In January, Vero Philippines launched their first-ever nextGEN internship program.
The interns, myself included, were given the opportunity to visit Vero’s office in Ho Chi Minh City in March, where we met members of the Vietnam squad, and took part in mentorship sessions with top executives from various teams. During our visit, we learned about Vero’s values, culture, and the company’s strategies and practical lessons.
Meeting the Vietnam squad
When we arrived at Vero’s Ho Chi Minh office, our teammates introduced us to everyone in the office. Their professionalism and enthusiasm showed us that Vero’s values extend far beyond our office in Manila.
Jerico Rivera, the HR intern, noted that he was surprised by how big and agile the office space was. “Everyone seems excited about going to work every day because of the flexible and green environment. I love that the Vietnam team has a game room so they can hang out and have fun together. ” Rivera shared.
On our first day, the Vietnam team treated us to traditional Vietnamese snacks like Bánh Tráng Trộn, or rice paper salad, and Bánh Tráng Cuốn Trứng Lòng Đào, an egg wrapped in rice paper paired with Sốt tắc chấm bánh tráng, a dip made with tamarind sauce, chili sauce, and roasted peanut.
Learning industry secrets and culture from regional mentors
After settling in, it was time to get down to business. Our schedule was packed with mentorship sessions led by top executives from the IMC, Influence, PR, Data & Insights, People & Culture, and HR teams. These sessions provided us with a deeper understanding of each team’s role and function within the company, as well as their work dynamic, and the significance of their contribution to the company’s success.
“Our objective in sending our interns to one of our regional offices is to give them an opportunity to meet and learn from our leaders in Vietnam and Thailand. This was organized so they could develop their competence and receive mentorship from experienced professionals in the field,” Danica Marielle Vallano, HR Generalist at Vero Philippines, said.
During our first session, the IMC and Influence teams introduced us to TrueVibe, Vero’s tool for identifying the most suitable influencer for a campaign, demonstrating Vero’s commitment to pairing brands with the right collaborators. “I gained insights into how the company uses data to make strategic decisions on influencer selection and campaign design, I also learned that consulting with departmental experts across the team is crucial in interpreting the data collected,” said Martina Giron, Data and Insights intern.
While in the Vietnam office, we were able to sit down and speak with Vero’s Data & Insights Director, Nguyen Thach. He stressed the importance of being intelligence-driven when consulting brands. In his session, we discovered that optimizing data helps clients make informed decisions, fulfill their goals, and explore possibilities beyond the norm.
Aside from the company’s tactics, we also learned practical lessons from Raphael Lachkar, Vero’s Chief Operating Officer. He shared case studies and real-life experiences that taught us how to work with clients, improve our approach to handling wins and losses, and resolve challenges. He also reminded us that a big idea should not only generate buzz, but must also show the brand’s identity to the audience through strong, concise, and creative messaging. “Through Raph’s mentorship session, I saw that as a consultancy agency, it is our responsibility to challenge ideas to make sure they meet the client’s needs, provide better solutions, and help clients gain clarity on their brief” Hazel Cabillo, the IMC Accounts intern, shared.
We also spoke to Vero’s HR and People & Culture team. Looking at Vero’s history, we were able to understand how the company’s culture and values evolved growing into a diverse team that values collaborative work, autonomy, and lifelong learning through its core values of trust, kindness, and curiosity.
“Through the mentorship sessions, I learned how Vero works as a team, from their internal processes and relationships to the contributions of different regional offices that make it a competent and reliable company,” shared Sherina Santos, PR Account Executive intern.
Discovering Ho Chi Minh City’s rich culture
After soaking up valuable insights, we made the most of our fourth day in Ho Chi Minh City by exploring the different areas the city had to offer. Our first stop was Book Street, which showed the city’s vibrant reading culture. Then we went to see the Central Post Office, whose French architectural design is admired by tourists (and where Martina enjoyed collecting postcards!).
After a few hours of strolling around, we had lunch at an Instagram-famous rooftop restaurant, Secret Garden. Hidden in an old apartment building, it offers a lovely view of the colorful Pasteur Street. Our meal was the highlight of the day where we tried their signature Xôi chiên (deep-fried sticky rice with minced pork and shrimp), Tôm chiên bao vừng (fried prawn with pork and sesame), and Tôm cuộn cải xanh (boiled prawn rolled with mustard green and fresh noodles). After lunch, we visited the Ho Chi Minh Museum, where we learned about the country’s struggles during the Vietnam War, and saw local vintage handicrafts, revolutionary era artifacts, and the city’s traditional arts.
We also had the chance to visit, Ben Thanh Market, a famous shopping destination, and the vibrant and popular Nguyen Hue Walking Street, which is surrounded by high-rise buildings, restaurants, and street foods.
As we explored the city we realized how similar Ho Chi Minh is to Manila, especially when it comes to the weather. However, we were excited to learn about Vietnamese culture throughout our stay. “It’s clear that Vietnamese people are very proud of their culture and heritage. I loved learning about Vietnamese taste, and aesthetics through architecture, food, and fashion,” says Giron.
From the series of workshops tailored to develop our competence to the activities and meals we shared together, we saw Vero’s core values and commitment to helping shape the next generation of talent.
“This trip strengthened my eagerness to learn, as it gave me an opportunity to broaden my knowledge. I will use this momentum to keep developing and taking steps to enhance my career,” said Santos.
Our trip to Vietnam left us with many lessons. We learned that every market is different, offering distinct opportunities for growth. It was also eye-opening to experience a multicultural workplace that emphasized the importance of diversity. Seeing the autonomy of team members and the trust they have for each other in their work was inspiring. Moreover, everyone we met was kind and welcoming, making our stay memorable.
The communications industry is typically competitive and demanding, but our adventure in Vietnam proves that being equipped with the right skills and knowledge and working with a great team can make work fun, exciting, and engaging.