Monday 23 November 2020

My Remote Internship Experience: At the Midpoint

An internship with a company is an important and valuable learning experience for any tertiary student out there. I had been looking forward to experiencing the office life of reporting in, getting to know my new colleagues. However, the pandemic struck. Instead of the in-person office life I was expecting, many of us were suddenly whisked into our study chairs and tables, and had to gear up to work from home.

My internship with the ODM Group is even more unique. The head and regional office are all overseas! Thus, my remote internship started. And it was nothing that my wildest imaginations could dream up of.  Hi everyone! I am Rhea from Singapore, and in this short blog, I will share with you my remote internship experience.

Initial Impression:

At first, I was considerably worried about how this remote internship would work. After all, I wanted to do my best for the company. My worries were quickly dispelled. There was great communication with the senior staff and the previous batch of interns who trained us via Skype.

Despite the fact that we worked remotely, we were still able to have an on ground experience by looking for our own real life case studies to blog about. I learnt to keep my eyes peeled whenever I go out for any interesting promotions that will make good case study materials! 

This is an example of a set of photos taken for this blog.

Some Things I Love:

Clear Training Manuals and Tips

There was a series of training manuals with detailed instructions on how to utilize the digital workspace of ODM. Each department had a specific training manual filled with detailed information that really helped the other interns and myself. We were able to learn our roles and responsibilities quickly and get to work. We were also very lucky to be the second batch of remote interns, where the previous batch was able to provide many useful tips and advice. I took in what they said and set up my study table to be as neat as possible!

My Table Setup

Constant Communication

Communication played a crucial factor in making remote internship work out well for everyone. Every morning, we will start off the day with a staff meeting call. Personally, this has helped my out immensely with getting into the work mindset, and I will have a clear plan for the day ahead. In the afternoon, we have another staff call to check in on our progress and clarify any problems we may have ran into during the day. I love how involved the senior staff is with our work while giving us the freedom and independence to plan our own schedule. This has made everyday an enjoyable one. 

Sharing this experience with 4 other interns:

Humans are social creatures. I am very glad to be sharing my remote internship experience closely with 4 other interns. With each other around, we definitely settled into our roles easier. Working with them has been a blast, and it is great knowing that we are not alone in this unique position. We have had a gathering to boost our relationship, and there are plans for more in the future. I certainly can't wait!


It is already halfway through my internship, yet time flew by as if it was nothing. All the interns have learnt so much already, and I am still learning new things everyday. This remote internship is definitely a unique once in a lifetime experience I will remember, and makes a fun fact to share about myself to others!

If you're looking to work with us, feel free to contact us here! Otherwise, you could also check out our marketing case studies on our online magazine to learn more. 

Thursday 13 August 2020

Ultimate Guide to Remote Working Internship 2020-2021

Our internship experience with the ODM Group have been very unexpected. With plans made for what was supposed to be a 5 month overseas internship program, we arrived at Saigon, Vietnam on 9th of March. It was a 4 hour flight from Singapore, and there were 3 of us.

Once we settled with our temporary accommodations, we were soon ready to live the expat life. We even managed to secure an apartment which was directly above the office! With Covid 19 becoming more uncertain at that time, we definitely did not expect to end our journey so soon. 

On the 14th of March, Vietnam and many other countries were starting to close their borders. This made it harder for people like us to work abroad, therefore we only had a limited amount of time working in the HCMC office. 

So we had to cancel plans made for Vietnam and scheduled a flight back to Singapore. 
We were very sad to not be able to work in Vietnam, but we were definitely grateful to have spent some time there. 

Therefore, with additional training - we managed to arrange a remote working schedule for the 3 of us while we were working directly from home. Today, we will list down several tips and tricks you need for remote working. 

Tip #1 : Create a Daily - Hour Schedule 

A quote that is popularly attributed to Benjamin Franklin - he says ; failure to plan is planning to fail. 
With so many things to do for work, the smartest thing you should do is learn how to organize your time. When working remotely, having a schedule helps you keep track of your working progress and routine. The image above is how a typical work schedule should look like, highlighting the different tasks that make up your day. 

Tip #2 : Clocking in your hours

Additional to the working schedule, interns working remotely should also practice clocking in the hours for work. This helps distinguish the real time and hours spent on doing specific tasks in your schedule. 
Moreover, it also helps management monitor the hours spent on working with projects and helps them identify which projects should be given priority in the future. 
In ODM, we use a computer program called 'Clockify' which helps track your hours according to project category and project title. 

Tip #3 : Condusive working environment

Its so easy to get distracted when working from home! This should already be obvious to most people, but having a clean and tidy desk could significantly improve your productivity rate!
At home, I usually only have 1 laptop turned on for work. I also have a mini dashboard that stores my written notes whenever I need them to. I avoid using long cables and ty to keep my desk as minimal as possible.

Tip #4 : Establish personal boundaries with people at home

When working from home, it is inevitable to have some of your household members hovering around you to check on you, or even initiating conversations while you're busy doing your tasks. Our suggestion is to establish some ground rules with people at home. This will avoid any misunderstandings in the future and also minimize the amount of distractions at home. Let them know you have some priorities to attend to if the conversation is not so urgent. Don't worry! We're sure they'll understand.

Tip #5 : Exercise or stretch during your break

People, Woman, Pink, Yoga, Mat, Meditation, Fitness

When you've been occupied at home and not giving your body enough attention, a short stretching/exercise session is much needed! We recommend reading : 21 Stretches for Beginners to learn more how you can help relax your body to save yourselves from aching. 

Tip #6 : Overcommunicate 

Working from home can be very lonely at times. Which is why it is important to overcommunicate with your colleagues, more than you would have when working in a physical office. This helps keep track with your progress and help you understand what everyone else is working on. 

In ODM, the interns schedule 2 meeting calls with the management team every day. The meeting call in the morning is very important, because that is when we discuss the items on our agenda list for the day. In the afternoon, we have another meeting call to discuss about our progress for the day.

These are all done via skype where it is easier to share our screen and speak live. 
Throughout the day, it is also normal to have impromptu calls and messages with the management in case we have any questions and doubts regarding our projects. 

In a nutshell ...

Working from home is becoming a norm for a lot of corporate companies, across all industries. We hope that these tips and tricks for remote working will assist you in your work, and hopefully make your work life much more balanced and productive. 

If you're looking to work with us, feel free to contact us here! Otherwise, you could also check out our marketing case studies on our online magazine to learn more. 

Thursday 5 September 2019

The Complete Guide to Open a Bank Account in Vietnam for Interns

Opening a bank account in a foreign country sounds scary, especially if you are in a non English-speaking country like Vietnam. However, having a local bank account is essential, especially if you plan on transferring money from overseas. It is also extremely convenient as you can use local apps such as GrabPay instead of having to carry large amounts of cash around. Fortunately for you, opening a bank account in Vietnam is actually an extremely simple process. No more awkwardly fumbling around in your wallet for cash!

Which Bank Should I Go With?

When it comes to the choice of banks, you are definitely spoiled for choice! You can opt for international banks such as HSBC, ANZ, UOB, Citibank, or Maybank, just to name a few. Alternatively, you can also opt for local banks such as VietcomBank, ACB, Sacombank, Techcombank, and many others. On a related note, check out this blog post by ODM on interesting promotions that banks have offered customers. 

International Banks

International banks are generally safer to go with, especially if you intend to transfer money from overseas accounts. However, international banks have relatively strict requirements and a higher minimum deposit amount for foreigners. According to the staff at the HSBC branch we visited, most international banks in Vietnam only allow foreigners to open an account if they are staying in Vietnam for more than 1 year.. Make sure to take note of this, as this information is not stated online. Read through the minimum requirements online before you actually visit the branch.

Local Banks

The staff at the HSBC branch we visited encouraged us to open a bank account with a local bank instead, as we were only staying in Vietnam for 5 months. The most highly recommended bank was VietcomBank, which has the most extensive network of ATMs and branches. VietcomBank is a state-owned bank and rated as the strongest bank in Vietnam, so it is a safe option to go with. Local banks have much more lenient requirements for foreigners, including a lower minimum deposit and duration of stay in Vietnam. Interestingly, the marketing for local banks can be improved greatly to attract more customers, especially since there are so many banks to choose from. Many banks give away promotional products, such as these promotional headphones given away by Citibank HK. This is a great way to attract more customers.

What Do I Need to Open a Bank Account?

Regardless of whether you choose to go with an international or local bank, the criteria and documents required are similar:

  • Minimum Age: 18 and above
  • Account application form: This can be found on the bank's website. You can print and fill it out before going to the bank to save a significant amount of time. Alternatively, you can choose to fill this out at the bank itself. If this is your first time opening a bank account overseas, it is recommended that you fill out the application form at the bank itself. The bank staff would guide you through the details and simplify the entire process.
  • Original Passport: Most banks will require you to bring your original passport to open an account, as this is the most common form of identification for foreigners.
  • Copy of Passport: You most likely wouldn't need this, but it is generally safer to bring along.
  • Copy of valid visa entry: Bring a copy of both your visa stamp on your passport, as well as a copy of your visa acceptance letter.
  • Copy of labor contract: You are required to provide proof of employment for the duration that you are staying in Vietnam. This is most commonly your employment contract. If you are an intern, you can use your internship acceptance letter.
  • Proof of local address: This is the address that you are staying in Vietnam. If you have already secured a deposit at a house or apartment, you can bring along the receipt or contract. Alternatively, most banks will allow you to use the address of your Airbnb or hotel if you are staying mid-to-long term. Some banks, such as VietcomBank, allow you to use the address of your company.
  • Minimum Deposit Amount: Varies widely. Check the bank's website to find out. HSBC's minimum deposit is 3,000,000 VND. VietcomBank has a much lower minimum deposit amount of 50,000 VND.

What is the Process of Opening a Bank Account?

You will be glad to know that the process of opening a bank account in Vietnam is extremely simple, and takes less than an hour!

1) Prepare documents: Print out all the documents before you arrive in Vietnam to save time and hassle. If you are already in Vietnam, don't worry! You can print out and photocopy the documents any of the countless print shops around (Use Google Maps).

2) Go to a branch: With all of your documents and passport with you, head over to a branch. An appointment is not necessary. If you decide to go with Vietcombank, head to the central branch at Vietcombank Tower. This is the biggest branch in Ho Chi Minh, and most of the staff speak English fluently. It is recommended that you visit the branch in the morning, as it is much less crowded.

3) Set up your Account: Tell the front desk staff that you wish to open a bank account. Depending on the crowd, you might immediately be able to proceed to a counter. This is where you would submit your documents and sign forms. The staff will explain the fees, requirements, and other important information to you. You would also be required to make the minimum deposit here. We found the staff to be extremely pleasant and efficient, and the whole process was completed in about 30 minutes.

4) Collect your debit card: Your debit card would take about 10 days to prepare. You would be given an appointment slip which you can present at the branch at the stated date to collect your debit card. You need your debit card to make withdrawals from ATMs. If you need to withdraw cash urgently, don't worry! You can visit any branch and present your passport to make withdrawals.

5) Congratulations! You have opened your very own Vietnamese bank account!


The fees charged by banks varies across different banks. This is the chart of fees that the staff at VietcomBank gave to us. You can waive some of the fees, such as the debit card issuance fee, simply by asking the staff.

Other Important Things to Take Note of:

  • Most banks only operate from 8am to 5pm in the weekdays. Banks are closed during weekends and holidays. For that reason, it is recommended that you arrive in Vietnam a few days before your work/school/internship starts to set up your bank account.
  • Bring enough cash before arriving in Vietnam if you intend to secure a deposit at an apartment before opening an account.
  • If you intend on transferring money to and/or from overseas accounts, ensure that your bank provides you with a Swift Code.
  • Bank transfers from overseas would take about half to a full day to reach your account. It might only be deposited in your account the next day.
  • Remember to sign up for Internet Banking and Mobile Banking.
  • For your own security, when at any print shop, remember to ensure that you have logged off your account before you leave.

Tuesday 18 June 2019

ODM Interns Enjoying Weekend In Vietnam

When my intern mate and I arrived in Saigon, our internship support company organized a food tour for us to get familiar with our surroundings and the local food. While working here in Vietnam under ODM, we had plenty of time to explore by ourselves and try the local delicacies. Today we wanted to share these experiences with you, as well as our one day trip to the Mekong Delta. This is our way to get away from the hustle and bustle of this gigantic city while getting a glimpse of life in the countryside!

Food Tour - HCMC

We met Binh, a local guide and his team of motorbike drivers at the Opera House for the food tour. The Opera house is a magnificent french architecture inspired building. From then on, we discovered the city on the back of motorbikes while stopping to taste typical street food along the way!

The first street food we tried was banh xeo, a fried pancake made with water, rice flour and turmeric powder. It is close enough to a “crêpe” and you can stuff it any way you see fit, usually with shrimp, pork meat, mung bean… it will be rolled in large leaves, with mint and basil added. It is very delicious, and every ingredient works perfectly with one another. What’s best is It can also be served without meat if you are vegetarian!

After a short bike ride, we arrived at the second stop to try some banh mi! Banh mi is in part a french heritage, as the main ingredient is a french baguette. However, it is airier than the traditional French baguette though. It is a sandwich stuffed with pork belly, greens, daikon, carrots, vietnamese sausage. For those who don’t like meat, there is another amazing version with eggs called “banh mi op là”. For me, the pork belly texture was something difficult to take, so I tried the op là version and no regrets, it is fantastic!

At the third stop, we ate seafood. There is a wide range of sea products in Vietnam, such as fish, shells, shrimps, more obscure creatures like limules. At this stall,  we tried shrimps, shells, clams, and snails. Everything was fantastic and I really urge you to try these local delicacies!

Lastly, we ate “goi cuon”, which you probably know this as spring rolls! A nice opportunity to try sauces, nuoc mam, for example. What struck us is how healthy the food was - there are always greens, not too much salt and fat. It felt extremely light while nourishing.

I need to also mention the bike rides. You get a pure feeling of freedom while on these! It can be scary initially because of the chaotic traffic, but every driver I have met thus far knew their way around the roads. You just have to make sure that you have an anti pollution mask as sometimes it can be hard to breathe in crowded areas due to all the exhaust pipes… Other than that, it truly is a really fun and exciting experience!

Vinh Trang Temple

During the week-end we booked a one day visit in the Mekong Delta. We left HCMC by bus at 8 in the morning, the Mekong Delta is 1.30 hour away from the city. A good opportunity to see life in the countryside and get away from the agitation! We also saw something you don’t quite see in town, which is burial sites. People get buried usually in the countryside, near their family farm. People from town go back here when they can in order to visit their relatives and loved ones.

Before arriving in the Delta itself, we stopped to visit Vinh Trang Temple. There were incredible gigantic statues of Buddha. We are also able to go inside one of the buildings and get a glimpse of the monk’s lives here. This a place worth seeing - really relaxing and beautiful. If you go there, make sure you wear long pants and that your shoulders are covered, it is considered disrespectful to be dressed otherwise!

Mekong Delta

Lastly, we visited the Delta! The place was still a little crowded because it is the weekend. We tasted a lot of delicacies produced in the region, starting with honey and honey tea. They are really good, and a friendly warning - you will encounter a lot of bees when you stop there!

We were listening to traditional music while tasting the locally harvested fruits. This was when I tried durians and dragon fruits for the first time. The smell of durian is indescribable, and the taste is very unique. Make sure you have a taste of it when you are here! The dragon fruits we had were also fantastic…

There are 5 islands in the delta, and you travel from one to another with boats. We discovered a lot of animals and plants that we did not expect before, and I held a serpent (it’s cold!). Did you know they craft spirits with serpents? Towards the end, we visited a coconut milk candy factory. The entire production process was explained to us. They just use malt, coconut milk and a bit of tapioca powder to produce these delicious candies. It tastes amazing so we decided to buy some.

After all these experiences, it was time to head back to hectic Saigon. What I will remember the most are the colours, the sounds, and the way people lived such simple lives. Makes you realize what you have and what matters. A truly enriching trip, even if it was for just a day.

For our french readers / Pour nos lecteurs français:

Quelques semaines auparavant, Romain et moi sommes arrivés au Vietnam à Ho Chi Minh City pour un stage chez ODM Group. Nous souhaitons ainsi partager quelques unes de nos expériences que nous avons adorés.
L’une des premières soirées nous nous sommes baladés dans la ville accompagnés par un guide local prénommé Binh. Il nous a fait découvrir la nourriture locale et la ville en scooter, moyen de transport emblématique du Vietnam. Cette soirée nous a permis de goûter à des fruits de mer, des banh mi (un héritage bien français !)… Les spécialités locales sont vraiment des plats à tenter, et permettent de découvrir ce que mangent les vietnamiens dans la vie de tous les jours en s’imprégnant de leur culture. Afin de tester différents lieux où manger, nous nous baladions par scooter, ce qui permettait d’admirer la vue et d’échanger quelques mots avec nos conducteurs.
Nous souhaitions aussi relater la journée où nous sommes parti en direction du delta du Mékong et avons découvert le temple de Vinh Trang.
Les escapades sur bateau à moteur et barques typiques vietnamiennes avec rameurs sont réellement des moments à vivre. Cette balade sur le Mékong nous a aussi conduit à goûter du miel vietnamien avec du thé, ainsi que des fruits locaux, tout était délicieux.
En ce qui concerne le temple bouddhiste Vinh Trang, très populaire dans la région, c’était un endroit somptueux et où beaucoup de locaux venaient prier, malgré un afflux touristique certain. Si vous compter échapper quelques temps au tumulte de la ville, ce lieux est à visiter coûte que coûte ! L’endroit compte une des plus grandes représentations du “Bouddha Rieur”. La pagode en elle-même est très silencieuse et appelle à la méditation, de quoi peut-être faire naître des vocations !
Nous vous recommandons grandement d’aller visiter ces lieux si vous passez dans le sud du Vietnam !

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Intern in Vietnam: Hello Weekend Market in HCMC

You must be wondering what we interns do during the weekends after a tiring 5 days of work. Well, we can't possibly be sleeping the weekends away. Like the name suggests, Hello Weekend happens only in the weekends and is a famous flea market here in Ho Chi Minh City that we couldn't miss! It is indeed saying hello to the weekends while we unearth various hidden gems in this growing city of urbanization. 

We celebrated the festive occasion by dropping down to the market during Halloween to bask in the spooky season. The area was decorated in pumpkin lanterns which reminded me of the Unique Pumpkin Shaped Lamp on ODM case studies blog. Ho Chi Minh City spontaneously engaged their tourists and locals alike as also seen their efforts at Tous Les Jour with their Halloween custom display design. The excitement could be felt as people buzzed in and out of the markets - carrying bags of their loots. There are even tables and chairs for us to relax after shopping really hard!

The aisle to walk through all the shop tents that were set up. Items sold there ranged from phone cases to clothes - and the most mouth-watering of them all: cheap and delicious food. 

One will surely not go wrong by spending money on food. The aroma was heavenly and it felt great reward to oneself for getting through a tough work week. These finger food easily fuelled our energy to continue shopping for more.

There were more seats at the back for people to chill. Definitely thought that the organizers could have provided Halloween special shadow coasters to further spice up the occasion. Nonetheless, we had our fair share of enjoyment and definitely would come back for more. Be sure to check out the market if you are ever going to intern in Ho Chi Minh City!

Friday 19 October 2018

Intern in Vietnam: Local Food in HCMC

Asides the heavy morning traffic and waking up to the sound of my alarm, what I came to love from living in Ho Chi Minh City was the sight and scent of food that leaves me wanting for more. The cost of living in HCMC is comparatively lower than in Singapore, which makes things so much easier! Splurging on food has never felt more enjoyable given that a bowl of noodles along the streets will never hit more than 3 USD/4 SGD.

So, what is the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Vietnam? That’s right, it’s phở! Phở is a Vietnamese dish that is made up of broth, rice noodles, spices, and mainly with either beef or chicken as the meat. Instead of using chopsticks, was wondering if the twist fork product idea could work on Phở 🤔

Through recommendations from our Vietnamese colleagues, we went to try out Phở Hòa Pasteur that is located in district 3 – a stone’s throw away from our Vietnam office!

We ordered Vietnamese tea which was perfect for a tea lover like myself. It reminded me of this promotional gift idea I read on ODM’s blog which I found unique. Speaking of tea, I frequently purchase Fuze Tea in HCMC and also got a chance to write about their promotional POS display as it caught my attention in the convenience store.

Next up, my friends and I came across this stall selling crab noodles and more along district 5 – also known as Saigon’s Chinatown  during the weekends. The noodles used was Bánh canh – a thick Vietnamese noodle made tapioca flour or a mixture of both rice and tapioca flour. While savouring the crab, I thought that crabs designs would totally make good promotional items for summer as it reminds one of the ocean. Inspiration is surely everywhere! Overall, life here in HCMC has been pleasant so far and I can't wait to see what more will the future unfold.

Friday 28 September 2018

Intern in Vietnam: Short Getaway Trip To Da Lat

3 weeks into Ho Chi Minh City was nothing but a series of cultural adaptations and independence. However, that didn't kill the adventurous spirit to explore Vietnam inside out! During the span of our 6-month internship for The ODM Group, we decided to take a trip down to Da Lat to immerse ourselves locally.

Sleeper Bus - En Route from HCMC to Da Lat

Excitement and anticipation bubbled in us as it was our first experience on a sleeper bus. We hopped onto our ride on a Friday night after work and slept throughout the 5-hour long journey.

Bird's Eye View of Da Lat

In a blink of an eye, we reached Da Lat! It was a freezing cold 20°C (a stark contrast from the temperate weather in HCMC). Despite the cold summer breeze, we were definitely warmed by the beauty of Da Lat. 

Trúc Lâm Temple
Valley of Love

We visited some of the famous tourist attractions such as Bao Dai Palace, Valley of Love, Trúc Lâm Temple etc, Elephant Falls etc. The day was filled with sightseeing activities - it was really a great unwinding session as we got to indulge ourselves in the tranquility and scenic views.

Tea Time at An Cafe

After a day of fun, we headed down to An Cafe - one of the popular cafes in Da Lat - and ordered a muesli bowl to snack before we left for our sleeper bus back to HCMC. All in all, we didn't expect to love Da Lat as much and this trip was certainly unforgettable - can't wait to come back already! Now, back to hustle bustle life in HCMC while the next adventure awaits us.

My Remote Internship Experience: At the Midpoint

An internship with a company is an important and valuable learning experience for any tertiary student out there. I had been looking forward...