Viewpoints - Nga Vu

INSEAD MBA

Hometown:

Yen Bai, Vietnam

Undergraduate Institution and Major:

Foreign Trade University Hanoi, Economics and International Business

Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry):

Technical Project Manager for Cloud Applications at Fossil Group; four years of experience in both customer experience and technology management roles

Outside of work, I am a co-founder of a social enterprise that provides a tailored development programme for underprivileged students in Vietnam. We partner with different scholarship funds who provide financial assistance to the students while we carry out training, company visits, teamwork exercises, and panel discussions to democratise the opportunities these students can receive.

Why business school? Why now?

Even with a degree major in Economics and a minor in International Business, I’ve always felt like I needed to fill in the knowledge gaps in finance-related areas to run any business successfully. I am also a learning animal. I wanted to get exposure to industries and the management/personal development toolkit that a top-tier MBA programme can provide.

Why INSEAD? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?

A combination of things: (1) INSEAD’s brand is all about diversity and inclusion – my classmates hail from more than 60 different nationalities. The school also acknowledges the need to include more women in the business world; (2) INSEAD’s powerful network of alumni - I’ve been in touch with a handful already - all of whom are super helpful and supportive; (3) INSEAD’s 1-year intensive programme – a big save on time and opportunity cost.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?

I would like to believe that I bring unique perspectives during class as I’m the only Vietnamese in the Singapore campus. In addition, my previous job allowed me to work alongside both engineers and business people, which can help enrich group discussions and exchange of ideas. My insight on applying business practices to create a social enterprise can also be something I hope to contribute to the overall learning experience for everyone.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?

I love going to museums and will always look for them when I visit a new place. My no.1 on the list is MOMA in New York – I can still recall very vividly how I felt when I first saw The Starry Night by Van Gogh.

Post-MBA career interests?

Product Management in Tech

Advice to current prospective applicants:

–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Be honest and authentic. I approached both the essay writings and interview part with my genuine self.

I wrote and spoke what I felt and believed, instead of what I thought would be best for my application.

Also, spend time selecting and applying to about five schools (I applied to only two, between which I chose INSEAD). That way, you’ll not only learn more about different MBA programmes but also gain more bargaining power when negotiating your scholarship/funding package.

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The online application process is very long: there were about seven essays to fill in, not to mention the many others if you want to apply for scholarships. What helped me get through it was the fact that I’d started tracking my achievements and kept reflecting on my journey when I decided to go to business school.

What is your initial impression of INSEAD’s students/culture/community?
It’s amazing how INSEAD people want to connect and support you, no matter whether they are your classmates or alumni. Whether you’re looking for an internship opportunity or a hotpot place, someone will always be willing to give you a hand.

One thing you have learned about INSEAD that has surprised you?

The language policy (a lot might have talked about this before). So you need two languages for entry, and three for the exit requirement. Thanks to this atypical requirement, I finally took the time to learn Mandarin, which I truly enjoyed.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?

It’s going by too quickly! Here at INSEAD, FOMO is real – we talk about it all the time. I’m anxious that I won’t be able to do everything I intended to do. But I guess it’s OK, as long as I’m focused on my goals: along the way, I’ll run into all these interesting people, hopefully, one by one.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?

I can’t wait to form cross-border, lifelong friendships with such a diverse group of people. And learning, of course, learning, in every possible way.

This article was originally published on Clear Admit's "Real Humans of INSEAD’s MBA Class of 2021"