I was born in Bavi, a mountainous area in northern Vietnam where the living conditions were below a subsistence level. Since my early age, my mother had instilled in me an interest in mathematics and science through stories about my uncles who obtained sound careers and decent livings through hard work and academic achievements. As a child, I was always looking forward to visit my uncles’ families in Hanoi to enjoy a very different living standard, delicious meals and appealing entertainments. The experience did not give me jealousy but rather an inspiration to be academically successful to obtain such privileges one day.
With strong passion for mathematics, I studied hard to pass the entrance exam to my secondary school which is reputable for math education and achieved some high prizes (including three first prizes) in mathematics competition. These initial achievements motivated me to keep pursuing my interest in maths and science. My efforts were compensated when I successfully won a seat to High School for Gifted Students - one of the most famous high school in Vietnam and the cradle of a lot of renown scientists in maths, physics, chemistry. Along with academic study set as the top priority, I also actively joined extracurriluar and voluntary activities through which I equipped my self with essential soft skills. In particular, via career-oriented workshops and talk shows, I got valuable chances to talk with alumni of my high school who came to share with the younger generations their stories of success in various areas, especially in banking and finance. They all, in one way or another, successfully applied their logical and analytical capability to the study of economics at university and higher level to build up a sound career as well as contribute to the development of the economy. Such stories inspired me to pursue a bachelor degree in banking and finance rather than become a scientist.
At university, I studied a number of interesting subjects relating to mathematics, economics and finance. With strong background in mathematics and IT, together with a scientific and effective learning methods, I achieved high mark in almost academic subjects, especially in advanced mathematics, micro- and macro-economics, financial analysis financial accounting (A grade equivalent). I graduated with a high distinction bachelor degree (GPA 9.02 out of 10) and honoured as one of top five graduates of my university.
Among academic subjects, I found a great interest in Securities Market and Stock Analysis and Investment. I was taught about the establishment, operation of stock market, trading principles and equipped with valuable knowledge to become an investor in the stock market - which was a very fresh and appealing market in Vietnam at that time. I was alo exposed to bonds market and derivatives and immediately found interested in these debt securities. The enthusiam impulsed me to dig deeper in this field. I decided to initiate a project for the translation of a well-known book on bonds namely Bond Markets, Analysis and Strategies written by Frank J. Fabozzi. The project received the encouragement and sponsorship from professor Le Trung Thanh, former Vice Dean of Securities Market Falcuty. The translation of this highly academic book was really painstaking and far from easy as we had to deal with a lot of unheard-of technical terms. With great efforts, I and other other ten teammates finally completed the translation work within four months and the translation received commendation from our professor. This experience not only provided me with numerous valuable knowledge but also cultivated a desire for further study in foreign country with advanced financial market like UK.
After graduate, I came to work as a compliance specialist under Legal, Compliance and Control Department of Citibank N.A, Vietnam. The nature of work gave me exposure to numerious aspects of banking operation, ranging from back