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Darla Moore School of Business

Master of International Business graduate blazing trails by completing program

May 11, 2020

Moore School Master of International Business alumna Sunnie Duong was the first Vietnamese student to graduate from the program in May 2020.

Having grown up in Vietnam, Duong said she has always wanted to have an international career to explore the world and to play a role in marketing affordable and quality services and products to people who need them. She earned her undergraduate degree from Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina, and then worked for Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation in West Columbia as their international sales coordinator for one year.

“Upon finishing my undergraduate degree, I knew that I still needed to sharpen my skills and enrich my experiences to be more successful in the international workforce,” Duong said. “I wanted to attend a highly ranked program at a prestigious school for international business to help me deepen my understanding and surround myself with many talented, ambitious, like-minded classmates.”

This criteria for graduate programs led Duong to the Moore School’s MIB program.

“I was very excited and eager to participate in the Moore School MIB courses that are not usually offered in other graduate programs,” Duong said. “The MIB program is designed to improve the interdisciplinary knowledge about the global market, and that was exactly what I needed to advance my career.”

Duong added that, after learning that she would be the first Vietnamese student to attend the MIB program, she “felt compelled to be the pioneer and be the first of many more students from developing countries like me to seek higher education and gain international experiences.”

The 10-class MIB program encourages students to look at international business issues from multiple perspectives. The program also fosters multicultural relationships, as many students call international countries home.

“The cross-cultural collaboration forced me to think about balancing the cultural differences, working styles, as well as personal priorities while achieving the assigned tasks efficiently and effectively,” Duong said. “The intercultural communication and collaboration skills prepared me for an international career in the future.”

The MIB program also offers students the opportunity to complete a Graduate Certificate in Business Analytics. This allows students to expand their skillset in data proficiency and analytical capabilities. Duong opted to complete the certificate as a part of her MIB coursework.

“Thanks to the business analytics certificate, I was able to obtain the foundation to learn more advanced concepts in data analytics and shorten the learning curve,” she said.

Hoping to broaden her knowledge and enrich her international experiences, Duong said the MIB program has helped to open her eyes to various issues, opportunities and risks in the international business world that many people often overlook. She said she will use this ability to see hidden potential and underlying risks in business opportunities in her future career.

“As I am interested in eventually working in an emerging market, the MIB program helps me look beyond country and cultural boundaries and come up with creative ways to work well in the world with constraints and limited resources,” Duong said.

Searching for a particular career in a specific market, Duong took advantage of the Moore School Office of Career Management’s career coach dedicated to the MIB program who provided Duong with assistance in strategizing for her job search and answered her specific questions.

“Having a dedicated career coach for the MIB program has given me the opportunity to have one-on-one time with the career coach who cares about each student in the program,” Duong said. “Personally, one of the most helpful assistances from the career coach is when she provided some guidelines and pointers for me to evaluate my job offer. As a young professional, I found it extremely helpful to know how to review the terms and benefits.”

With this knowledge and advice, Duong felt confident negotiating her own contract and eventually accepting a position with Techtronic Industries Co. Ltd. (TTI), in its new international leadership development program. The program will allow Duong to learn about different departments and in-store operations of the power equipment and floor care company, gaining a strong understanding of the company as a whole before she eventually begins working on international assignments.

TTI has recently announced the expansion of its manufacturing facilities to Vietnam, so Duong said she is “excited” about the opportunity to work on projects in her home country.

“As TTI has operations across the globe, I am also excited about traveling internationally, taking part in projects overseas, and about the idea of contributing to the company growth and bringing products to consumers around the world,” she said.

As she prepares to begin the international career that she has always wanted, Duong said she is looking forward to continuing to develop her understanding of different cultures and emerging markets.

-Erin Mooney

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