Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Daisy Nguyen-Le, North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

Daisy Nguyen-Le

University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School

“Self-proclaimed foodie, avid weight-lifter but amateur runner, caffeine addict. Leslie Knope is my spirit person.”

Hometown: Bel Air, Maryland

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have a cat that’s secretly a dog. He likes to play fetch and gets anxiety when he loses his ball.

Undergraduate School and Major:  Johns Hopkins University, economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: U.S. Army, operations project manager

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Location was extremely important to me. I spent the last three years living in Texas, and I missed the East Coast dearly. Since my parents lived in the mid-Atlantic area, UNC Kenan-Flagler gave me the opportunity to expand my network and job prospects closer to home. Also, I looked forward to living somewhere that didn’t have a weekly temperature average of 115 degrees in July.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Humble. The majority of the classmates I met have come from respectable backgrounds like prestigious universities or companies. They don’t let a name brand define who they are. Instead, they use their experience and interests to show who they are, which makes them more relatable and collaborative.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I’m really excited to join the Veterans Association and the Carolina Women in Business. The people I’ve met from both club were genuinely kind and willing to help.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: When I was an IT project manager, I had an IT support team that went undermanned and uncertified for more than a year. I spent about eight months manning, training, and resourcing the team. At the end of my term, the team received the fastest certification time to install remote phone and internet services for customers. It provided services 33% faster than all other certified teams. This enabled our customers to communicate on their work platforms approximately one to two hours earlier than what is promised.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After I became a maintenance manager, my interest was piqued to learn about how private sector companies operated. I learned a lot about the military’s supply chain and operations; however, I was eager to learn what it was like in the business world, especially for profit and charity. I thought an MBA would be a good opportunity to further my education, find a role that fitted my needs, and eventually transition into the business world. It was an opportunity to explore my interests that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I went straight into a job after the military.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Fuqua, McCombs, Goizueta, Mendoza

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The most challenging question I received was impromptu for my interviewer. On my resume, I had my Department of Defense Sexual Assault Advocate Certification, and my interviewer asked me what drove me to pursue that certification. The certification is a prerequisite to become a military Victim’s Advocate and provide victims of sexual assault or harassment an outlet to disclose their trauma with confidentially. I always struggle to explain why I chose to become a Victim’s Advocate because it can be extremely emotional. There’s a lot of anger and heartbreak in this line of work, and its can be challenging to maintain composure. While I’m passionate about previously being a Victim’s Advocate, I wanted to stay professional in an interview.

How did you determine your fit at various schools?  I reached out to students and alumni at various schools to see why they decided to enroll in their particular school. I prioritized the culture, location and strength of the support network in my decision. I found it was easier to get a sense of fit through phone calls over solely reading a university’s website.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? When I first became a maintenance manager two years ago, I was suddenly responsible for all the routine and non-routine maintenance for 200+ military vehicles, generators, weapons, and satellite transmission devices. I didn’t have a background in maintenance – honestly, I didn’t even know how to change a spare tire on my car. I was terrified and scared to fail for a lack of subject matter knowledge. However, I was quickly drawn to the maintenance world, and was fascinated with how vehicles operated. I spent hours asking my mechanics questions on various topics like how to bleed air from a fuel line or seat a transmission into a transfer case in a vehicle. I became so engrossed in the maintenance field that many of my co-workers were surprised to hear my background was actually in IT.

The position made me realize that I can’t be quick to guess what I’d enjoy if I haven’t tried it yet. It taught me to keep an open mind to whatever opportunities and industries business school could expose me to.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? Rather than choosing one company, I pick all the local mom-and-pop restaurants out there. I’ve met owners who face a language barrier, but can still market and sell out their food with ease. They’ve earned the respect of their local communities without exorbitant amounts of money. I think these mom-and-pop restaurants can teach students different aspects of a business that make them successful that you can’t learn from big business.

DON’T MISS: Meet UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA Class Of 2022

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