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Anh Cao
More Than I Imagined Seniors reflect on accomplishments and look ahead

Anh Cao

Graduation year: 2022

High school: Bui Thi Xuan High School

Hometown: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Majors: Business administration (marketing); multimedia journalism and mass communication

Minor: Accounting

Activities: Vietnamese Student Association, Global Engagement Team, Augustana Observer

Internship: Content marketing intern at Katalon in Vietnam

Post-grad plans: Take a full-time position for the first few years, then apply for a master’s program

Why Augustana?

Pictures of Augie’s campus attracted me since the first time I looked at them. In addition, I believed small-sized schools like Augie would help me to feel included, and it also offered me the chance to explore my hidden fields of interest before officially declaring majors or minors.

Are you where you thought you'd be when you first came to campus?

Not at all. I’ve achieved more accomplishments than I thought — from an 18-year-old freshman who never went abroad, who had language barriers talking to English-speaking people in the first few months, to a student who received her “Outstanding Senior Business Administration Major Award” a few weeks before graduation.

Who helped you get to where you are now?

My family. Thanks to their support and belief in me, I had the motivation to move forward every day.

Professor Mamata Marmé, my advisor who always shows me the magic of statistical testing, and who encourages me by saying that students like me are the reason for her to keep her passion for teaching.

Dr. Ann Ericson, who I met only in my senior year but who brought to me many new experiences. I had her for my Senior Inquiry class. We did our projects and went to the ASIANetwork Conference together.

Dr. Trang Phan, the only Vietnamese professor on campus who takes every opportunity to gather and organize an event for us. Thanks to her, I expanded my knowledge in the financial field.

My friends. Without them, my college experience would not be that memorable. From my roomie, my housemates, to those I am close with, their stories and skill sets inspire me to strive for a better version of myself.

Last but not least, a shoutout to Son Vu, Brad Foley and all the staff members in the Dining Hall.

Peak experience?

I went to the ASIANetwork Conference in Geneva, N.Y., with Dr. Ann Ericson to present my research about the generational difference in the brand preferences of Vietnamese consumers. That was the first time I attended an academic conference.

What surprised you?

I did not expect to form such close relationships with my professors. Back to the time when I got infected with COVID-19, Dr. Ann Ericson texted me every day asking how I was feeling, then gave me some test kits and masks. It’s good when you have someone to care about you when your parents are not here.

How did you use your Augie Choice?

I used Augie Choice to do my internship at Katalon in Vietnam in the spring term of my junior year.

What will you miss the most?

My college experience. I'll definitely miss every moment studying in classes with my professors and going to their office hours. I’ll miss every weekend and special occasions when I spent time with my friends. I’ll miss every minute running to work right after classes, also traveling to different states during winter or spring break.

Advice for the Class of 2026?

Always be yourself. Work hard and smart, and be nice to people. Seize all opportunities (campus activities, networking events, independent projects) while in college as that is the way to develop yourself both professionally and personally.

"What a pleasure it has been for me as a professor to get to know and work with a student like Anh. Not only is Anh a fine student, but a delightful person to have a conversation with. The work she did in her Senior Inquiry class was exemplary. Anh approached me about an independent study project she was excited about. Given the help she gave me on my project, it was a win-win experience for both of us. I wish Anh great happiness in the journey ahead of her."

– Dr. Ann Ericson, professor and co-chair, business administration