George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

Undaunted Alumnus from Vietnam Advances in World of Finance

Written by Greg Johnson on .

Tien 200x250Tien (Tim) Huynh, BS Finance ’16, has never been one to back down from a challenge. At the age of 17, he made the journey alone to a nation he barely knew. Educated at a high school for gifted students in Saigon, Vietnam, he was fortunate to be accepted into a competitive student exchange program in the United States. “It was basically like a lottery system,” he says, “I had no idea where I would be heading.” The school that selected Huynh was in Akron, Ohio. With the wind at his back, he packed his necessities and headed to the other side of the world to live with a host family and attend his new high school. More than a decade later, Huynh is prospering as an assistant vice president portfolio manager at Capital Bank.

Huynh learned English in Vietnam, but it was significantly different hearing it constantly spoken by natives. Fortunately, his host family and high school staff were immensely supportive of his transition to American life. “I was able to pick up the language quickly thanks to my host family correcting me whenever I misspoke,” he says. Not only that, but it only took about five or six months before he was feeling comfortable in his new environment. After graduating from high school, Northern Virginia became the natural destination to advance Huynh’s education since that is also where his uncle lived—his lone stateside relative. Living with his uncle, he was able to save money on room and board. To further save money and hone his skills, Huynh first studied for a few years at Northern Virginia Community College before enrolling at George Mason University.

Mason’s School of Business became a place where Huynh made tight-knit friendships, especially within his finance major. Additionally, he was able to network quite a bit professionally. “There were a lot of career fairs, and I would attend as many as I could,” Huynh says. He credits a finance professor with helping him land a job at EagleBank during their new emerging partnership with the university. But meeting one of their employees at a Mason networking event enabled him to ultimately obtain that position. If he was bold in coming to America alone as a teenager, he certainly was not going to back down from approaching potential employers. Huynh was determined to better himself and to accomplish results.

Now at Capital Bank, Huynh has continued to elevate his game for the benefit of his clients. In his position as assistant vice president portfolio manager, he establishes and maintains lending relationships with businesses dealing in manufacturing, construction, and other industries. The experiences in adapting to a new culture forged his unshakable confidence—a significant asset when presenting his recommendations to clients. Repeatedly putting himself in arduous and sometimes daunting situations has put him in a position to thrive when the stakes are mounting.

Tien Huynh’s mindset has driven him toward his desired destination throughout his young career, yet his determination yields unseen future potential. It has taken him from Vietnam to Ohio to Mason and beyond. “My advice to current students is to work extra hard, go network, apply for internships, keep an open mind, and keep calling people until you make that connection,” he says. “Finance has a lot of career paths, and you can quickly become established in a great career after just a few years.” From his own experiences, Huynh understands that intelligence and talent are just part of the equation. Now nearing completion of his MBA, his growth is ongoing and due mainly to his can-do attitude to keep pushing and striving for success. That attitude and outlook make him a model to students, regardless of origination or cultural heritage.