Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Tu-Anh (Tini) Viet Nguyen, UC Riverside

Tu-Anh (Tini) Viet Nguyen

“I am shy but passionate about the things I do and the people I love.”

Hometown: Vungtau City, Vietnam, and San Diego, California

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have a sizable collection of fountain pens, inks, and fountain pen-friendly papers. Sometimes I joke that the reason I love school so much is because I want an excuse to use all my stationery products.

Undergraduate School and Major: San Diego State University, finance

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Aron Consulting Services, financial consultant

What word best describes the UC Riverside MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far?
The first word that comes to my mind is reassuring. Prior to attending classes on campus, I attended an eight-week program, Business Ready, at UCR. Throughout all the Zoom sessions, when a student raised a question, they would be provided with answers immediately and straight to the point. At the end of every answer, the panelist would always say, “You can come to my office or email me, and I will help you further.” That support really jumped off the screen and crossed geographic distance to reach me while I was still in Vietnam preparing to come to the U.S. for my MBA. I frequently scribbled in my notes: “People are so nice. I’ll never be alone there.”

Aside from classmates, what was the key part of UC Riverside’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you?
I had the pleasure of getting to know about UC Riverside’s MBA program through one of the associate directors of graduate admissions, Tamra Johnson. When I told her that even though I appreciated and treasured my finance degree, I was not sure that it was a field I would see myself working in long term. She talked me through the various concentrations offered in the MBA program, and through her consultation, I landed on a management concentration.
Management has been a career that lived in the back of my mind. During my undergraduate years, the question of whether I should or should not have changed my major from finance to management was left up in the air for a very long time. By getting an MBA degree with a concentration in management, I can now go search for my own answer, so I am excited to seize the opportunity.

What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at UC Riverside?
There are two programs that have impacted me the most: the Business Ready program and the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management (AGSM) Student Ambassadors program.

The summer before starting my MBA journey, I really enjoyed and appreciated the chance to participate in Business Ready. During the first week of the online academic and career preparatory program that the Career Development Center and Student Advising offices offer to incoming students, we were separated into smaller groups and assigned a peer mentor. My mentor was incredibly helpful and welcoming. The group chat with her and other students has provided me with some insight in critical moments. There is a real sense of community at UCR, and people do everything in their power to make sure I understand that I do not have to face any obstacle alone.

Once I got to campus, I applied for and was accepted as an AGSM ambassador. The position meant so much to me because it was a nod to a younger version of myself. During my undergraduate years, because of my shy and quiet nature, I hid inside my comfort bubble. I attended classes, submitted all the assignments on time, but truth be told, I was not connected to the community around me as much as I should have been. This time around, I want to make a change to prove to the 18-year-old Tini that being an introvert is not a flaw. Instead, I can turn it around to make it my strength. Fortunately, every person I have talked to at UCR has met me exactly where I am at. For example, during my interview with the AGSM Ambassadors Program, when I told one of my interviewers that I still had doubts about which industry I wanted to pursue in the future, she kindly encouraged me and suggested that my time at UCR would be a great chance for me to figure out my answer. Later, I ran into her at a career fair, and she excitedly waved at me as soon as she saw me. At that point, she had likely met a lot of other students, but she still recognized me in the crowd and remembered my name. All those small but meaningful moments boosted my confidence and motivated me to try harder to give back to the community that has wholeheartedly welcomed me in.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:
During my second project in my previous corporate role, we were working with one of the biggest retailers of technology products in Vietnam. My team leader entrusted me with a bigger role compared to the first. He started to allow me to make decisions on the spot instead of having to ask for his final decisions on everything. With a bigger role came bigger responsibilities, so it was also a stressful time. One time, my team leader, the project manager, the CFO, and the chief accountant of the customer’s team were having a quick meeting to solve some problems regarding building a critical financial report.

It was an open floor, so while they were having their meeting, I was just a few feet away helping other employees get used to the new accounting system. I heard the chief accountant insist, “Just call Tini, she will know what I want.” And, I was beckoned over. Then, in front of all the project’s key stakeholders, I managed to capture what the clients wanted, explain it back to my team leader, and found a solution to satisfy the clients’ requests. It felt amazing to be heard, to be seen as capable, and to be trusted to resolve the conflict. This also gave me the confidence to trust myself and that I can be successful navigating dynamics in the business world.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far:
So far, I would say my biggest accomplishment was getting accepted to UCR. Prior to this, I had a job only two hours away from my parents, and it paid enough for me to cover the monthly rent of a studio apartment—it was tiny, but it was my own. The safe bubble was comfortable, and I found a lot of joy in it. Yet, a curious part of me kept nagging, “What if there’s more?” So, I applied to UCR; I put all my eggs in one basket to apply to the school that I felt an instant connection with. It was months of sleepless nights worrying if my decision was too risky. Countless times I checked the student portal to see if there was any change to my application status. And I received the offer! Just being here is already a massive first step for me.

What is your class’s favorite hangout away from school? Why do you gather there?
There are many pretty spots to hang out on campus. Considering how big of an introvert I am, my favorite spot right now is the area around Coffee Bean. There is nothing sweeter and tighter than the friendship between one and their coffee order. Right now, my favorite order from Coffee Bean is their Vietnamese cold brew. Due to my schedule, I have a two-hour gap between classes once a week, so I like to sit at one of the tables, either with friends or by myself. I have had the most hilarious conversations with my friends after class, and when I am by myself, I am always open to see what interesting person I might be able to meet there.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation?
The biggest factor in my decision was that I wanted to be better prepared for my career. Don’t get me wrong, a bachelor’s degree in finance helped a ton. Once I got a job and worked in a professional environment, I realized I learned a bit of everything from everyone. My Excel skills improved along with my communication and problem-solving skills. Yet, as I mentioned before, I have yet to be able to paint a clear picture of which industry I want to work in, and UCR creates the environment for me to find the answer.

At UCR, I have the opportunity to become a well-rounded candidate in the business world. I am grateful for all the resources, from my career advisors who give me feedback on my résumé and LinkedIn profile, to my academic advisor who are only one email away, and definitely to the admissions team, who recognized my capabilities when I first met them in Vietnam and who continues to check in with me during my journey to make sure I live up to my full potential.

My efforts are getting me closer to my goal of becoming a project manager when I graduate. What better road to get there than receiving education in the area that I am interested in! Personally, I am a firm believer that a degree proves to the world that I talk the talk and walk the walk!

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