Getting good (internship) opportunities really helps you understand what you want, or what you don't want.
- Campus Life
Getting to Google
Internships as a student at NYU Abu Dhabi show you what you like and what you don't like. I still don't know what I'll be doing in 10 years, but already I can strike out a lot of options. Getting good (internship) opportunities really helps you understand what you want, or what you don't want.
At NYUAD, I declared my major early: economics and finance, and a minor in math. I was very into the whole idea of investment banking.
So, I prepared myself for that. I interned with Ernst & Young in Abu Dhabi during my sophomore summer, and then went back to Vietnam to do an internship at VinaCapital, the country's biggest mutual fund. I exposed myself to different angles in the finance industry, to see what I liked.
The next summer I went to New York and interned at HSBC there, on the trading floor. That was the thing I'd been trying for, for so long — to intern on Wall Street; working toward a full-time job there.
But by the end of that internship I realized that maybe it’s not for me, just in terms of personality. The finance industry is great. But each industry requires a certain sort of personality … I couldn't see myself doing investment banking by a few years after college.
Finding the Right Fit
At the end of the day, it's your life, you do what you feel happy about the impact you are generating, not doing what everyone else is. So I said 'OK, what’s the next cool thing?' You have consulting, and tech firms. I didn't know anything about consulting. And I was not a computer science major or anything, either, but I applied to Google Singapore and got a job with Google AdWords, helping advertisers optimize their campaigns.
Instead of working with big investment banks, I'm working with small businesses. It's very rewarding; you get close to people… it's very tangible, helping clients day by day.