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MIU student Phuong Nguyen was among the five finalists who pitched their business ideas to a panel of entrepreneur judges during MIU’s second Changemakers Shark Tank-like event in June. Phuong’s idea for a nail salon management app was awarded second place.
Phuong grew up in a small town in the south of Vietnam. When her brother brought home a computer one day, Phuong became interested in programming. She started learning about programming in sixth grade and studied computer science at university.
She joined MIU’s Computer Professionals Program in early 2020, drawn by the program’s offer of affordable initial payment, paid internship experience in the US, and one course at a time curriculum.
Phuong has also learned to appreciate the Transcendental Meditation® technique. “Before I applied, I thought that meditation was a religious practice,” she said. “Little did I know that meditation has nothing to do with religion. It helps me manage stress and I am more positive and happy. I am able to think more clearly and be more productive with my time.”
Prior to arriving at MIU, Phuong visited some Vietnamese friends in California who own nail salons. She observed how they ran their businesses and realized they were managing their operations manually. She decided to develop an app that can serve the unique needs of these businesses. Seventy percent of nail salons around the globe are operated by Vietnamese, but Phuong is making her application available in English as well for other users.
She is currently having her app tested by some of her friends before launching the product and plans to devote a portion of her profits to start a foundation for the education of Vietnamese students in need.
In her free time, Phuong likes to improve her English and make videos for her Vietnamese friends about her life in the US while teaching them English phrases she has learned.