I will never forget the feeling I had when I received my official admission letter from the Crosby MBA Program. My dream to study aboard had finally come true and I could not wait to start a new journey in the country of my choice! I was incredibly proud of myself, as I invested relentless effort during the application and interview process. In just the blink of an eye, I am nearly done with my first year in the Crosby MBA Program. Looking back on my experience, I decided to write something for incoming international MBA applicants going through a similar process. In addition, I wanted to recount this journey to remind myself of how my ambition has gotten me to where I am today.

During secondary school, I often watched a TV Program called “Journey to Mount Olympia” in which the champion in the final annual round won $50,000 to study abroad. That program inspired my dream to study abroad and to attend classes on a campus with international students. I even wanted to experience the snow in winter that I often saw in the news and movies, as my home country is in a tropical climate. That dream inspired me to continue studying, especially because of how rare it is for a student from a small town in Vietnam to afford tuition fees in developed countries.

To prepare, I focused on both my educational and extracurricular activities. I received my bachelor’s degree in business at the top public university in Ho Chi Minh City, actively participated in student clubs and case competitions and then got a job in a prominent Big Four audit firm in Vietnam. I went to work from dawn to dusk, performed well, and was promoted to senior level within two years. The office life kept me incredibly busy. I considered giving up on my study aboard ambitions to devote myself to my professional career instead. However, in the back of my mind, the study abroad dream was still alive and well. In mid-2015, my career coach asked me to write down my career plan for the future. I took one week off from work to self-reflect and to review all the messages that I wrote to myself years ago. I revisited my definition of success, where I wanted to see myself in the next few years and my favorite inspirational quote: “If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done.” I also watched “The Meaning of Life in a View of a Child”, one of my favorite short videos about pursuing your dreams. This process revived my vision to study abroad and I decided to fully commit to researching MBA universities.

I scoured study abroad forums, went to networking events and created a timeline to complete the GMAT and applications. I read and listened to many inspiring stories about how other students overcame difficulties to achieve their study abroad dreams. I ended up meeting a friend whose story truly inspired and motivated me. She spent ten years applying to programs to show her daughter how determined she was to follow her educational dreams. Inspired by her story, I decided to resign from my current job and completely focus on the application process. At the time, it felt like I was taking a big risk by leaving my job. However, my decision paid off in May 2016 when I was accepted into the Crosby MBA Program.

Overall, applying to MBA programs helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses as well as focus my career path. I also realized how many good friends and colleagues stood beside me and inspired me to keep following my dream. I also built a unique network with people that had the same career goals and shared the same MBA ambitions and journey. The Crosby MBA Program has offered a unique opportunity to learn from my classmates and gain new experiences. During my first year in the MBA Program, I competed in case competitions and challenged myself in new areas such as Analytics, Consulting and even Media. A few personal highlights include traveling to Chicago and New York City, attending my first Mizzou football game, and seeing snow for the very first time! I have no doubt that my second and final year in the Crosby MBA Program will be just as exciting and fulfilling.

Phu Le is a first year Crosby MBA student pursuing a Finance concentration. He is the Graduate Research Assistant in Management Information Systems and Project Management. He is currently working on a consulting project for Bloomberg BNA and House Collar, a start-up in Columbia, MO. He is also an active member of Mizzou Analytics Society, DSP Deaton Scholar, and a Crosby MBA Ambassador. He is a CFA Level 2 candidate and will sit for the exam in June 2017.