Phu Nguyen, B.S., Business Administration ’06
Partner, New York Life
“Everything comes to he who hustles while he waits.”
–This quote from Benjamin Franklin is a daily reminder for Phu Nguyen that achieving goals takes work. Phu has learned that by focusing on the goals of the company, and enabling his team’s success, he succeeds as well.
How did you land your first job upon graduation from Pacific?
Graduating college without a job in the current economy was a scary proposition. I knew my last year of college would be a critical time for my job search. I applied to dozens of jobs and went through 30-40 interviews trying to find the right place for me. I had lined up a couple of offers in pharmaceutical sales industry and was headed in that direction. Finding New York Life was a fluke, but I knew after doing my research and going through the interview process that it was the job for me.
What made you so sure you’d found the right career path?
My grandfather told me “You can do whatever you want as long as at the end of the day you can answer the question “did you help people?”.”
I always knew I wanted to help people. When I arrived at Pacific as a Biology major, I intended to go to med school. I wanted to be a doctor. When I realized that path was not for me, I focused on career paths where I could positively impact others. Being able to help people who struggled with finances validated my decision to choose New York Life.
What challenges did you encounter when you first entered the professional world?
I did not expect it to be so hard to convince prospective clients who were often twice or three times my age to trust me with their financial decisions. I had to work through the objections and figure out how to get others to take me seriously.
How did your business degree prepare you for your first professional job?
My college education taught me how to start and finish something. This mentality has been essential throughout my career. A grasp for the language of business and professional etiquette has honed my communication and networking abilities which I use daily to grow the business. Critical thinking has been very pivotal in my career. And managing pressure and working with people with a diverse array of personalities, skill, and backgrounds, were skills I developed initially through my education.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your professional work today?
Being a Partner is very rewarding because I get to develop raw talent into successful entrepreneurs and working professionals. I get to work and collaborate with a team that loves what they do and are willing to put 100% into their work. I am so committed to supporting my team’s growth and success that I can’t see myself anywhere else.
What professor was most impactful for you as a student at Pacific?
Professor Naumann’s Management Organizational Behavior (MOB) is the class that I still refer back to and review my notes. Being in a managerial position means having to work with people every day. The knowledge that I gained from this class and the professor still sticks with me to this day.
Though I didn’t take any classes with Dr. Post, he is one of my neighbors. I constantly pick his brain about his teaching techniques and styles.
How do you use social media and professional networking tools in your job?We use Facebook to highlight the success of the team. I believe in promoting them and showing how much they have impacted the company positively. Social media is useful for initial introductions, but the face to face interaction is essential to creating a connection.
What advice do you have for students entering the professional world today?
Be coachable, have a great work ethic, and find a balance between being money motivated and intrinsically motivated.
Explore your options. Research companies, pursue lots of interviews, be well prepared and ask questions. You want to be able to answer the question: why is this company right FOR ME.
What do you look for at first glance of a resume when you are hiring?
I look past GPA and focus more attention on previous employment. I want to see stability, longevity, and loyalty. Does this individual bounce around to many different positions, or have they been consistent in their employment? I also look for extracurricular activities. I want to see that they are able to balance academics while still being involved in other activities.
Connect with Phu on LinkedIn
To learn more about New York Life and Career Opportunities: www.newyorklife.com/careers