MBA student profile: Olivia Nguy

12 July 2021
Written by Olivia Nguy
Recent alumna of the part-time MBA program, Olivia Nguy shares her experience and how she has used her degree in the not-for-profit sector.
Image of Olivia Nguy

Olivia Nguy (MBA '19), Chief Executive Officer at Detour House Inc

About 18 months have passed since I completed my MBA. It’s wonderful to be so connected to the University of Sydney’s MBA community still, despite the time that has lapsed, thanks to its incredible network – a group of diverse, savvy individuals, that collectively hold so much potential to create positive change in the world – and alumni opportunities that keep us connected and continually learning.

I currently lead a not-for-profit organisation called Detour House, where we work to reduce the incidence of homelessness amongst women and girls in NSW. Our current delivery includes The Girls Refuge which supplies crisis accommodation for 13-17 year olds experiencing homelessness, and a residential alcohol and other drug treatment service for women experiencing homelessness or who are at risk.

Transitioning to a new sector

I started my role at Detour House mid-way through my MBA, a slight pivot in my career having spent the last decade or so primarily working with refugees and people seeking asylum.

I can thank the MBA for giving me the confidence to sink my teeth into a new sub-sector so readily, hitting the ground running. Having delved into a new topic, a new sector, and new business with every real-world group assignment we tackled throughout the MBA, stepping into something new felt like second nature. It also led me to conclude that one can problem-solve anything with the right team around it – generally, one that is multidisciplinary, bringing diversity in expertise, perspective and experience.

In my day-to-day, this means that in addition to our staffed team, I've focused on drawing in volunteers and partners with the diversity of expertise we need, in order to do great things.

I can thank the MBA for giving me the confidence to sink my teeth into a new sub-sector so readily, hitting the ground running.
Olivia Nguy (MBA '19)

An influential network

I have learnt so much from my MBA colleagues, especially those with different experiences and expertise from myself, and this continues to influence how I work. In big and small ways, with their influence I have come to approach communications differently, to strategise differently, and to value and consider varying aspects of business differently.

I've come away from the program with some great friends for life, and an incredible network I can reach out to in an instant that can help create social change.

Undoubtedly the issue of homelessness in Australia and around the world is a wicked problem in every sense of the phrase, and it certainly takes a village to create the required change. While we are a drop in the ocean in the scheme of things, we are nevertheless a phenomenal, powerful group with our skills and experiences combined, that can make in-roads in tackling complex issues.

I am so grateful to be able to reach out to the MBA network each time that the need for diverse expertise arises in my work, and for the rich practical learning I have gained throughout the MBA.
Olivia Nguy (MBA '19)

Whether you’re looking to advance your career, develop your skillset, change roles or industries, or pursue a personal passion, an MBA can open doors to a world of opportunity. Explore our MBA programs.

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