Few words can capture the breadth of experiences for the talented international postgraduate, Minh Bui.
Graduate job in Singapore. Doughnut chain founder at 25. Harvard MBA graduate at 28. Describing himself as an "entrepreneur with passion for social impact and creativity", the incredible mosaic of Minh’s career has led him to become founder and current CEO of Beta Group Vietnam; a multi-armed national corporation that includes affordable serviced apartments for young professionals, a national cinema chain, and a business education arm.
Hailing from Vietnam, Minh was fortunate to pursue a Bachelor of Economics through to an AusAID scholarship with the Australian government. Studying at the University of Sydney presented a wealth of new opportunities to not only grow academically, but personally as well.
The moment I saw pictures of the University of Sydney, I knew I wanted to study there.
“I had long hoped to study overseas from a young age, so this opportunity from the Australian Government was really a dream come true,” he says. “Before coming to Australia, I had never traveled outside of Vietnam. Simply being on campus was a life changing experience — and to be honest, I was quite overwhelmed at first. However, it didn’t take long before a sense of excitement and pride took over, and I embarked on a journey of growth that has continued to this day.”
Determined to make the most of his time with the historic institution, Minh took on three majors during his studies – finance, agricultural economics, and of course, economics. He graduated in 2006 with First Class honours.
“I met so many amazing friends from all over the world that made my time at the University of Sydney unforgettable,” he reminisces.
Over the course of our studies, we did many group projects that allowed us to connect and share our diverse backgrounds and experiences. Some of those friends remain good friends until now.
Indeed, the opportunities offered through the Economics program not only provided Minh with unique professional experiences but memories to last. An excursion trip touring Australian farmlands allowed his cohort to meet locals and study the economic activities of Australian agriculture.
“I still vividly remember those days,” he says. “The memories I’ve kept from this time are truly magical.”
For Minh, it was after graduating from Sydney that everything began to fall into place.
“My career has been everything I’ve ever wanted and more,” he shares. “I got a job in Singapore in Commodity Trading thanks to the University of Sydney’s Alumni Network. I spent two years in Singapore before returning to Vietnam where I began my career as an entrepreneur. I founded a chain of donut shops called Doco Donuts, and after three years sold it to pursue my MBA at Harvard Business School.”
Since completing his MBA in 2014, Minh went on to found Beta Group, where much of his days are spent overseeing a growing multi-faceted corporation in media (Beta Cinemas), proptech (Aplus, offering Vietnam’s young professionals access to affordable shared housing), and education (CBI, management courses in partnership with Harvard).
Ever the busy and creative personality, he is also a singer-songwriter, not to mention a budding actor and film producer to boot.
“I have a hit anthem called ‘Viet Nam Oi’ that many Vietnamese people love and play during major sporting events,” Minh says. “Sharing my music and seeing it so widely received brings me great joy. I also act and produce films, but admittedly I’m still improving my skills in that area.”
Based in the lively and resilient Ho Chi Minh City, Minh explains it’s a place where “a sense of excitement and energy is ever-present.”
“COVID has changed our daily lives quite a bit, but we remain hopeful,” he says thoughtfully. “I try to spend time for myself every day, reflecting and calibrating my mind so I can take on each challenge in the right way.”
I strive every day to grow, and I believe that even trying times make us stronger. I’m optimistic about the future and can’t wait to embrace what will unfold.
When asked what makes the university a unique institution to pursue a degree, Minh doesn’t hesitate.
“I strongly recommend studying at the University of Sydney. It’s such a wonderful institution with an amazing community and robust academic programs,” he says. “And I know I’ve said it before, but the campus is truly breathtaking.”
What I learned over the course of my studies helped me to think critically about important ideas and make cross disciplinary connections that have proven invaluable to my career as an entrepreneur.
Indeed, the intrepid entrepreneur made time to revisit the campus when visiting Australia a few years ago.
“All the memories came flooding back. To this day, I have a strong sense of attachment to the university and will always hold it dear,” he says. “Sydney is a great city too. I’ve since lived and travelled around the world, and yet Sydney is still among my favorite places to be. I am lucky to have spent such a meaningful part of my life in such a vibrant and multicultural city.”
Words by Margaret Tran.