Courage and conviction
“If you want to progress your career, you need to surround yourself by the people you aspire to become.”
Dieu Anh Khuat (MIFFT2014)
Dieu Anh Khuat (MIFFT2014)
Hungry for knowledge
“Mine was the first generation in my family not to experience war and poverty. I arrived in the UK at 16, without family or friends, to pursue an overseas education. I wanted the opportunity to learn and prove myself. My mind was open to the challenges of being the only Vietnamese person in the room and facing up to the linguistic and cultural obstacles this entailed."
“Even now, in 2019, I’m used to being outside my comfort zone. As Vice President in the EMEA Public Sector Group at Citigroup, I’m sometimes the only woman in the room in a sector that is still dominated by men in positions of leadership. Thriving and achieving success as a woman in today’s competitive and fast-paced world hinges on my ability to empower myself and to keep learning."
“In a big organisation you need to find the resilience to stand up for yourself and your ideas, and to keep on learning every day.”
“I’ve always had a desire to learn. It’s what brought me to the UK in the first place, and it also brought me to London Business School (LBS) in 2013, when I secured sponsorship from Citi to pursue the full-time Masters in Finance. I was keen to accelerate my career – I wanted to build on a strong foundation in economics from my degree at LSE and consolidate the technical skills to move on and upwards."
“I was at a point of transition and LBS totally exceeded my expectations. The skills and knowledge I had were things I’d picked up on the job, but I needed a framework to really develop the kind of expertise in finance that would take me to the next stage in my career. LBS was a natural choice. First there was the London location, at the centre of this major finance hub, and the access to the School’s organisational ecosystem. Then there was
the School’s reputation for being the foremost business school in Europe – a reputation that in my experience is completely deserved."
“But it was the network that really stood out. I made some of my closest friendships among my classmates and faculty – even writing case studies with one of the professors. These are relationships that sustain me and continue to help me overcome challenges both professionally and personally. I’d say the network is the biggest thing I took away from LBS."
“The challenges facing anyone – man or woman – looking to excel in finance can be acute. Working life is fast-paced, competitive and the hours are long. For women particularly, the obstacles can be hard to overcome in juggling a family life with the kind of work and travel commitments that come with additional responsibility. My network has played a major role in boosting my confidence and empowering me to find my voice.”
“Being a working mother means getting good at balancing and prioritising. There are times when I am travelling to remote parts of the world and I have to leave my young family behind. The challenges are real and they are personal, and you do have to dig deep to find the persistence. This is where I draw support and at times key advice from my network, my family and my friends.”Read more
The courage to ask for more
“I really believe that women in business have a duty to support each other. Whether you are at the top of your career or coming up, women understand women better. There will always be issues or problems that you are going to feel more comfortable sharing with another woman. And successful women can provide a kind of mentorship to others – you appreciate what women coming up behind you are experiencing. You’ve been in their shoes and you can empathise."
“If you want to progress your career, you need to surround yourself by the people you aspire to become. Proactively ask for feedback. Take criticism seriously, but not personally – don’t let it get you down, sort it out and move on. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask."
“I don’t think you have anything to lose, whether you’re asking for greater flexibility after maternity leave, or to get out to the field to visit clients. Earlier in my career I worried about things like costs to my company if I asked to meet with clients in Europe and Africa. When I finally picked up the courage to make these requests, to my huge surprise, there was no hesitation whatsoever from senior management."
“Having that courage is key. Be it for advice, for support, for equality in opportunity, in access to education, or whether it’s asking more from yourself, don’t be afraid to do it. In most cases, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
“I made some of my closest friendships at LBS…relationships that sustain me and continue to help me overcome challenges.”
“I needed a framework to develop the kind of expertise in finance that would take me to the next stage in my career…LBS totally exceeded my expectations.”
“Women in business have a duty to support each other. Whether you are at the top or coming up, women understand women better.”