Minh Tang is from Vietnam and is studying business in Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He will graduate in May 2014.
Where are you from? What is your country or region known for?
I am from Vietnam, and people often think about my home country as a country of good food, amazing landscapes, constantly changing weather and war. But I think about my country as a land of people who seek, value and try to maintain long-term friendships.
Which languages do you speak?
I speak native Vietnamese, fluent English, intermediate German and basic Norwegian.
Why did you choose to study in the United States? And why at UNC?
I came to the U.S. to study because I hoped to see the world from a different angle. Literally, the U.S. and Vietnam are on opposite sides of the world, so many things here and there are also opposite. As a young high school student who constantly sought out adventures, I loved the idea of flying to a totally new land.
I chose UNC specifically because the school offers quality education at an affordable rate. As I would be paying out-of-state tuition, I definitely had to take tuition costs into account when deciding which school to attend.
What unique perspectives do you feel you bring to your classrooms as an international student?
I am an international student not only because I am from Vietnam, but also because I have lived and visited many countries. These trips helped me build my confidence, which has motivated me to voice my opinions in the classroom. By speaking up without any fear of being judged, I keep the atmosphere of my classes alive.
Which course at UNC have you enjoyed the most and why?
My favorite course at UNC is Introduction to Public Health, PBHG 600H, led by Siega Riz, associate dean of the Gillings School of Global Public Health. My innate passion for healthcare may bias my choice, but objectively I would say I liked the class because I liked the respect that Siega Riz showed her students. For example, she let each of her students lead a class discussion, listened carefully to student ideas and reached out to students who might have had a hard time with the class. The course content was amazing on its own. Well-known researchers and professors spoke in our class for most class meetings. During this class, I felt that I was a part of a unique experience at UNC, as opposed to reading textbooks and doing homework like in “just another public health school.”
Tell us about a professor who has motivated or helped you.
Through the Summer Immersion program at Kenan-Flagler Business School, I went to South Africa, where I met the professor that changed my life forever. Nick Binedell, founding director of the Gordon Institute of Business Science of the University of Pretoria in Johannesburg, South Africa, delivered a lecture on international business and closed the lecture by encouraging his young audience to travel the world. He said the world had so much to teach us, so much to offer and after a trip our eyes would become more perceptive, and our hearts would become more receptive. Understanding the world, according to him, is, after all, the goal of all studies. I took his words to my heart, and after taking a year off to travel, I learned more about the world, how I fit into such a world, as well as what I can offer it. I appreciated every single word he said. I have a special thanks to Kenan-Flagler Business School, which gave me the opportunity to get to know him.
Which campus activities do you most enjoy at UNC?
I love going hiking and backpacking with the UNC Tramping Club. We go as close as Jordan Lake to as far as Virginia. The trips offer me a chance to get to know other students and learn new skills, namely how to divide supplies among group members or how to protect ourselves from bear attacks! I feel so rejuvenated and excited about school again after each trip.
What are you currently reading?
I am reading Harvard Business Review on Motivating People, a collection of articles on business practices to motivate employees. I find many of those practices applicable to daily life. The book is very helpful to me, because I have never known how to motivate others. Oftentimes I am a very independent person and try to do everything without help. However, after one year of working in Germany, I realized that other people and I could achieve more if we worked together, and that teamwork should start with me learning how to motivate others properly.