My turning-point at Thunderbird
Why I knew about and was interested in Thunderbird?
My journey to Thunderbird actually began even before my studies at ERC complete school name. I had read about Thunderbird in the Financial Times and I was aware of the school placing #1 on the International MBA ranking. However, it was my favorite professor Mr. Andrew Sadler (Thunderbird Class of 1982) who really first introduced me to the school. I was so impressed by Mr Sadler’s vast knowledge and background that I decided I wanted to follow in his footsteps. I was a student of Mr. Andrew for a year and a half and during that time, he encouraged me to follow a career in international business but also stressed the importance of giving back to my community.
Because of my interest in Thunderbird, I was invited to attend a few first Tuesday events. It was a pleasure to meet several Thunderbird graduates. All of them are very successful in their careers. For example I met the Director of Dragon Capital Fund, the Deputy General Director of APL Logistics and the CEO of Auxesia Holdings Company. They all encouraged me to pursue a career in global management.
I was determined to make it to Thunderbird but I knew I wouldn’t be able to do so without some type of financial support. Mr. Andrew made me aware of the Hinrich Global Trade Leader Scholarship Program. In August 2015, he introduced me to his classmate Ms. Aara Killian Pickelsimer (Thunderbird Class of 1982) . From that moment on Ms. Aara became my mentor. I remember her sharing a photo of the Thunderbird entrance gate. I, too, wanted to become a citizen of the world and this program would allow me to do so.
My journey to Thunderbird
Ms. Aara and I had many conversations about the Thunderbird DNA . She was convinced I possessed the open-mindedness, cultural curiosity, passion for diversity and global mindset needed to succeed at Thunderbird. She introduced me to the “Thunderbird for Good Program” which aims at fighting poverty and improving livelihoods by providing business knowledge and management skills to non-traditional student. These opportunities convinced me that Thunderbird was the ideal fit for me.
I knew the “Thunderbird Mystique” was alive and well when I started working with my mentor. She was willing to answer all of my questions at anytime of the day, holiday or weekend. She guided me through the first steps and the final application to the school. She and Mr. Andrew also nominated me for the TIAA Scholarship. She put me in touch with the Tbird chapter leader in Saigon as well. Mr. Curtis King Kovach was instrumental in recommending me for the Thunderbird Alumni Affinity Scholarship. My Tbird alumni family has always encouraged and motivated me to overcome any difficulties which I might be facing. That is power of the “Thunderbird Mystique”!
Finally, I am proud to say I got admitted to Thunderbird and was granted the Hinrich Global Trade Scholarship. I have now started my new adventure at Thunderbird. Ms. Aara has become my “life” mom. She continued to express her care, love, and support when I arrived in the USA. She picked me up at the airport, took me on a city tour of San Francisco and organized a celebration party for me at a Vietnamese restaurant with some Tbird alumni. I now have an extended Tbird family in the USA. She flew with me to Phoenix and helped me settle into my new home. Most importantly, she is always there to give me advice, and support as I ease into my new life in America. I am now set to achieve great results at Thunderbird and I feel more confident knowing that she will accompany me on my journey with her love, care and support. I thank God for having all these Tbird alumni in my life.
I would also like to thank Ms. Mai Nguyen – a program manager of Trade scholarships & careers at the Hinrich Foundation. She encouraged me and championed me to get the scholarship.
My first class at Thunderbird
Thunderbird offers me a unique experience. I have the opportunity to meet, make friends, study and collaborate with people from all over the world. My T-Bird friends come from all five continents (Europe, America, Africa, Asia and Australia). They have vast experiences from different industries and different kind of jobs. We can share, learn and help each other. I truly believe that some of them will become my life-long friends.
What these opportunities from the scholarship means to me
I am grateful for the opportunities the Hinrich Foundation has provided me. This award is very meaningful to me, not only financially, but emotionally as well. It encourages and motivates me to take my next step at Thunderbird and to make my goals and dreams a reality. The scholarship also gives me a great professional opportunity to work for Global Sources after I graduate.
My family background
My family unfortunately had to endure some hard times when I was a child. We were forced into bankruptcy when I was just five but I always looked for the silver lining. My father taught me that being well-educated would be my key to life-long success. My father always put education first and did everything within his power to provide an opportunity for me to study. He has certainly instilled in me an attitude of hard work, dedication and love of learning.
My future goals
I want to be a successful and influential global leader. I want to follow in the footsteps of Tbird alumni such as Mr. Merle Hinrich, my professor Mr. Andrew Sadler and my mentor Ms. Aara Pickelsimer. Much like them, I want to give back to people in need and keep the chain going to make the world better. It is my dream, for example, to help farmers bring healthy and safe vegetables to the citizens of Vietnam.
About the author – Nguyen Bao Ngoc