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Reinventing Success: Thanh Tung TRINH (EPITA Class of 2021)’s Path from Marketing Expert to IT Leader

Trinh Thanh Tung’s career and life experiences form a remarkable account of challenges, growth, and discovery. With a background in business English and telecommunications, Tung initially thrived in marketing and brand management in Vietnam. A mid-life reassessment led him to pursue further studies abroad, culminating in a Master of Science degree in Computer Science with a specialization in Data Science & Analytics from EPITA. This story captures his transformation, resilience, and the pursuit of new opportunities, ultimately leading to a successful career in IT management in France.

What is your background before you studied at EPITA?

My name is Thanh Tung TRINH from Vietnam. I studied business English and Telecommunication in Vietnam. After graduation, I found myself increasing drawn to business and marketing, leading me to spend about eight years in marketing, particularly in the field of brand management and communication, until 2016.

In 2016, I experienced a mid-life crisis compounded by the intense pressures of working in Asia. I felt the urge to step back and reevaluate my future. I had always dreamed of studying aboard, and with a solid financial foundation, I decided to pursue this ambition.

I chose France for my studies and enrolled in the Master in Marketing Management program in Toulouse Business School. The international environment, friendly classmates, and approachable professors made my experience enjoyable. However, given my extensive professional experience in marketing, much of the coursework felt familiar. Nonetheless, the courses on big data and innovation reignited my passion and directed my career trajectory.

After graduation, my limited proficiency in French hindered my job prospects. I thought of returning to Vietnam, but then I questioned myself and would like to give one more chance. I have decided to learn French and enrolled in a language school for about ten months. I have elevated my French proficiency from A2 to B2.

At that moment, I fell in love for this country, but I didn’t know about it. [Laughs] I told myself, “Now I master the French language, and I have integrated into the local society. What should I do next?” I could still return to Vietnam, but I have been afraid of the previous routine work which was no longer my career path. Back then, I was 31 years old, and in my opinion, it was the time to equip myself with new competences in technology. It was like “now or never”. And that’s how I started looking for Master’s degrees in Data Science.

Why did you choose to study at EPITA?

Searching for English-taught Master’s programs, I discovered EPITA. The absence of an age limit and the school’s strong reputation were significant draws. I researched the reputation of the School, and I asked the opinion of some alumni. Alumni feedback indicated a challenging yet rewarding curriculum, which solidified my decision to enroll in the Master of Science in Computer Science – Data Science and Analytics program at EPITA in the Fall 2019 intake.

Why did you choose your degree?

My enthusiasm for data science stemmed from its critical role in business strategy for the technology industry. That was the domain where I could see myself heading. The Data Science & Analytics specialization has suited my aspirations perfectly. Despite concerns about my background in telecommunications, EPITA offered me a chance, for which I am deeply grateful.

What is your favorite memory from studying at EPITA?

One of my fondest memories of EPITA is the unwavering support from the International Programs Admission team and the Administrative team during the difficult times of COVID. We were allowed to pay the tuition fees later than scheduled. We have also obtained assistance from the Team about CAF, visa, and even person issues. Such kind of student support is one of a kind.

The International Programs Department is quite cool in terms of organization. Teachers are very friendly. If we had any questions, we could contact the teachers easily. For example, we had classes and projects in parallel, and it could get stressful from time to time. When we have encountered difficulties, we asked for the help of teachers. The faculty’s openness and willingness to help, exemplified by Mr. Bill Manos’s support with our end-of-studies project, made a significant impact.

What was your internship? How did you find it?

EPITA’s reputation opened doors for me even before graduation. To test my employability, I joined some job fairs and presented my CVs to recruiters before graduation around December 2019. I was given a job interview by KPMG Luxembourg in 2019. The company really valued the reputation of EPITA. This is already an indirect support. However, I was not hired at the end because of COVID and the resulting budget cut.

Then I found an internship as a Business Analyst for a CRM – Data based technology start-up and I worked online during COVID period. At that moment, I have used all the things that I learnt at EPITA. I leveraged my knowledge about the analysis of data, project management Agile, and coding. I have also applied the IT communication skills that I have gained at EPITA, because I had to be in frequent contact with the clients. Eventually, I finished the internship with excellent results from the work and my supervisor was happy to give me high notes on the evaluation.

What is your job role now?

After graduation, I found a job as IT Business consultant at Aubay, a contractor of BNP, thanks to networking. At that time, the role demanded both my technology background and bilingual abilities. I have fulfilled their requirement and obtained a job offer. I have worked for them for about two years. The languages of the working environment are both French and English, around 70% in French, and 30% in English.

The initial six months were challenging, but I eventually became more fluent in French. There had been some issues, but it was manageable. Most clients appreciated my work and my curiosity, they admitted that “you asked a lot of questions even that we don’t have the answer!”. My excellent performance led to a permanent position as a Global Incident Manager at BNP Paribas since February 2024.

My responsibilities include ensuring smooth IT operations of the infrastructure in the subsidiary of BNP, BNP Paribas Partners for Innovation. If there are any incidents about the IT infrastructure all over the world, my job is to resolve the issues as soon as possible and minimize their impact. At the same time, I have to communicate the issues with relevant parties and to participate in the resolving of the incidents. These job responsibilities require me to use vast knowledge in IT technology that I earned during my Master’s studies at EPITA and Bachelor in Telecommunications.

Talking about the application of knowledge, how does your study at EPITA relate to your career?

EPITA’s design of MSc curriculum is very smart, since they have created a brilliant balance between management and technology. For the management part, I have mastered it already since I studied this domain before. However, the technology part is completely new to me. Courses in Unix information systems, big data, data science, and agile project management have been particularly relevant to my current role.

What advice would you give to students looking to get into EPITA?

To future EPITA students, I advise you to engage actively with professors and peers. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and embrace mistakes as learning opportunities. Be open to diverse backgrounds and opinions. Challenges, such as advanced algorithms, may seem daunting, but persistence pays off. Work hard and stay resilient!

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