted to know how different countries regulate their institutions and develop their laws. Fiercely independent in nature, she was very clear that she wanted to have an international career. In her final year of studies as an undergraduate at Hanoi University, she was presented with many opportunities and choices: She decided to apply for the Hinrich Global Trade Leader program to study journalism at HKBU.

“Hong Kong is the perfect place to study journalism due to freedom of speech, to get more proactive due to the fast pace of life, to be exposed to different cultures,” summarized Mai.

Mai (front row wearing a blue cap) and her classmates at Hong Kong Baptist University on a study trip in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, April 2010

Upon graduation from HKBU in 2011, she was invited for an interview with Global Sources Vietnam – the representative office of the Hong Kong- based business to-business trade media company. Global Sources offered her a business development position in Ho Chi Minh City – far from her hometown in the north of Vietnam. A bit unsure about the move, she consulted Alex, whom she regarded as her mentor. Alex suggested that she ‘keep an open mind’ and give it her best shot. She followed his advice and a short time later landed in Ho Chi Minh City.

In 2012, after a year with Global Sources, she was offered a position with the Hinrich Foundation to lead the Hinrich Global Trade Leader program.

Transforming the Hinrich Global Trade Leader program, Mai recalled the feeling of being able to lead the team and the exhilaration of creating something new and worthwhile.

“A winning moment for me is the development of the Hinrich Global Trade Leader Program. I was handed that program in a very nascent stage with just a few scholars studying at just a few universities. And now, it has bloomed into a comprehensive powerful program with many unique components: 150 Global Trade Leaders to date from 12 countries studying at 11 programs at quality universities around the world with many global powerhouse corporate partners.”

Mai with other Hinrich Foundation scholars, alumni and team members at the scholar welcome reception held at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, April 2013

A specialist with project management & systems

“I am good with managing projects and creating systems,” said Mai. “My strength is in consolidating knowledge on various areas and initiatives that are taken to create something visible and functional.” However, there is more to Mai than the programs and systems that she has put in place. In her undergraduate student life, Mai was a board member of Volunteers for Peace Vietnam (VPV). She also led a team of 10 people to run a club called Indigo, which helped to develop soft skills and English language proficiency of young people.

“At that time, I had just started learning how to put things together to make a program and a system work in terms of HR, content development, partnership development and logistics. I remembered I spent hours just trying to map out different ways of making the project functional and have a viable system to back it up,” Mai recalled of her very first experience with building organizational systems. The experience of Indigo came in handy when Mai was asked to lead the Hinrich Global Trade Leader program, where her natural ability to put things together into a functional body bore fruit.

Contributing even more to international trade and investment, in 2017, Mai built on her background of promoting sustainable global trade by accepting a role as marketing and research manager with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission of the Australian Government (AUSTRADE) in Ho Chi Minh City. “My marketing work is aimed at making Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia visible to Australian businesses and make Australia visible to businesses in these Asian nations in order to promote trade and investment between these countries,” Mai said proudly.

Being a leader

Mai is thankful to the Hinrich Foundation and her mentor, Alex Boome, for bringing to life her dream of having an international career. She regards the Hinrich Foundation as a place where young people are nurtured: She feels that her leadership skills were honed to perfection during her time there.

“At the Hinrich Foundation, Alex gave me all the needed opportunities and exposure to develop myself, and I always feel grateful for that amazing support at the right time in my life. Five years at Hinrich Foundation changed me and gave me a solid foundation for further development. Despite challenges, he never gave up on coaching me and other scholars.”

Read Mai's full profile here.