Thao Nguyen, Vietnam, talks about the long thought-process that led her to considering business school, showing that MBAs come from all kinds of diverse ages and backgrounds
After graduating from University of Education with an English major in 2002, I worked at an American school here in Vietnam for six years. Sometimes, I do wonder why I did not switch jobs when I was still young. However, I made my move in 2008 after a lot of consideration and fighting within myself. Change or stay? The question repeated every time I got time to think. I love teaching, love the kids, and I am a good teacher but I knew that I was capable of doing more and I wanted to explore my abilities. Better late than sorry, goes the proverb.
Business environment was my next decision. Deep down inside me, the image of being a successful businesswoman, dressing in a suit and looking professional, is exciting. And the thought of having my own business inspired me at the same time, even though I imagined the difficulties to come. I became the project manager of a new education centre. Luckily I had some good classmates from my M.A. class and we did things step by step. I actually utilized all of the resources that I could have, my network relationship with bookstores, publishers, press, and contacts with universities and companies. I was lucky to have a fantastic team of young and enthusiastic staff. Things just went smoothly. We soon opened more classes and got positive feedbacks from current students.
However, it is when I felt partly satisfied with my project, I found out I needed to equip myself with more knowledge of finance and general management. What I lack are the long-term goals, strategy and planning for the centre and the sufficient human resource skills, which I should be more aware of when I first started.
There should be better ways to manage the organisation, I thought to myself. I was not happy with what I had achieved. The desire to expand the centre to the enrolment of thousands of students, the desire to give sharp and straight to the point marketing strategy obsessed my thoughts. What's more, despite the good compliments from colleagues and even my boss, I just saw myself in a out of breath situation. Being exhausted and running out of ideas.
It was now my turn to choose a program to study. MBA came to me after thorough consideration. Why MBA? The answer is so clear. But what MBA and where MBA are two more questions. I searched for MBA information from the internet, internationally and locally. Just so much to choose from. While I was surfing the resources there, I got to know the USGUIDE and VietMBA forum, which have given me more insight and valuable advice for my choice. An overseas MBA program, more specifically, in the U.S. formed its shape in my head. Studying in the U.S. stands out as one of the most challenging but life-changing opportunities. An adventure, I would say, but it is exciting because it creates exceptional access to experiential approach, which opens new career horizons, inspires me to reach my personal and professional goals of business.
Recently I have changed to work as a senior marketing executive for a foreign-owned education in Vietnam. The career path is more focused now and my resume is highlighted with my near future career goal - MBA study. I was lucky again to work with a well-experienced and supportive line manager who got a full MBA scholarship at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She encouraged me to apply for a scholarship to finance my study abroad. That is definitely my determination of applying in Fall 2010.
It is not easy at all when I have to balance between work and study. However, I am not alone. The VietMBA forum, a family indeed, and its network have given me more strength to continue. I am impressed and overwhelmed by the knowledge that the members have contributed and shared. They are living examples of determination and success for achieving their dreams. With the forum's guidance and support, I am more familiar with specific terms of MBA process: TOEFL, GMAT, essays, etc. and I am spending hours exploring the online library of MBA tips and strategy.
While I admire their achievements and feel proud of Vietnamese trademarks, I know I will take action for my own success. I actively engage myself in MBA-related events and programs: the World MBA tour gives me anmore practical insight into the programs in each university around the world, meetings with alumni in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere create the opportunity of closer approach to the school systems, values and life in the U.S. How to get into the top MBA programs, Great application essays for Business school, Official Guide to GMAT, some useful websites such as topmba.com, gmatclub.com, testmagic.com, etc. become my friends after daily working hours.
In fact, I support the viewpoint that MBA is a journey, not a destination and would like to add three more values to the journey, which are:
1. Never giving up the dream of overseas study
2. Carrying out the process of scholarship application step by step
3. Studying with peers and establish networking
The word MBA has been repeated in my mind ever since. I am thinking of the day when I will graduate and return to Vietnam to realize my dream of my own language centre. That is the long-term goal I set for my next 15 years. I am happy because I have put down more determination now. While I am so anxious of the thought, I am setting a practical plan to achieve it. Am I on the right track; am I capable, do I make a smart decision? The answers need time, patience and determination to explore. Right at this moment, I imagine myself three more years from now writing a success story of my own. I definitely will.