She has attended colleges and universities across the world, from law school in Vietnam to an MBA program at Marshall University in West Virginia and a student exchange program in Sweden. But Nhi Nguyen is sold on Grossmont College, where she’s now studying business administration.
“I know it’s a community college and not a university, but it gives me much more than what I expected,” said Nguyen, 28. “In a small class size, you can easily talk to your professor, plus a lot of professors here are also teaching at a university, so what’s the difference? If you’re taking general education or lower division courses in a particular subject, and you’re learning from the same instructors, it makes sense to go to a community college, which is a lot more economical.”
Nguyen, who has long aspired to work at one of the Big Four accounting firms, took a detour to Grossmont College after a combination of financial challenges her parents were facing in Vietnam and the added cost that came with her younger brother’s decision to pursue a college degree.
She left Marshall University in 2018 and moved to an aunt’s home in La Mesa determined to enroll at a community college to save money. Her experience with Grossmont College left her impressed.
“Choosing the right college is an important decision,” Nguyen said. “When I reached out to Grossmont, they emailed me right away, they called me back, they took an interest in me. Grossmont provided great support to this student, so I thought this school could help me to achieve my education and career goals.”
It’s the latest stop on a journey that began in her hometown of Quang Ngai in central Vietnam. After graduating from high school, Nguyen earned a degree from Ho Chi Minh City University of Law, spending several weeks along the way at a student exchange program in Lund, Sweden, studying international business transactions.
Law degree in hand, she headed to Marshall University for its Master of Business Administration program. One year later, however, her plans changed when her younger brother set out on his higher education journey, and both ended up moving in with an aunt near Helix High School in La Mesa.
She said her decision to enroll at Grossmont College was one of the best she’s made.
“The business administration program at Grossmont is very similar to what I was studying in the master’s program at Marshall,” Nguyen said.
Her academic achievements and determination recently secured Nguyen the Betty D. Krueger Memorial Scholarship, awarded in memory of Betty D. Krueger, a teacher and school librarian who valued education.
Nguyen, who works part time at the Grossmont College Admissions and Records office, volunteers on campus and has been certified to participate in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to help low-income families file their returns. Her outreach and care for others is catching the attention of others.
“Nhi is a phenomenal student worker and exemplifies the ideals we try to instill in our students,” said Wayne Branker, Nguyen’s Admissions and Records supervisor. “She has made a tremendous impact on our office and has been a terrific resource for students and helping them navigate their way through college. I know Nhi is a diligent student and takes her studies seriously. What I have come to appreciate most is her inquisitive nature. Nhi asks a lot of questions and as a result has surpassed her peers in her knowledge of the policies and procedures here in A&R. She is also incredibly warm and kind, which makes students feel comfortable coming to her with their issues to solve.”
Now taking an interest in computer science, Nguyen is aiming to graduate in the spring of 2021, transfer to San Diego State University, and earn an advanced degree in business administration.
“Grossmont is a great path for my journey, and I’m so thankful for many opportunities the college has given me,” Nguyen said.