Speaking the Language of Business

Tam Nguyen, president of SIFE

Tam Nguyen, junior business major at Southwestern Adventist University, had never planned to involve herself with activities outside of the classroom.  Now she is the president of SIFE, with a whole new outlook on life.

During Nguyen’s first year of college, she had heard about the club SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise).  Even though she was an international relations major, she was not interested in being involved.  Nguyen had chosen to attend Southwestern because she wanted to spend time with her sister, who is in the nursing program.  There was nothing in her plan that involved extra-curricular activities. She wanted to focus completely on her schoolwork.

It didn’t take long for Nguyen to realize that as a business student, it would be a good idea for her to get involved with SIFE.  There was no dramatic turning point, just a silent decision to do something different.

The SIFE team practices business skills and applications.  Nguyen’s involvement with SIFE will help her to be prepared for a job in business after she graduates.  It could even help her to find a job.

“Being a part of the SIFE team was a great decision,” says Nguyen.  “I got to see real business working.  I saw things as a reality, and better understood how business works.  SIFE became interesting because I could apply my classroom skills right away.

“It taught me that business is more than just money.  We focus on helping the community.  Right now we are working with a school in Cleburne.  We are teaching some of the students how to do business, and how to budget for college.”

As a part of the SIFE team, Nguyen’s studies did not suffer like she feared they would.  Rather, she learned better time management, and to how to use time spent in class more efficiently. Shortly after joining the SIFE team, Nguyen decided to change her major from international relations to accounting.

“In the classroom, someone told me ‘accounting is the language of business.’ I thought that was really cool, and soon afterwards switched majors.  I used to have this big dream of working for a global company.  Now I plan to get my masters in accounting, my C.P.A., and become an auditor.”

Nguyen says that part of the reason she loves studying in the business department is the professors. She says that all the professors have made an impact on her life.  Karen Senecal and Jerry Chi have especially made a difference.

“They are all really open, I can come and just talk!” says Nguyen.

One of the things Nguyen likes best about the campus of Southwestern Adventist University is the Christian atmosphere.  When she first came to Southwestern, she was not an Adventist.  People were really friendly, and outgoing to her, and they made her feel comfortable.   Later, Nguyen attended the class “Christian Beliefs,” where she learned what it really means to be a Christian.  Because of that class, Nguyen decided to get baptized during her sophomore year.

“The people here are really nice, and helpful,” says Nguyen.  “People will pray for you and with you. One of my friends who I met as a freshman used to help me read the Bible.  Now I try to read the Bible more, and more, and want to get to know God better.”



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