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What made you decide to pursue an Executive MBA?

After graduating from the Foreign Trade University in Ho Chi Minh City, I started my career at one of the largest global consulting firms. I moved to Singapore in 2012 and gained exposure to various markets in Asia. This challenged me to adapt to different cultures and working environments, and it motivated me to take a more significant step—becoming a private equity investor. Through my career, I developed a passion for supporting entrepreneurs, and I realized that private equity was the right fit for me to help contribute to my home country's growth. Today, Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia.

As a private equity investor, I mainly work with business founders and senior management teams to help companies set their business strategy, execute business plans, and achieve their growth. My career has progressed quickly. In my role, I make strategic decisions, work with different departments, and often find myself interacting with aspects of business beyond my original finance domain. That's why the Chicago Booth Executive MBA Program in Hong Kong was an obvious choice. I wanted a business education that could help me enhance my leadership and management skills and develop my domain knowledge outside of finance.

What factors played into your decision to attend Booth?

After an intensive evaluation under my list of criteria, I decided that Chicago Booth was the right fit for what I was looking for. Booth's faculty and academic program reputation stood out among the other top-ranked global schools I was considering. Booth has Nobel laureates and other award-winning faculty whose work spans the fields of economics, finance, asset pricing, and behavioral economics. In our current world, data is crucial in effective decision-making, and Booth's focus on helping its students develop a data-driven framework was vital in my choice to attend.

Second, Booth is the only elite United States business school with its own campuses outside the US and located in the world's largest financial and economic hubs. The Booth Executive MBA student cohort's geographic diversity allows students valuable experiences in three dynamic cities: Hong Kong, Chicago, and London.

Finally, Booth’s alumni network is active, diverse, and very helpful. Conversations with Booth alumni were instrumental in making my decision to join Booth's Executive MBA Program.

How did it feel to receive the 75th Anniversary Scholarship? What does it mean to you?

It is an honor. I felt both lucky and recognized for my accomplishments. The 75th Anniversary Scholarship represents Booth's focus on recruiting talented students and providing support to help us achieve our career aspirations. Booth saw my potential, and I am grateful. I plan on helping Booth bring further opportunities to future talented candidates in my region.

What has been a significant or memorable experience you have had during your first quarter at Booth?

Although COVID has made this year challenging, I still felt close to my classmates and professors. Big thanks to all the professors for putting in a lot of effort to make our remote classes lively. Within two weeks of starting class, I experienced the benefits of our courses in Managerial Psychology and Competitive Strategies and could immediately apply insights from class to my day job. I also really enjoy our study groups and the opportunity to learn from my peers who represent diverse sectors, backgrounds, and cultures.

About Vanessa

Vanessa has more than 13 years of experience in private equity, M&A and entrepreneurship. She has covered origination and execution of investments in Southeast Asia with a wide range of industries including tech, consumer goods, health care, and education. Vanessa achieved a fast-track career and held senior leadership positions in regional private equity firms. She also served as a member of the board of directors of a STEAM education provider.

Vanessa graduated with a bachelor's degree in foreign trade economics (distinction) from the Foreign Trade University, Vietnam. She is also a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), United Kingdom. She was head of business connection of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce in Singapore, a nonprofit organization that connects business communities and entrepreneurs between Vietnam and Singapore.

Makini Allwood

Assistant Director, Marketing and Communications

Makini works with the Global Admissions teams to craft content and communications targeted to prospective students. 

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