Phuong Thi Nam Nguyen is a Chevening Awards winner studying the MA in Financial Journalism
What were you doing before you decided to study for a masters?
I was a journalist for Vietnam Investment Review, a business and finance publication with English and Vietnamese editions. I covered foreign investments, foreign exchange, major corporations, gold and the stock market. I had worked there for five years before I put my career on hold for Master’s studies.
Why did you decide to study your course at City, University of London?
City is the only university in the UK that offers a specialised Master’s degree in Financial Journalism, which suits my study goals and career ambitions. I love the hands-on aspect of the programme and how it combines both finance and journalism skills. Moreover, City is located at the heart of London and near the financial centre (i.e. City of London), which is perfect for class trips and internships. I also enjoy the international aspect of the programme – we’re scheduled to visit Shanghai and New York in the next term!
I also love studying with the faculty, who are all seasoned journalists with lots of experience and insight to share.
How did you find out about the scholarship?
The Chevening Awards is considered a prestigious scholarship for future leaders around the world. In Vietnam, Chevening alumni have made their mark in all industries and contributed greatly to society, and I always aspire to be one of them.
I found out about Chevening from the website, social media, from alumni and also sharing sessions.
How has the scholarship impacted your university experience?
First and foremost, without full financial support from Chevening, I wouldn’t be able to study at City so I’m immensely grateful for that.
Interestingly enough, three of my classmates are Chevening scholars from other countries so it’s been great being able to share my Chevening journey with them.
There are also Chevening scholars studying other courses at City, and some of them also stay in the same dorm as me. It’s pretty clear that Chevening offers me a community, which presents opportunities for international friendships and exchange of knowledge. I hope these connections will last a lifetime, even after I graduate from City.
What are your career goals and what do you hope to achieve after you have graduated?
I’m honestly still figuring out my exact path in financial journalism – but recently, I started doing videos and would love to explore multimedia journalism, i.e. broadcast and online (I’d always been a print journalist so this versatility is very new and exciting to me).
No matter what the medium is, I will return to my hometown (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) and report on the local economy. The Vietnamese economy is booming with foreign investments coming in and out, so it’ll be a fascinating time to be a journalist in the country.
I also hope to improve my financial knowledge and networking skills, because both are life-long assets for journalists to have.
In the distant future, when I hopefully become a veteran journalist myself, I hope to coach the next generation of aspiring journalists too – I think coaching for financial/ business journalism in Vietnam is still very few and far between, and the young graduates need that badly. I want to share my experience with them and avoid the pitfalls that they might encounter.
What are some of the highlights on the course so far?
The course has been great. I particularly enjoyed the visits from working journalists – they write for major news outlets like the Financial Times, The Guardian and Dow Jones and have loads of know-how to share with us.
Moreover, we had a trip to the Bank of England and the Bloomberg headquarter, which was pretty special. The trips gave us a glimpse into the media world and also the financial world that we’ll cover when we graduate.
As part of the course, we’re expected to think of ourselves as practising journalists and turn in stories every week with new angles and interviews. It’s admittedly very challenging, but also super exciting and it prepares us for the “real world” ahead.
What advice would you give to a prospective student thinking of doing your chosen course at City?
I think they might want to read as much as they can about finance and business – books and high-quality newspapers – to keep them abreast of the news and also a taste of what financial journalism is like (and also which “beat” – specialised topic – they might want to cover).
I also think it might help to gain a bit of writing/broadcasting experience before you start the course. They don’t have to be published pieces, but they’ll help you familiarise with communication and boosts your confidence with the written/spoken word.
That said, I think it’s also best to keep an open mind about what you want to do after graduating. Throughout the course, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to figure that out, so don’t worry too much if you don’t have a concrete plan yet.
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