Tony Nguyen is an Accounting and Management Information Systems student at the University of Houston, and a Summer Venture in Management (SVMP) 2022 alum.

Why did you want to attend SVMP?

I am a huge advocate for diversity and inclusion, especially in the business world, and I knew that Harvard Business School is committed to removing all barriers to opportunity. I was therefore excited to immerse myself in an environment where I get to learn and connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds. I knew that if I had the chance to attend the program, it would introduce me to a unique experience, expand my knowledge of business and leadership education, and enhance my tangible skills that could be applied to my future work experiences.

What surprised you the most about SVMP?

I was most surprised by the authenticity of the experience – it truly reflected a week at the Harvard Business School. From the case studies to the professors, SVMP gave me insight into the MBA curriculum and what HBS has to offer. I was also surprised by how welcoming and at home the Admissions team and faculty (shout-out to Professor Anita Elberse!) made us feel. There was a sense of belonging – from a group of more than 180 strangers to forming a special bond in just a couple of days. It was all transformative and surreal.

Did SVMP change how you think about your future?

Oh, for sure. Before SVMP, I did not have much knowledge of MBA programs, and had not even considered attending business school. The original plan was to finish my undergrad studies and work my way up the corporate ladder. When I was admitted into SVMP, I was not sure of what to expect – I just knew it was an opportunity to learn. SVMP was an eye-opening experience; it expanded my horizons and taught me that there are so many ways to go about life and grow as a person.

What was the SVMP participant community like?

When you put together a classroom of individuals from diverse backgrounds and experiences it sparks meaningful conversations. Thinking back to the first case study session, I remember thinking to myself: “Wow, these people are super intelligent. How am I even here right now?” Something about the fast-paced environment and bouncing ideas off one another demonstrated the drive and passion the SVMP community embodied: students from all over the nation in one setting, striving for greatness.

Did you become close with other SVMP participants?

Absolutely! SVMP is so close to my heart because of the friendships I formed during the experience. I knew we were going to meet and connect with new people, but I did not think any of us expected to establish long-lasting friendships. Since SVMP ended, I have visited various cities and planned meetups with local SVMP alumni. We all stay in touch through a huge group chat, which is still active today!

What was your biggest takeaway from SVMP?

One of the greatest takeaways from SVMP was to surround myself with people who will push me to be my most authentic self. I will always remember how I felt during the program – surrounded by unique, hard-working, and passionate individuals. And of course, learning about the value of the case method and how diverse perspectives will enhance the classroom environment.

Do you have advice for college students considering SVMP?

SVMP is a transformative, once-in-a-lifetime experience. That one week has so much impact and can shape your life in ways you cannot imagine. If you are contemplating or interested in SVMP, I urge you to apply! You will thank yourself later.