At TCU Neeley, MBA alumnus Vinny Nguyen was able to leverage his professional experiences, and position himself for success! He also shares advice for potential students.
Name: Tuong Vinh Nguyen
Hometown: Houston, TX
What are/were some activities you are/were involved with outside of class? How do/did you balance your time?
I was involved in a number of activities: school clubs; intramural sports; consulting projects; case competitions; career fair travels; and studying abroad in Chile. Aside from club activities, I also participated with my classmate in intramural football and soccer and was actively managing my own investment projects outside of school. It’s not so much a matter of balancing as it was a matter of priorities. I focused all my efforts on the activities that matters the most to my long term goals, and I mostly participated in the other activities just for fun. It helps to maintain a calendar and a to-do list, but most of all just remember to have fun.
Why did you choose your MBA program?
TCU offers unique combination of (i) outstanding scholarships, (ii) real world training, and (iii) an incredible sense of community. I had wanted a school that would not burden me with a boatload of debt, which can be rare for an MBA program. Due to its small student body, TCU was able to invest a lot of resources into my goals. Being in a major city also allowed me to go out and get my hands dirty on real projects. While at TCU, I was able to work on consulting projects for companies in the DFW market. Finally, there is a sense of community at TCU that is unique. It definitely feels like a family where the administration know you personally. People always made time and helped you with whatever you needed.
What is something that you learned that was unexpected?
I wanted to learn real estate finance, but I decided to work on a travel industry project for fun (I like to travel, a lot). TCU has an experiential learning program where students consult on real projects for local companies. The project I worked on asked us to look at how online travel agencies can use the client’s technology to further grow their hotel booking platform. Skip a few years and now I work as real estate asset manager with a couple of hotels in my portfolio. To my clients’ surprise, I understand one of their most important revenue generators.
How do/did you fund your MBA?
A combination of savings, student loans, and a whole lot of scholarships from the school. Summer internships and working during school also helped provide some spending money. Being in Fort Worth, it was easy to find a company that wants you to work part-time while finishing your program. Student loans can be a real burden, and so students should think about schools that offer generous scholarship packages (TCU).
Do/did you come from a non-business background? If so, how did this effect how you approached the application process and how did you highlight your achievements to tell your personal narrative?
I came from an art/design background. The MBA application process is not so much about your background but rather your goals. The narrative is about (i) what you did, (ii) what you want to do going forward, and (iii) how is the program that you are applying to going to help you achieve your goals. Part one is minimal whereas part two and three are much more important. Focus on what you want to do going forward and frankly what you’ve done in the past does not really matter.
Advice for Future Applicants
Do you have advice for students on how to make a decision?
I would recommend that prospective students focus on their long term goals and ask themselves which program best enable them to do so. The MBA program is only 2 years whereas the rest of your life is much longer. Understanding what you want to do, where you want to live, and etc. will help you make a more informed decision.