Phat N. Tan - A long and winding road
Phat N.Tan was born in a small village in Vietnam. His road to Jönköping was a long and winding one. It took him from a Vietnamese university via a master's degree from a university in the Netherlands back to Vietnam again. And then, finally, to Sweden.
Phat describes himself as a hard working, responsible person who cares a great deal for his family.
“In general young people from my country are hard working, not just me."
Phat has two bachelor's degrees from Vietnam, one in law and one in business administration, a master's degree in law from the Netherlands and he graduated in December 2009 with a doctor's degree in Commercial Law from JIBS.
Phat and his future wife worked at the same university in Vietnam and they both studied in the Netherlands in the beginning of the millennium, although not always at the same time. In 2004 when Phat finished his master's degree he went back to Vietnam and got married, but it wasn't long before both him and his wife left Vietnam again.
“After our wedding my wife went back to the Netherlands to continue her doctoral studies in Law and I searched on the Internet for a University abroad focusing on international tax law and transfer pricing. It is a very technical and narrow field within law and I did not find many department of tax law."
Phat was accepted as a doctoral candidate at JIBS and he received a Harvard scholarship which paid his expenses. He started in the doctoral programme in September 2005. Sometimes he found the Swedish culture difficult to understand and adapt to.
“The first year I hesitated to ask questions. I had the greatest respect for my supervisors so I did not want to disturb them with my thoughts and questions."
But Phat made friends at JIBS and in Jönköping and they helped him to understand the Swedish culture, and also that it is okay to ask questions if you don not understand.
“The more I work with my supervisor, the more I could understand him. He supported me in all my work as a doctoral student."
Phat had a teaching position at a Vietnamese university waiting for him when he had finished his doctoral degree. He enjoys teaching, but he had not planned on becoming a teacher.
“In Vietnam being a teacher is a high prestige occupation. My intention was to work with business in a company, but after my bachelor degree I applied for and got a teaching job at a university.
During his doctoral studies at JIBS Phat had the opportunity to do some networking both with the help of his supervisor, professor Hamaekers and by participating in international conferences on Tax Law and Transfer Pricing. Before he finished his doctoral degree at JIBS he was offered a position at Ernst & Young in Vietnam.
“I liked working on my doctoral thesis at JIBS but I missed my family and I was not home when my wife gave birth to our son. I am glad to be home in Vietnam with my family and I really enjoy my job as manager at the Tax and Advisory Services at Ernst & Young in Vietnam."