“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

My memory of childhood is filled with carrots - relatively cheap, good for eyesight.

I grew up in Vietnam, the war-torn country which was impoverished further by a closed economy back in the 1980s. My mother was determined to do anything she could for my sisters and me to have good education: working, chicken farming, selling trashed papers... Still, she could not afford extra food for me to stay healthy while studying intensively whenever I was preparing for a regional competition or a nation-wide contest. So, she went for carrots! With a child's intuition, I sensed her dilemma and ate those carrots like a rabbit. With love in my heart, I was determined to succeed.

She died when I was 13-year-old; but her gift of education has carried me far beyond her wildest dream. It has carried me to Harvard Business School two years ago, when I flew half the world from Vietnam to the US for the first time, knowing it was a dream come true.

Those carrots show me that tremendous difference can be made even with meager means, especially via education. It is education in its broadest sense that I want to give – to myself for entire lifetime, to my kids when they come, to the people I will manage as a business leader, to the community around me. One life at a time, one place at a time...

— Cindy Thanh Tran