Meet The MBA Class Of 2023: Vu Nguyen, University Of Michigan (Ross)

Vu Nguyen

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

“A curious explorer who loves to experience as much as possible.”

Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I spent four years in the Navy and was never on a ship, but I did deploy to an active warzone – military friends like to call me a “dry-squid.”

Undergraduate School and Major: George Mason University – Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: The Mission Continues – Senior City Impact Manager

What word best describes the Michigan Ross students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Helpful. Everyone I have met has been extremely helpful – from sharing interview tips and experiences to advice on where to live and how to make the most of my time. All the advice I received from Ross students and alumni has been helpful in making the transition to becoming a student much easier.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Michigan Ross’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The idea that I would be a part of 25 to 30 teams over two years quickly sparked my interest and is a key part of why I chose Michigan Ross’s MBA program. In my jobs and all the organizations I’ve been a part of, success was measured by what teams can accomplish. Of course, there are individual contributions, but teams accomplish more than any individual. Working in multiple teams is important to me because the bonds, experiences, and stories that I will gain from being on those teams will be very valuable after graduation.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Michigan Ross? MAP! I can learn just about anything, but I forget most of the things I learn because I don’t have a way to apply it. MAP provides me with a wonderful opportunity to take what I’ve learned and apply it in a real-world situation. I can’t wait for the experience and the things I’ll learn from it.

When you think of Michigan Ross, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? Action. I like thinking, but I love doing. The curriculum at Ross provides action-based learning that will help me put my learning into action. That excites me a lot!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Piloting, launching, and growing a nationwide program that empowers veterans to continue their service after the military with The Mission Continues. I started a group of volunteer military veterans in Washington D.C. looking for a way to be of service. I grew the group from myself to 180 members in under a year. From there, I was hired to help The Mission Continues grow their “Platoon” program across the Northeast. I helped to launch and grow efforts in New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and Puerto Rico. It’s my greatest accomplishment because I’ve left a positive impact in various communities across the country and have left an enduring mark of service on this generation – the Post 9/11 generation – of military veterans that will last for decades to come.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID-19 helped me realize that I have been fortunate to have a career full of service and serving the public good. It also helped me realize that to make a huge leap in my career, I need to be selfish and take care of myself. I have spent so much time helping others that I forgot to take care of myself. Now, I’m going to take care of myself by spending the next two years acquiring the skills I need to make a greater impact in my life and career.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I always knew that I wanted to work in the for-profit sector, but I’ve spent the past 12 years of my professional career working in the military, public, and non-profit sectors. With deep experience in those sectors, making a shift to working at a for-profit has been difficult. Pursuing an MBA will position me with better opportunities to make the shift I want to make. Right now, I’m hoping to get into consulting or general management after graduation.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? UVA Darden School of Business

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Michigan Ross’s MBA program? Be your authentic self in your application, essay questions, and interview. There’s no need to hide who you are. Ross values diversity – in background, experience, personality, etc. The admissions team is great at making sure the incoming class has a lot of diversity. Your unique personality and your authentic self might be the missing piece of a well-rounded incoming class of students, so be yourself!


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