By HÀ LINH NGUYEN
Global Business Journalism reporter
Jamille Tran, a 2022 graduate of the Global Business Journalism program from Vietnam, is currently working for Bloomberg News as a Hanoi-based reporter. She has quickly earned a reputation as one of the leading experts on venture capital and tech start-ups in Southeast Asia.
During a recent interview, Jamille talked about her GBJ experience. Despite having to complete the whole two-year program online because of coronavirus restrictions on travel to China at the time, she has never regretted her choice of enrolling in the prestigious program at Tsinghua University.
In the interview, Jamille described five things she loves about GBJ and how the program helped her advance as a reporter.
1. Amazingly attentive professors
The first thing Jamille mentioned, which she also deemed as her fondest and most lasting memory of the program, was the faculty.
“They were all extremely nice!” Jamille said with a beaming smile.
Although she is now a Bloomberg reporter, Jamille actually didn’t have much confidence in her English skills when she entered GBJ. While her English was good enough for everyday conversations and basic writing, she had never thought of actually using the language for serious news reporting.
She believed that it was the detailed comments correcting her assignments made by the professors that helped her make great progress in her English writing skills.
“They were filled with red marks and comments, pointing out which parts I did great and which needed more improvements,” Jamille recalled the times when she got her assignments checked by Professor Rick Dunham, co-director of GBJ. “They [the comments] really helped make sure that I’d never repeat the same mistakes.”
She also loves how the professors really make effort to understand all students.
“They really do know you, both your strengths and your weaknesses. And because of that, they can give you the best advice,” she shared.
2. Diversity and cultural tolerance
The next thing Jamille loves about GBJ is the level of cultural tolerance and diversity that the program has. Despite the common thought that China in general and Chinese journalism in particular are very conservative and close-minded, the atmosphere in GBJ is the complete opposite.
According to its website, GBJ has students from 67 countries (as of 2021), making it one of the most global programs in China. With a student body composed of people from different cultural backgrounds, Jamille said that all perspectives were welcome in the program.
"You can discuss all different things, including politically sensitive topics, and no one will tell you off. The Chinese professors offer their Chinese viewpoints, but they always respect yours."
The former GBJ student believed that being exposed to different opinions and culture values is very important for a journalist to keep a neutral position when reporting the news. And GBJ is a perfect place for that.
3. A well-designed curriculum with practical classes
Jamille has no complaints about the courses on journalistic skills offered by GBJ. She said they were not the theoretical things that only stayed on paper.
“They teach skills you can actually use when you become a journalist!” she exclaimed.
The Bloomberg reporter shared how she’s still using what she was taught during her two years at GBJ, be it how to write a headline or how to structure articles in Associated Press style.
Besides typical classes for a journalism program, she is equally amazed by the wide range of courses on different topics such as economics, Chinese culture, and world politics. These classes, according to Jamille, allow students to sharpen their analytical skills and broaden their knowledge of current issues.
“As a journalist, you cannot just aesthetically put words together. You have to know what’s going on where and critically analyze them,” she commented.
4. Many chances to strengthen your portfolio
Attending classes at GBJ means a lot of writing assignments, which will then be carefully checked by the professors as mentioned above. The final products, more often than not, are ready to publish professionally.
For Jamille, her homework often became a part of her portfolio, and some even got published on the Global Business Journalism website and on Vietnamese news sites. Jamille said these published stories played a significant role in helping her land the job at Bloomberg and several freelance jobs or internships before that.
"After all, you have some very decent pieces of work, already checked by professionals in the field, to impress your prospective employers,” she said.
5. Most of all, GBJ helps build your confidence
If you meet Jamille now, "shy" and "timid" would be the last words that would come to your mind. She radiates the energy of a confident and outgoing girl who knows exactly how to keep people engaged in any conversation. But this is not who she was three years ago.
“I was very shy,” revealed Jamille.
She expressed great gratitude to GBJ for shaping her current confident self.
“You often earn more respect if people know you’re a Tsinghua graduate. That makes you feel you’re pretty cool and will surely give you some confidence,” Jamille said, half-jokingly, while explaining how GBJ helped build her self-esteem.
But of course, that’s not all. She believed that the knowledge in journalism field she learned at GBJ even plays a bigger role.
“When you know exactly what you’re doing, you just naturally become more confident in doing it,” Jamille said. “GBJ really gave me solid guidance and firm knowledge to thrive in the field.”
“It’s very important for a journalist to be confident and bold. If you’re not, you cannot keep the conversation going to get more news. And GBJ can definitely help you with that."
You've seen Jamille Tran's five reasons to join Global Business Journalism. If you are interested in embarking on a new journey with GBJ, visit its website for more information.