Hannah Nguyen’s journey across the convocation stage at UCalgary started with decisions she was making when she was just 15 years old, contemplating high school in Vietnam. Studying abroad was what young Nguyen had set her sights on. She moved to a different city for a better high school, a step that would help her along the way.
“It was hard for me to make that decision, but that was also something I always wanted to do,” says Nguyen. “Moving to a new city in high school prepared me to move to another country when I went to university. I felt like I was able to get settled down pretty smoothly when I transitioned into a new life in Calgary, at the University of Calgary. I think it was one of the most important life decisions for me. I wouldn't have chosen differently because of the opportunities that I've had the access to.”
Two degrees, co-op and a finance trip to New York
Convocation will be a celebration of six years of hard work for Nguyen, resulting in a BA in economics and a BComm in finance that was rounded out with co-operative education work experiences.
“When I was almost done with my economics degree, I felt like adding a finance degree would provide me with the technical knowledge that would carry me a long way after university,” says Nguyen. “The two degrees really complemented each other. I have fundamental knowledge from my economics degree and technical knowledge from my finance degree. Together, they really help me to perform better in the workplace.”
Nguyen completed one work term in Vietnam, working for a hospitality and construction company. Her other work term was with Cenovus Energy as a downstream commercial decision analyst.
One of the highlights for Nguyen during university was participating in the Finance Days of Discovery with the Haskayne School of Business. On the five-day trip to New York, the students met with Haskayne alumni working in finance while also experiencing the glamour of the city.
“They are all very really distinguished, really smart, extraordinary and successful individuals. I learned a lot from their journeys — how they got to where they are today,” says Nguyen.
Management consulting: a long-term goal – long time in coming
Consulting became a goal for Nguyen after attending a workshop at Haskayne, but it was a goal that did not come easily. She began applying and continued applying. Each step along the way she was refining with help from Haskayne Career Development Specialists — asking for support with her cover letter and resume, discovering how to build a brand for herself, and practising how to express herself in interviews. She received interviews but no offers.
Consulting firms run candidates through case interviews. And the way Nguyen translated interest into success was with extensive preparation using CaseCoach, a free resource for Haskayne students.
“What I learned from the whole process is just to not to give up on my goals,” says Nguyen. “Getting in management consulting was really competitive. I kept applying. I kept planning my application into my second year, my third year, and never got an interview, got declined from my first interview for an internship in my fourth year, and finally secured a full-time offer post-graduation.”
Nguyen completed a digital consulting internship at Huron Consulting Group, which prepared her for her post-graduate goal of a management consulting career. She was successful in securing a full-time position with Boston Consulting Group starting in September in the Calgary office, where she can enjoy the dynamic experience of consulting while still being able to escape to the mountains.