Thuy PhanMBA+ MS in Digital innovation, Concentration: Leadership & Organizational Transformation* Cambridge, MA
“Coming from nonprofit to tech, I really found my inner strength and confidence as a leader. I think about my intersecting identities of being a woman, being Asian, and being a first-generation college student, and Questrom helped me realize there’s nothing that can stop me now.”
*Renamed the MBA+ MS in Digital Technology in Fall 2019.
A jack of all trades, Thuy came to business school after exploring a few different career paths. Her pre-MBA professional experience included AmeriCorps, fundraising, nonprofits, and healthcare before realizing her business interests; interests which led her to Questrom.
Thuy joined the MBA+ MS in Digital innovation (MBA+MSDi) program to help prepare her for the future of human capital strategy. “It’s moving more and more towards data-driven analytics, used to predict things like retention, talent development, and attrition, so by getting this second degree, I could be a more data-driven HR strategist. Having the relevant skills to keep up is so important.”
Thuy says the MBA+MSDi has shaped her time at Questrom by developing those crucial quantitative skills. “With the MBA+MSDi, I’m able to tailor my curriculum; all of our courses give me a really great understanding of technology, high-level strategy, and how to be successful in the digital technology sector.”
At Thuy’s summer internship, she got to put those skills to practice working at IBM. “I worked on building a data dashboard with internal and external metrics of engagement. I looked at IBM’s competitors in the market and how they engaged their employees, then came up with a strategy that would engage over 30,000 employees across 10 different business units,” she explains. She also worked on a compendium of resources related to diversity and inclusion. “There are so many different initiatives happening at IBM all around the world since it’s a huge enterprise, and their resources were scattered all over the place. That project was to bring it all into one diversity and inclusion playbook.”
Thuy is no stranger to diversity and inclusion work—in fact, outside of the classroom, she works with Questrom’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion; last year, she led the annual Diversity & Inclusion conference. She also serves as the Senior Vice President of the Grad Council, where she is passionate about making a difference. “I was a representative of three clubs last year, so I had a pretty good pulse on the student voice and culture. This year, I wanted to move up a level to be able to advocate for myself and my peers and to see systemic change happen here at Questrom.”
Another extracurricular highlight that Thuy especially enjoyed was participating in case competitions. “If you were to ask me what my favorite thing was outside of my academics, I’d definitely say the case competition I participated in down at Vanderbilt. It was one of my most formative experiences here—it was a month into business school, and I didn’t have a lot of confidence, but I learned a lot about myself in that process. I learned I do bring a lot of valuable assets to the team when we’re looking at a business problem and I’m able to think creatively at a high strategic level. It gave me a lot of confidence in my own capabilities to succeed.”
Thuy feels that, especially with her case competition experience, Questrom is a place that increased her quantitative skills and her leadership skills tenfold. “Coming from nonprofit to tech, I really found my inner strength and confidence as a leader. I think about my intersecting identities of being a woman, being Asian, and being a first-generation college student, and Questrom helped me realize there’s nothing that can stop me now.”