“When I applied for the WHU Full-Time MBA, I was ready to explore something new. It would have been easy to stay in my industry for another 10 years, but settling for easy is not my personality.” Ha Mai Thanh (Mike) is from Vietnam and joined the MBA program at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in September last year. It is his first time in Germany as an international student and his first experience abroad.
“I chose Germany because it is the largest country in Europe with a stable economy, so I considered it a safe choice regarding job security. Germany is also quite international (especially Dusseldorf), and I find it to be diverse in its culture, with so many people coming here to work. I am lucky to also have family living in the country, so it helps to have that support network too. Germany otherwise wasn’t such a big culture shock – other than our shops are open on a Sunday in Vietnam!”
Like many of his fellow Full-Time MBA students, Mike was ready to take the next step in his career and to expand his knowledge. “I thought about staying with PepsiCo as they have a global network with positions worldwide. But I was craving an academic environment to fulfill my desire to meet new people and gain new knowledge without the pressure of work and meeting targets. Since childhood, it has been one of my dreams to study abroad. I had achieved certain milestones in my career, so it felt like the right time to take that leap.”
Diverse people for diverse ideas
WHU believes access to a top education should be accessible to talented individuals from around the globe and from all walks of life, offering scholarships to enable anyone to do so. WHU’s alumni organization, In Praxi, has been awarding its diversity scholarships to master’s students outside the European Union; however, it recently widened this to include MBA students. The scholarship minimizes international students’ financial barriers when accessing European education.
“WHU was high on my list, and I saw that it had these key focus topics, so I knew it was a good fit for me,” says Mike. “I was looking to apply for a scholarship to help support my studies financially, and the MBA admissions teams saw I was a good fit for the In Praxi Diversity Scholarship, which I feel fortunate to receive.”
“As an international student and an advocator of the LGBTQ community, I want to use my voice to express my thoughts and bring my culture to the WHU community. Diversity is vital in every environment, and if we only meet people who are the same as us, we are never challenged to think differently. Through diversity, we explore different opportunities and can make better decisions with the benefit of different perspectives.
Even among my own classmates, we are very diverse. We come from all backgrounds and cultures, so when we contribute to projects, we all come from different angles. Working with people with alternative mindsets helps me learn and pushes me further. They teach me things I never knew, helping me grow professionally and personally.”
Giving back to people and the planet
Volunteering is a topic that is close to Mike’s heart. He has volunteered throughout his life for multiple projects, from helping mountainous communities in Vietnam to helping find clothing for the homeless in Ho Chi Minh City. Mike is still a member of AEISIC, a global youth organization, motivating young people as a trainer to follow their passions in life. But one of his greatest personal passions is sustainability.
“I come from a developing country, and because of that, Vietnam is not very sustainable. I care about the future and how what we do today impacts the environment and ultimately impacts people. I genuinely believe that if I can learn more about sustainability, I can encourage and educate people in my community in Vietnam to live more sustainably. I want it to be at the center of everything I do, to be part of my purpose in my life.”