Investigative journalist Nick McKenzie and Vietnam-based sales and marketing maverick Ngo Quoc Dung are RMIT’s Outstanding Alumni for 2015.
The pair received their Outstanding Alumni Awards at an exclusive awards ceremony hosted by RMIT’s new Vice-Chancellor and President, Martin Bean CBE, on Friday 22 May.
McKenzie received the Outstanding Alumni Award (Australia), while sales and marketing maverick Ngo received the Outstanding Alumni Award (International) at an exclusive breakfast ceremony at Storey Hall.
Ngo graduated from RMIT Vietnam with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Information Technology and Multimedia) in 2004.
Ngo is the Co-Founder and Partner of Jodric LLP, a leading sales and marketing agency in Vietnam.
Through Jodric LLP, Ngo has quickly grown into an industry frontrunner, boasting a large footprint in the banking sector and multinational clients such as Wrigley, HSBC, Unilever, and Nestle. The company is responsible for the branding, concept, sales and marketing strategy for the Kusto Group’s Diamond Island – the most prominent property development in Vietnam.
Ngo co-founded Jodric LLP during his studies, and said that RMIT was a great enabler for enthusiastic ideas, while putting proper growth structures in place.
“When you look back on forming a company when you're very young and in university, it always starts with too much enthusiasm and being naïve,” he said.
“Once you have the enthusiasm and a proper growth structure, you often get something out of it - in my case, this was Jodric.”
Ngo is also passionate about developing the job market in Vietnam, actively recruiting RMIT students and graduates, and allocating 20 per cent of human and financial resources to supporting new businesses and entrepreneurs.
“We often choose people from RMIT because if you look at the current landscape of the Vietnamese education system, RMIT Vietnam produces the most suitable workforce for a company like us.
“It’s a workforce that has a strong international knowledge without losing touch with local reality.
“We think it's a great honor and duty to help others if we can,” he said.
Outstanding Alumni Award (Australia) winner McKenzie graduated from RMIT with a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) in 2001.
McKenzie is an investigative journalist with Fairfax and a reporter with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Four Corners program.
Kicking off his career in 2003 by breaking stories on abuse in immigration detention centres and Al Qaeda links in Melbourne, McKenzie has since gone on to expose bribery and organised crime in the horse racing and construction industries, the illegal sex trade in Melbourne, corruption within the Reserve Bank of Australia, and the Essendon Football Club drug scandal.
The recipient of seven Walkley Awards, Australia’s highest journalism accolade, McKenzie is also the most decorated member in the history of the Melbourne Press Club.
“I was interested, and later passionate, about understanding how Australian society, politics and power works.
“I am also determined to expose abuses of power, which is at the heart of investigative journalism.”
McKenzie said that RMIT played a key role in providing a solid practical and theoretical grounding in journalism, as well as the ability to experience other subjects.
“I chose RMIT because it had the best journalism course as well as the option to study politics and international relations as side subjects.”
McKenzie said it was an honour to receive the award given the depth of talent passing through RMIT.
“It is a reminder for me about how the opportunities I got at university have been a wonderful springboard into a career I love.
In 2014, McKenzie took home his seventh Walkley Award in the TV/AV Daily Current Affairs category, for his work with team members Richard Baker and Sam Clark on their coverage of organised crime in the construction industry for ABC TV’s 7.30 program.
Ngo and McKenzie join previous alumni award winners: China-based sports marketing pioneer Priscilla Ho and founder of TOM Organic Aimee Marks, fashion designer Toni Maticevski and Singaporean entrepreneur Ryan Lee, Bloom Cosmetics founder Natalie Bloom, award-winning artist Sam Leach, founder of Engineers Without Borders Daniel Almagor, CSIRO scientist and this year’s winner of the Feynman Prize in nanotechnology theory, Dr Amanda Barnard, and Olympic rower and business leader James Tomkins.