Category Archives: BoothMBAs

Tell Your Story: Van Ha

“Tell Your Story” is a regular series that features one of our Booth community members. In his or her own words, the contributor details their path to Booth and other interesting personal highlights. Enjoy our first edition!

Where are you originally from? And what did you do prior to Booth?
I’m originally from the bustling Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and moved to Sydney, Australia by myself 11 years ago to pursue higher education and widen my horizons. In 2011, I went to the States for an exchange, then backpacked and traveled across the US for 3 months (visited 14 States) – loved this country so now I’m back for a while! Prior to Booth, I worked in Investments and Wealth Management in Sydney. Besides my full-time job, I co-founded a web/apps development company and we served clients from 8 different countries.

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Kia Ora! New Booth Students Travel to New Zealand

In New Zealand, “kia ora” is an informal greeting that comes from the Māori, the indigenous Polynesian people that discovered the country back in the fourteenth century, and loosely means “be well.” It has been adopted by the whole country and, as such, it was how we were greeted on Random Walk New Zealand by almost everyone we met.

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Do your co-workers pass the “airport test”?

Throughout the recruiting process, people advised me to keep in mind the “airport test,” i.e., to answer the question, “Would I want to hang out with these people if we were stuck together in an airport for four hours?” During my summer internship, I had an extreme experience of the airport test come to fruition. While driving back from a client site three hours away, my team and I got stuck in an 8-hour traffic jam due to an accident on the highway. After a long week, while such a situation was extremely painful, we made the most of it, sharing music that we like, speaking about our experience at Booth, and even celebrating our manager’s birthday in the car with a bar of chocolate we found in our bags. To say the team passed the airport test with flying colors, would be an understatement!

I spent my summer at McKinsey and Co.’s Chicago office, working on a large digital transformation project for a public sector client. The best part about the experience—the team was made up of four Boothies (one each from the MBA class of ’17, ’18, ’19, and ’20)! 

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Boothies Interning in the Bay Area

Last spring, my internship search led to three offers: a finance associate role in the Northeast; a corporate strategy role in the Midwest; and a product management role in the West. I weighed my options in regards to location, potential career trajectory, and company culture. After a difficult decision, I landed in Silicon Valley. It wasn’t so much the role itself, but the vast opportunities for spontaneous networking and immersing into cutting-edge technologies. Let me explain.

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