Daisy Le from Vietnam is an MBA student with Gonzaga Global at Gonzaga University. With a background in marketing, Daisy has studied in the US for four years and has one year of OPT work experience. She recently shared her story of working on campus and in Las Vegas, her efforts to support international students studying in the USA, and her future career plans.
“After my graduation, I moved to Las Vegas for my one-year OPT working experience,” she said. She started as a marketing assistant and later became a marketing manager at a personal injury firm in Las Vegas, where she gained a wide set of skills and exposure to work culture in the US.
“After that, COVID happened, [and] then I [went] back to Vietnam,” she said.
Daisy, however, had always been passionate about completing her graduate studies in the US, and she wanted to network with professionals, gain relevant skills and knowledge, and pursue her entrepreneurial dreams.
“I am confident because I have a career goal,” she said. After spending time in Vietnam researching her ideal program, Daisy decided to pursue her MBA with Gonzaga Global at Gonzaga University.
Why Daisy Chose Gonzaga
Gonzaga University is a top-tier private university, ranked #83 in National Universities by U.S. News & World Report (2023). The MBA program is widely recognized, too - it’s ranked #29 in MBA Programs by Corporate Knights Better World MBA Ranking (2021) and #23 - Entrepreneurship specialization by U.S. News & World Report (2024).
For Daisy, Gonzaga MBA’s highly ranked curriculum, affordable tuition, and experiential student life held strong appeal.
“I know that Gonzaga has high rankings [for its] MBA program,” she said. “Also Gonzaga is famous for basketball, and when I mentioned to my American colleague in Vietnam that I [was] going to Gonzaga …[they were] like, ‘oh, I know Gonzaga!’ because of the basketball teams!”
Gonzaga has very fair tuition and high rankings. [It’s] highly [regarded] by very prestigious organizations.” — Daisy, Vietnam, MBA student at Gonzaga University
Getting Support through Gonzaga Global
International students who enroll through Gonzaga Global benefit from arrival assistance, English-language support, academic tutoring, job interview preparation tips, and support to overcome the challenges of culture shock.
“Like other students, I am sure, I had culture shock. I missed home so much,” Daisy said. Even though she had studied and worked in the US previously, she recognized that she still had new challenges to face. “I didn’t know how to make friends, I didn’t know how to get involved in university, and also there are so many rules for international students that I didn’t know about.”
The Gonzaga Global supervisors were crucial to her getting familiar and comfortable with student life in the US. Daisy called out James Vair, student services advisor at Gonzaga Global, noting how he checks in with Gonzaga Global’s students twice per semester to see whether the international students are coping well with their studies, have a healthy social life, and are doing well emotionally.
“I was really surprised and amazed by James and the team — how much they helped us from the beginning,” she said. “From the first day [until] now, and maybe in[to] the future, they have provided us with all the necessary information that we need to know.”
Daisy also noted the importance of orientation, and how it brings together international students and creates a sense of community and belonging.
“They tell us in orientation week what to expect and what to watch out for. They communicate really well, and they provided us with good information that international students need to know about,” she said. “They are really supportive!”
While she finds the MBA program challenging, Daisy is confident that she will be able to thrive both academically and in her employment on campus because of the support from Gonzaga Global. “Everything is tougher, like 100 times, but [the team is] really supportive; they just help us out with whatever.”
Finding Employment at Gonzaga
Daisy believes her OPT work experience was instrumental in obtaining a well-rounded skill set while studying in the US. She spoke about how international students can gain work experience on campus or through off-campus CPT opportunities, helping them learn more, improve their communication skills, and network with professionals in their chosen fields.
Additionally, Gonzaga University’s job search and recruiting platform, ZagsIgnite, provides students with a space to connect with employers, schedule personalized career advising appointments, and learn more about career fairs and events.
Through ZagsIgnite, Daisy landed an on-campus job role. “I found another opportunity as a website content assistant, [which] is still a student employment position for [the] Gonzaga marketing department. When I saw it, I had to apply immediately,” she said. “I had an interview with them and I got the job, so I am working for them as well.”
Daisy also dedicates her time to supporting international students in overcoming the same challenges she faced when she first arrived in the US.
“When James [asked] for help [with] the orientation week, I signed up immediately because I love to help international students,” Daisy said. “As an international student, I want all international students to maximize their experience studying in the States,” she added.
This is especially evident in her newest venture — building a culturally open and diverse student community — the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA).
Starting the Vietnamese Student Association at Gonzaga
Gonzaga University is home to a large Vietnamese community. Recognized for its close-knit community of students and faculty, Gonzaga University takes pride in cultivating a diverse and accepting student body.
In alignment with these core values at Gonzaga, Daisy has nurtured the Vietnamese Student Association. “We have a very big Vietnamese student community here, but we didn’t have any events or activities that could connect them,” she said, “So, last month I started VSA so that we can promote Vietnamese culture to other students here at Gonzaga as well, and provide a safe place for Vietnamese students. I’m really excited for this project!”
Beyond international student orientation and the VSA, Daisy stays involved with Gonzaga Global throughout the year, answering a variety of international student questions on a regular basis. She’s helped international students with registering for a SIM card, getting a new phone number, opening a bank account, and more. She shows them around Spokane and directs Vietnamese students to Asian markets where they can shop for Asian ingredients to cook Vietnamese meals that are not available elsewhere.
What’s Next for Daisy?
In Vietnam, Daisy’s mother owns a pharmaceutical company with a mission to help children have better options for vitamins and supplements. Inspired by her mother’s entrepreneurial mindset, Daisy would like to start her own business one day. She is passionate about helping international students ease into life in the US and guiding them to choose programs that match their interests and strengths.
Daisy recommends that international students look for universities that make them feel like they are a part of the community. From cultural societies and clubs centered around specific interests to sports teams and community support groups, universities offer a wide range of extracurricular activities you can participate in to feel more at home in the US.
“[International students] just need to find a place where they can feel they belong,” she says. “If you want an environment that can encourage you to study, that has so many resources, and people to support you, then Gonzaga is the right place for you.”
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