Thu Ha (Pronounced ‘Two’)
“Energetic and curious thinker looking to develop businesses while improving lives.”
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Fun Fact About Yourself: I am part-owner of a successful food truck that caters for private parties and sells at local festivals. We are a group of like-minded friends and family who enjoy small business ventures and investing in our community. When we started out four years ago, we agreed to annually donate at least five percent of our profits and have done so; our funds have helped impoverished people in rural Vietnam with basic necessities such as rice and medicine.
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Minnesota – Business and Economics
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Amplifon USA – Strategic Analyst – Business Insight & Analytics
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: On the last few days of my time at Amplifon, I repeatedly heard words of praise and encouragement from management that accentuated my impact. Some had high expectations and did not routinely offer positive feedback, so it was great to hear about how much I would be missed.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Excited and ready to take on the upcoming challenges. We are on our way to great things and the Carlson School’s MBA students have a wide breadth of diversity I have not seen elsewhere. There are students from a myriad of backgrounds who will contribute to the program to help us all grow and accomplish amazing things.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? The location was a large factor. I have lived in the Twin Cities from a young age and seen it develop into a powerhouse of business. The Carlson School was a no brainer based solely on the level of connection it has with the local community. During orientation this past week, I heard it said several times that Carlson is “an intimate program with the resources of a large university.” This sums it up quite well.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Competing in the case competitions and joining the Carlson Consulting Enterprise. These experiences will equip me with the tools to pursue a career in management consulting.
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? ‘Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?’ This question is so simple and yet so difficult to answer. There are generic canned answers everyone is trained to give, but do they really mean it? Have they really thought it through and truthfully explored?
I have always used my ‘futuristic’ and ‘strategic’ traits in my goal-setting process, so it has been quite easy to know with a high degree of certainty what I should pursue – consulting and strategy. This career path utilizes my analytical prowess, natural curiosity, and strong communication skills; these strengths have made it a simple decision.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? My last few years as a Strategic Analyst have cemented my wish to work with strategy. Now, I am ready for a challenge that will help me develop new skills as well as hone existing ones. Working in analytics has opened my eyes to the importance of data and quantitative analysis, but I lacked knowledge around the structured problem-solving frameworks and advanced financial tools needed to assess the value add of a potential strategic initiative. The Carlson School program will develop these and other skills that will be invaluable for my future endeavors.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Kellogg, Booth, and Ross.
How did you determine your fit at various schools?
- Proximity to family and friends
- Consulting placements
- Return on investment
- Interview process – I personally enjoyed the process and the conversations I had with the admissions team
I used internet research mainly, but also networked and spoke with alumni. Poets & Quants has a wealth of information and was quite useful, especially the school profiles and rankings.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? There are many moments that were equally important, but one moment of prominence happened during my undergraduate studies. A speaker from Google told us, “Find your comfort zone, but never stay there.” Change is difficult and oftentimes uncomfortable, but without it, people and organizations stagnate and never realize their full potential.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? Running my own business using the skills I learned during my career as a management consultant.