As a bioengineering major, I came into this program having a strong knowledge base in math and science, but had virtually zero understanding about business practices. That’s what made our visit to VinaCapital today interesting for me. While many of the topics they discussed were far above my head, I was still able to learn the basics of what the business does and the process by which it carries out its tasks.
VinaCapital is an asset management group, meaning they attempt to get both foreign and domestic investors to give money, so that they in turn can invest this money into companies here in Vietnam. This provides benefit for everyone, as the country gets more and more of the infrastructure it needs, the company makes a profit off of the businesses it invests in, and the original investors receive a share of the profits.
VinaCapital oversees a total of approximately 1.8 billion U.S. dollars, but this money is diverted into separate funds, all of which are managed by separate groups within the company. For example, they have one fund for investing in businesses building infrastructure here in Vietnam, and another dedicated to investing in real estate. In all, they have about five or six funds that they manage, and all are listed on the London Stock Exchange. This means that they can be bought and sold frequently (or they have a high liquidity), and they informed us that this has attracted a large amount of necessary foreign investors.
Lastly, we learned about the VinaCapital Foundation, a branch of the company that focuses solely on charity work and giving back to the Vietnamese people. Specifically, the foundation directs much of its money towards charities helping children with congenital heart failure, a very common issue here in Vietnam. The foundation also helps many other varieties of charities, but this is the primary target. Upon asking about how the corporation and foundation work together, we learned that both groups work closely together, as they want to make sure that the charities they are investing in are supported by the investors backing the corporation.
Overall, it was a very informative day, and I’m glad I got to see a little bit of the business aspect that I am not accustomed to seeing. While I still think that engineering was the right choice for me, I now have an interest in business, and plan to pursue this through my own readings and studies.