Le Viet Duc and Khun Kanyarat Krutipisamai (Sasi) are two of 80 students from Vietnam and Thailand who participated in their countries’ first-ever Microsoft YouthSpark TechSperts programme: a training course for youth to hone their technology, sales, and employability skills—implemented in partnership with Kenan Institute Asia. Little did the two expect to be crowned winners for the “Best Sales Pitch” category during the programme, which is even more inspiring given their lack of background in technology and sales.
Now a third year student from Hanoi Vocational College for High Technology (HHT), Viet Duc developed a passion for business at an early age, which he attributes to his family’s small but well-run business. He yearns to become a successful businessman, but admitted that his lack of exposure to sales skills was a pressing concern.
“Even though I am studying at the Faculty of Business Administration, I did not receive much guidance when it comes to sales techniques. Upon coming across the TechSperts’ enrolment announcement in the faculty’s forum, I decided to apply for it in hopes of picking up some sales tips,” said Viet Duc.
In Thailand, Sasi, a 12th grade student at an Office of Non-formal and Informal Education (ONIE) school, wanted to take part in the programme so that she could learn more about technology—a topic she had little experience with.
“Other than studying at ONIE on Saturdays, I spent the bulk of my time helping out at my family’s grocery store,” Sasi explained. “ I really didn’t understand much about technology, since I rarely use it in my daily life.”
However, the duo soon learned that the TechSperts programme is no walk in the park. Viet Duc found that his biggest challenge was to work with other participants—who he was initially not familiar with—to tackle real-world challenges. Sasi also felt uncomfortable interacting with her fellow participants at first, and was overwhelmed by the amount of information she had to digest. Yet these challenges did not slow them down. Through sheer hard work and determination, and the encouragement of their trainers, the two youth overcame these obstacles and were soon recognised for their efforts as the winners of the sales pitch challenge.
Viet Duc with his very first customer during the TechSperts programme.
Surprisingly, Sasi grew to enjoy meeting new people during her internship. “What I liked most about the programme was that it gave me the opportunity to meet different customers. I like the challenge of engaging with various customers, as all of them have different needs and requirements that I have to see to,” she enthused. Similarly, Viet Duc enjoyed working in a professional setting, and found the hands-on teaching in the TechSperts programme particularly useful.
Today, Viet Duc is an accomplished salesperson at Ha Son Transportation and Tourism, while Sasi is a part-time IT salesperson working at IT City in Thailand. As encapsulated by Sasi in one line, “Opportunities like this are difficult to come by, but they can change lives,” their experiences at the TechSperts programme might just go a long way in helping them meet their aspirations.
Sasi enjoys interacting with her customers, and looks forward to learning more each day.