2016 MBAs To Watch: Oliver Truong, Michigan (Ross)

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Oliver Truong

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

Age: 31

Hometown: Lancaster, PA

Undergraduate School and Degree: International Affairs and Geography double major from George Washington University

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Fundraising and corporate partnerships at CARE (international development NGO) in Washington, DC; Business development for the World Economic Forum (international organization) in NYC.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2015? Global Brand Management at Starwood Hotels in Stamford, CT

Where will you be working after graduation? Undecided.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: President of Section 1; President of the Hospitality & Travel Club; VP of Corporate & Alumni Relations of Out for Business; and Co-chair of Go Blue Rendezvous Admitted Students Weekend.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Every year, Out for Business hosts a student-run charity drag fundraiser. Hands down, it’s one of the best nights at Ross, featuring many of OFB’s straight allies performing in drag for the first (and probably last) time in their lives. The energy of the event overflows with positivity and inclusivity. The event shows how the Ross community truly celebrates and is committed to diversity.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? At a World Economic Forum meeting in Nigeria, I executed an event that gathered several African heads of government and heads of state to sign a letter of intent to collaborate and reduce barriers to intra-African travel. The experience taught me how to work under immense pressure and the value of teamwork and improvisation.

Who is your favorite professor? Francine Lafontaine. Professor Lafontaine was my economic core professor. She has a strong passion for teaching and her students. Not to mention, she just returned to Ann Arbor from serving as Director of the Bureau of Economics at the Federal Trade Commission.

Favorite MBA Courses? Service Marketing Management, Strategic Alliances, Creating High-Performing Teams

Why did you choose this business school? Ross stood out to me early in my business school research process. I knew my professional and personal growth would accelerate with the myriad of resources at Ross. I was drawn to its action-based approach to learning, strong general management curriculum and large and passionate alumni network. Above all, I knew the diverse, encouraging and generous Ross community would support me throughout my experience.

What did you enjoy most about business school? I thoroughly love learning alongside my classmates! They’re incredibly talented, passionate, and genuine.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from business school? Be authentic with yourself and others. Being a strong leader starts with knowing yourself, your strengths, and your limitations.

What was the hardest part of business school? Balancing class and life. There are so many interesting courses and topics I want to explore but didn’t have enough hours in the day. Likewise, there’s so much happening at Ross, other schools at the university and Ann Arbor. The breadth of choice can be overwhelming.

What’s your best advice to an applicant to your school? Spend time in introspection and reflection. Dive deeply into what you want to get out of the MBA experience beyond getting a great job.

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when… I could have a career with greater impact beyond what I was currently doing.”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… preparing an application for the next cycle.”

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott. Mr. Sorenson embodies authenticity in leadership. I’m inspired by how he is able to connect with Marriott associates of all levels to continue their commitment in the company and its culture.

What are your long-term professional goals? Be a leader in the U.S. travel industry maintaining and promoting the U.S. as a premier global destination.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My sister. She’s my closest adviser and always keeps me grounded.

Fun fact about yourself: If life turned out differently I’d probably be a ballet dancer.

Favorite musical performer: Adele

Favorite television show: “Mad Men” and “House of Cards”

Favorite vacation spot: Paris, France

Hobbies? Ballet, international travel, viewing art at galleries and museums

What made Oliver such an invaluable addition to the class of 2016?

“Oliver has a wisdom and maturity that stands out to me. This lies underneath a very fun, energetic, and committed person. He is very dedicated to the future of the Ross community and the legacy that the students will leave. He has shown this through being a section leader, conducting more admissions interviews than any other student, and supporting diversity events, particularly those for the LGBT community. I’ve also been impressed by Oliver’s ability to weigh the pros and cons of a situation and to make quick, intelligent decisions. His leadership inspires confidence, commitment, and integrity.”

Heather Byrne
Managing Director, Full-Time MBA Program
University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

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