KPMG intern can't get enough of dynamic Ho Chi Minh City

Waikato University graduate Harriet Yeoman describes living in vibrant Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and interning at audit, tax and advisory company KPMG. With a few weeks left on her internship, Harriet, who graduated in 2022 with a Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours, is already planning her return.
Harriet in front of a KPMG sign with fellow KPMG intern Cassidy Ray-Matthews

Harriet with fellow KPMG intern Cassidy Ray-Matthews

When I first landed in Vietnam I felt full of excitement! I was so fascinated - admiring the scenery, buildings and traffic during the drive from the airport to my accommodation. Once I was settled in and unpacked, I went for a walk around our neighbourhood; it was exhilarating to be immersed within an environment completely different to life back home in New Zealand.

I am currently interning within the Deal Advisory Division at KPMG Vietnam, specifically within the Special Situations Group (SSG).The line of work involves providing performance improvement solutions to businesses through helping clients improve profitability, cash flow and balance sheet situations, providing deal value creation and working capital optimisation strategies. 

My mentor, performance manager and team have been extremely welcoming, inclusive and friendly towards me. Since my first day in Vietnam, it has been evident that it is part of Vietnamese culture to make people feel welcomed and at home.

The whole SSG team eating at an outdoor restaurant

The whole SSG team eating at an outdoor restaurant

On the first day in office, myself and my fellow intern, Cassidy, had the honour of meeting and talking with Warrick Cleine, CEO of KPMG Vietnam and Cambodia. It was very insightful listening to such an influential and successful business leader from New Zealand speak passionately about enhancing intercultural business relationships between Asia and New Zealand. 

Warrick emphasised the importance of New Zealand increasing connections with Vietnam; even though I've only lived here for a short time, it's evident Ho Chi Minh City has a dynamic and ever-growing economy. 

The first few weeks in the office involved completing a variety of online training modules, utilising data analytics tools and programmes required to undertake SSG work, and helping team members create presentations with KPMG branding. 

Harriet takes a selfie of herself and fellow intern Cassidy on a street

Harriet says having fellow intern Cassidy to share experiences and impressions with has made the experience that much richer

I am very fortunate to live and work with another Asia New Zealand Foundation intern, Cassidy. The first time we met each other was in Vietnam and since then we have developed a strong friendship and shared many laughs.

I enjoy spending time, sharing experiences and making memories with other people, and it has been fun travelling to different parts of the country together during our weekends and trying different Vietnamese foods and restaurants.

We live in the same apartment, so when we get home from work, we’re able to debrief about our day. It’s been invaluable having someone to discuss the cultural similarities and differences between Việt Nam and New Zealand, support each other through this new and exciting time in our lives, and share our perceptions and views of the world and how they have changed through gaining a more global mindset from travelling.

During the weekends we try to explore some of Vietnam, with a highlight so far being travelling to the hometown of a friend from KPMG. We spent the day trying traditional Vietnamese food, travelled to the beach, and went to a couple rooftop buildings with incredible views of the beach and city.

Vietnam is very different to New Zealand in all ways. The cuisine, transportation (riding on the back of a scooter is amazing), work style and atmosphere are all new and exciting, which makes living in this dynamic city an eye-opening experience.

Trying traditional Vietnamese cuisine has been an incredible and is something you can’t experience in New Zealand. Street food is definitely my favourite - there are many vendors you can find in any part of the city that sell very authentic, high quality traditional Vietnamese food.

My favourite types of food I've tried include bánh xèo (traditional Vietnamese pancake), cao lầu (noodle, pork and lettuce dish that originates from Hội An), phở (a soup dish with fresh herbs noodles and beef), bún thịt nướng (noodles, meat and spring rolls), bánh mì (baguette with meat, coriander & picked veggies) and cà phê trúng (Vietnamese egg coffee that originates from Hà Nội, north of Việt Nam).

Harriet with KPMG intern and friend, Long (centre), and Long (SSG intern) and her mentor Dieu Anh with the remnants of a meal in front of them

Harriet with KPMG intern and friend, Long (centre) and her KPMG mentor Dieu Anh

Interning in Vietnam has grown my interest and passion in Vietnamese and Asian culture, history and life.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my internship experience thus far and cannot wait for the weeks ahead. I am already planning to visit Vietnam again in the near future!