Community and networks make dreams come to life

For recent graduate Ha Viet Bui, community has been crucial to his work, life, and study. A strong career in procurement, supply chain, and sustainability in both the private and social enterprise sectors led Ha to an interest in pursuing higher education.  

As for all others, the arrival of Covid-19 in New Zealand completely changed many of the plans and expectations Ha, who is from Vietnam, had for his further education and work life. Ha says that it’s the communities he has found in New Zealand, both in the Massey professional and alumni networks, and in his new home city of Wellington, that have carried him through these challenging times. Now working for New World as a buyer, Ha can reflect on how Covid-19 impacted on his studies, and how connections to these networks, both while he was a student and now as an alumnus himself, have contributed to his success.

Choosing New Zealand as an English-speaking country with a strong focus on sustainability, Ha just needed to figure out what programme would be right for him to start the next stage of his studies. Ha ultimately decided to pursue a Master of Supply Chain Management at Massey.

Ha says it was conversations with key staff at Massey that made him decide Massey was to become his academic home. “Firstly, Massey staff were so quick and helpful with their responses to me from the beginning. And the two main people I sought help from, Senior Lecturer Wayne Macpherson (Massey Business School), who I originally approached, and Professor Paul Childerhouse (School of Food and Advanced Technology), who ended up as my main supervisor, were extremely supportive.”

Of particular help to Ha was Massey’s wide network of supply chain practitioners and academics. Being introduced to the Scion Research Institute by Professor Childerhouse and being able to work on a large government forestry sustainability project as a part of his Master’s was a huge boon. “The experience working for New Zealand’s public sectors was really impressive. I realised that working for a government agency would bring many more impacts to everyone in the country, compared with the same amount of work in other sectors.”

Professor Childerhouse recalls that Ha showed remarkable perseverance during his Master’s. “Whilst simultaneously working on a Scion forestry project and his thesis, he managed to deliver high-quality outcomes for all concerned. The project team very much appreciated his modelling skills and positive attitude.”  

Ha graduated with distinction in early 2021.

Later after his studies, Ha was introduced to the Massey’s supply chain management alumni network where he got to know Vinay Linus (Senior Procurement Lead, Mitre 10), through whom he received updates on job vacancies, and guidance on improving his hireability beyond his studies. “It was amazing – we’ve stayed in contact even now. Mr. Linus genuinely cares for me and keeps checking in on how I’m doing, asking if I need anything. I think all other alumni are doing the same and so do I. What Massey did here, building a supportive community of alumni all over New Zealand and around the world, is really amazing. It’s great work and we need to keep doing it.”

Looking back, Ha credits his success to personal determination and the great support he received. “Learning is a continuous process for life. You should not let your age stop you. That’s what I thought when I decided to do postgraduate study, and I still try to do it now.” When asked about his future plans, he replies, “I will definitely pursue a PhD in the future!”