Real Humans of INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Yen Bai, Vietnam
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Foreign Trade University Hanoi, Economics and International Business
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Technical Project Manager for Cloud Applications at Fossil Group; 4 years of experience in both customer experience and technology management roles. Outside of work, I am a co-founder of a social enterprise that provides a tailored development program for underprivileged students in Vietnam. We partner with different scholarship funds who provide financial assistance to the students while we carry out training, company visit, team-work exercises, and panel discussion to democratize the opportunities these students can receive.
Why business school? Why now?
Even with a degree major in Economics and a minor in International Business, I’ve always felt like I needed to fill in the knowledge gaps in finance-related areas to run any business successfully. I am also a learning animal. I wanted to get exposure to industries and the management/personal development toolkit that a top-tier MBA program can provide.
Why INSEAD? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
A combination of things: (1) INSEAD’s brand is all about diversity and inclusion – my classmates hail from more than 60 different nationalities. The school also acknowledges the need to include more women in the business world; (2) INSEAD’s powerful network of alumni – even for my first few weeks, I’ve been in touch with a handful of alumni – all of whom are super helpful and supportive; (3) INSEAD’s 1-year intensive program – a big save on time and opportunity cost.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
I would like to believe that I bring unique perspectives during class as I’m the only Vietnamese in Singy campus. In addition, my previous job allowed me to work alongside both engineers and business people, which can help enrich group discussions and exchange of ideas. My insight on applying business practices to create a social enterprise can also be something I hope to contribute to the overall learning experience for everyone.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I love going to museums and will always look for them when I visit a new place. My no.1 list is MOMA in New York – I can still recall very vividly how I felt when I first saw The Starry Night by Van Gogh.
Post-MBA career interests?
Product Management in Tech
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Be honest and authentic. I approached both the essay writings and interview part with my genuine self. I wrote and spoke what I felt and believed, instead of what I thought would be best for my application.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
Spend time selecting and applying to about 5 schools (I applied to only 2, between which I chose INSEAD). That way, you’ll not only learn more about different MBA programs but also gain more bargaining power when negotiating your scholarship/funding package.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The online application process is very long: there were about 7 essays to fill in, not to mention the x+ others if you wanted to apply for scholarships. What helped me get through it was the fact that I’d started tracking my achievements and kept reflecting on my journey when I decided to go to business schools.
What is your initial impression of INSEAD’s students/culture/community?
It’s amazing how INSEAD people want to connect and support you, no matter whether they are your classmates or school’s alumni. Whether you’re looking for an internship opportunity or a hotpot place, someone will always be willing to give you a hand.
One thing you have learned about INSEAD that has surprised you?
The language policy (a lot might have talked about this before). So you need 2 languages for entry, and 3 for exit requirement. Thanks to this atypical requirement, I finally took the time to learn Mandarin, which I truly enjoyed.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
It’s going by too quickly! Here at INSEAD, FOMO is real – we talk about it all the time. I’m anxious that I won’t be able to do everything I intended to do. But I guess it’s ok, as long as I’m focused on my goals: along the way, I’ll run into all these interesting people, hopefully, one by one.
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I can’t wait to form cross-border, lifelong friendships with such a diverse group of people. And learning, of course, learning, in every possible way.