Dat Tien Dinh is an undergraduate student at IE University, currently on course to start his third year. He is pursuing a Bachelor in Business Administration degree with a focus on Finance. Originally from Vietnam, he chose to join IE University because of its academic prestige, a full-ride scholarship, the dynamic Spanish lifestyle, and the chance to connect with peers and professionals from all walks of life. This social entrepreneur is the co-founder and CFO of an ed-tech startup. He has recently joined the Deloitte Passport 2022 Program in Vietnam as a finance advisory intern.

I first learned about this internship opportunity from the official Deloitte career website. I applied hoping to put the knowledge that I’ve learned at IE University into practice while also bolstering my financial skill set even further. 

The application process was quite extensive and involved resume screening and a financial analysis presentation of a retailing company in Vietnam. Not only did the one-hour interview challenge my financial knowledge, but also my presentation skills—which I got to hone during my studies at IE University. 

I believe that my entrepreneurial background in ed-tech also played a major role in helping me land this internship opportunity. Right now, I am the co-founder and chief financial officer of VSPACE Education: a startup that provides college preparation consultancy and develops various ed-tech products. Along with a team of 30 people, we empower Vietnamese talent to study abroad. 

We have mentored over 200 students so far, helping them improve their English while building a network of nearly 1,000 participating universities. The leadership and management skills I gained through the Bachelor in Business Administration have helped significantly in creating these partnerships. We have also excelled in different business competitions which, while exciting, have put our mental stamina to the test. 

My second year at IE University was one of the most challenging yet rewarding years of my life. Not only was I responsible for my school work, but also for running and operating VSPACE. Furthermore, I began trying for summer internship opportunities during this time. However, more than 80% of the applications I sent in were rejected. 

This was a difficult time for me. Sometimes, I felt unsure of what I was trying to accomplish. But, I had to change my approach eventually and started to learn from my mistakes. Instead of blaming external factors, I needed to recognize my unique strengths and weaknesses. Reaching out to my mentors also provided invaluable guidance. 

In this regard, the support I received from IE University—especially the Talent & Careers department— carried me through this tough period. They provided exposure to stock pitch contests and real estate competitions, as well as the CSR writing contest held by the university. Thanks to these opportunities, I have sharpened my critical and cognitive thinking skills significantly.

With that said, I would like to thank the Talent & Careers team for offering students so many wonderful services, including resume help and cover letter training. The finance webinars and networking events organized through various clubs at IE University were also quite beneficial—the restructuring session held with BCG Partners is of particular note. I feel like I’ve truly grown up and become more of an expert in the financial industry.

In retrospect, my story reminds me of how platforms like LinkedIn often only show the rosy side of achievement, rather than the struggles and failures that every professional experiences. This well-crafted curated depiction of success used to stress me out during my internship search, making me feel as though I was lagging behind my peers. 

Realizing this, I promised myself that I’ll share my journey regardless of the outcome. My ultimate hope is to empower others who are, or will be, in a similar situation someday seeking internships. Remember that things will always work out. That’s why I’m grateful for this opportunity to participate in the Deloitte Passport 2022 Program as the finance advisory intern.

Here’s some advice to students who would like to apply for this internship: focus on learning. Having a strong academic performance is vital, especially in the courses applicable to this position. Moreover, motivated applicants should self-study and go the extra mile to master the necessary skills. This way, they arrive at interviews feeling more confident and prepared.  

I also recommend asking a mentor to proofread your resume and cover letter. In addition, connect with professionals working at your desired company to gain important insights. Finally, I suggest summoning up all of your courage to take risks in order to achieve your goals. In the end, hard work defines who we are. Never stop believing in yourself and investing in what matters for your growth. 

Dat Tien Dinh