Reflections on the first Vero Next Gen from the young talents who took part in it

From October through December 2020, Vero’s Vietnam office pioneered Next Gen, a program offering ambitious and promising young communications talents in Vietnam a tailor-made training and internship experience. The program, which Vero plans to hold twice annually, is based on the “career kickstart” model, in which young talent are given unique access to mentorship, training, hands-on experience, and networking.

Now, with Next Gen in its last days, we have gathered reflections from each of the participants on their experiences with the program – what they expected, what they learned, their pleasures and challenges, and the impact they believe it could have on their careers.

Yen Phi

When I was searching for an internship, my university’s job board mostly listed big agencies. But then I saw Vero’s request for a video CV, and I was curious enough to check out the agency and its unique culture. I was not disappointed. Going in, I had several expectations. One was that there would be an overwhelming amount of work. And it’s true that I was busy, but it was always manageable thanks to the team spirit here. In my team we have six different accounts, but whenever one of us needs help we sit down together. We’re not divided about who does what, since we have a shared goal of getting things done.I expected to learn a lot from my manager and teammates and during the workshops, which I did. In fact, the most interesting part of this program was that I could rotate to different teams. At first I thought I was better suited to PR, but when I worked with the IMC team I realized I would like to do that more. I was excited by the fact that IMC includes a bit of everything – social, video production, events, press conferences, press releases – anything to maximize results for the client.

Finally, I thought my responsibilities would be limited, but I got the whole package from my team, from contact to communication to contracts. I took part in independent work as an account executive and developed my own social channel posts. I knew that I would be involved with real clients and real projects, but I also dealt with influencers, media, and vendors for the project. I connected the internal and external teams together, and I took part in some interesting projects like production of a music video and photoshoots for online news articles.

Overall, this program was so much more than I expected, and I’m glad to have been a part of it.

My Khanh

My bachelor’s degree was in marketing, then logistics and supply chain, then education. When I returned to Vietnam, I was looking for something I could be passionate about. My career mentor gave me a test of my strengths and weaknesses, and I found that I’m strong in communicating with and helping other people. I realized then that I would rather do communications than logistics. Because I was starting over, I planned to try my best to see if I’m really suitable for this kind of career. I wanted to learn as much as I could and be involved in every kind of activity. When I completed my bachelor’s, they didn’t focus much on digital marketing, but now everything is digital so there was a lot to learn. I was also afraid that I was too old to not have real-world experience, but I quickly learned to be humble and learn from those younger than me.

That approach paid off in a lot of ways. I’ve learned a lot, and people showed me not just what to do, but how and why to do it. Since I’m a beginner, I had to master basic things like completing tasks on time and keeping track of workflow. My colleagues and supervisors at Vero always kept me on track and watched over me, and I built good relationships with many of them.

This program has given me a strong start in the industry by allowing me to understand what everybody does, as opposed to what I might get at a more specific agency. I worked with everyone to manage accounts for international brands. At events, I was able to communicate directly with journalists and media and offer them help with other brands and products, and I had to learn how to work with KOLs and negotiate with them based on their desires and needs. We also had to chase vendors to provide products and services in time for our deadlines, which I learned to do by being nice, keeping regular contact, supporting them as necessary, and making sure they understood we have deadlines just like them.

I learned to be cautious and take time to understand situations from the beginning rather than through trial and error. It can be better to time and get a lot of information up front rather than start immediately and make mistakes that will have to be fixed.
After working at many different places, including four years in Australia, I appreciate a good working environment. The environment here feels “international” in that way, especially with the bonding activities that aren’t so common at Vietnamese companies. Everyone here cares about each other and has each other’s backs, and people avoid drama and competition. I appreciate the encouragement to form social connections and the focus on wellness. For all the energy I put into my work, I also get energy from others. Now I’ve found my career direction and want to focus on that and contribute my best. I’ve decided this is the industry I want to stay in, ideally as an account manager, as I enjoy supporting teams, helping clients, and providing information and consultation.

Phuong Nam

I worked before as an intern at an event company, where I assisted with outdoor events, but I wanted to explore PR and advertising – planning and execution rather than just activation. I think the Next Gen program is unique because trainees can experience different positions in the company, which meant I could discover my expertise. It was also very good at guiding me in the flow from concept to execution, and it cleared up some of my misconceptions. For example, I thought we wouldn’t go to events, but I was actually able to help run the events we planned in both teams I joined. The talks from the COO Raphael Lachkar helped me to understand the concept and purpose of PR, and how it’s different from advertising. My writing skills also improved dramatically, as I was writing constantly, working with press and media on editorials, advertorials, and emails to influencers.

My two managers, Trong and Huyen, were very kind. Agency culture can be harsh, but here they were patient and always willing to teach me, even when I made mistakes. They take their responsibilities seriously. From them I learned to be more detail-oriented, to not make the same mistakes twice, and to always have a backup plan. I realized the importance of getting the format right and being careful, not just with the quality of writing, but by giving the clients what they want, down to the smallest details.

Kim Yen

I did a lot of internships before, including as an in-house content writer and event coordinator. I majored in marketing, but before I joined Vero I was unsure about what to do in the future, so I wanted to figure out if my skills and knowledge fit an agency environment.

At the beginning I was very confident about what I could do, but I have realized that confidence was not enough. In my three months here, I have learned a lot and gained benefits beyond my expectations. Vero has made a lot of effort to train our knowledge and skills. Each of my internships has had different programs, but with Next Gen it’s very personalized. I got regular feedback and changed mentors every month. There were a lot of workshops to help improve our understanding of PR and media culture. The people in Vero are different from environments where I worked before. I feel like people here have more energy and enthusiasm.

Now I know what I have to do for my career, though I still need to prepare for how to do that. This program gave me a strong foundation in PR, media, and specific skills such as management and communications – handling timelines and learning how to express my thoughts, preparing a script before I speak, and getting feedback to improve. I learned how to create a proposal, and after the program I presented in English in front of the whole company. At that moment everything I learned came together, so I’m very proud of it.