“I believe that economics is the root of everything.” — Anh Ngoc Nguyen
Under any circumstances, studying abroad in a foreign country could be scary. The COVID-19 pandemic adds many more complexities.
Fortunately for senior Anh Ngoc Nguyen (Nguyễn Ngọc Ánh), who came from Hanoi, Vietnam, to complete her degree in economics at CSU, the courageous decision to study abroad was the right one.
Since 2008, CSU has partnered with the Foreign Trade University (FTU) to offer a 3+1 Economics-International Business Economics program to Vietnamese undergraduate students. Students in this program take classes from CSU faculty at their home campus in Hanoi, and then they have the option to come complete their senior year at CSU.
Typically, entire cohorts of FTU students will come to CSU — with as many as 40 students in a year. However, given the travel limitations faced in the global health pandemic, Anh has been the only FTU student here in 2021-2022.
“Coming here alone is definitely the biggest challenge that I have overcome, and I was right to do it. I am so grateful that I have this opportunity and for everyone who helped me get this experience. Thanks to Terry Iverson, Anita Pena, Alison Koss, Rosanna Houlton, and other faculty in the economics department for making me feel like CSU is home. I will never forget the time I spent here at CSU,” Anh said.
She didn’t know many people when she got to Fort Collins, but Anh’s outgoing personality helped her make friends quickly and stand out as a student leader in economics. Over the last nine months, she has been a member of the Economics Student Leadership Council (ESLC), completed a research internship with the Poverty Action Center (PAC@REDI), and was recently inducted into Omicron Delta Epsilon, the economics honor society.
“We have loved having Anh at CSU this year. In addition to being a fabulous intern who brings a real-world development perspective to our work in PAC@REDI, Anh has been a fantastic representative of her cohort at Foreign Trade University, which studied with many of us when we were visiting professors in Hanoi,” said Professor Anita Pena.
As planned, Anh graduates this spring with a bachelor’s degree in economics and a minor in business administration. This summer, she will spend time with her family in Vietnam before returning to the United States for graduate studies.
In Her Own Words
What inspired you to pursue a degree in economics?
When I was in high school, mathematics was my favorite subject. I thought that being a mathematician would be really miraculous because it sounds similar to a magician. I soon realized that doing tricks with numbers is not enough; you need to know how to tell a story with them to impress the audience. Then I discovered economics, which is the perfect combination of quantitative aspects and qualitative analysis. I believe that economics is the root of everything and that learning economics helped me understand many aspects of human development. Economics can also be applied in many positions, which gives me flexibility when finding a career.
What advice would you give future economics majors?
I would say that your mind often underestimates your ability, so don’t be afraid to try new things – except for math in economics. You will never know how many Greek letters will appear in your formula.
What are your 3 “must-take” economics courses?
ECON 335/435 Econometrics and ECON 436 Forecasting: If you like working with data, these courses are the best for you. They let you see the real-world situation aside from many models and assumptions in economics.
Any course that contains Game Theories: You must have heard about the prisoners’ dilemma, and if you think that game is really fascinating, then you will love to learn about all kinds of game theory variations.
ECON 492 Economics Seminar in Climate Change: I took this class from Professor Terry Iverson and I think this is a timely topic that every student should have some experience on. You will also learn to use Excel in economics.
What is your next step?
After graduation, I will continue my study in graduate school [a master’s program in business analytics] at Loyola University Chicago. I sometimes joke that I am so scared of being an adult and getting a job so I decided to go to grad school. However, everybody has their own path; you just have to believe that you can do what you want, and eventually, you will be the person in your dreams.