Alumni Spotlight: Keith Nguyen

Meet Keith, a recent graduate of our MPA program! When we asked him a little about himself, Keith said:

“I’ve spent half of my life in a country other than the US. Just like in Father Jacob’s ethics class, some things are universal, and some things are relative.”

Very fitting for our program! We asked Keith a  few questions about life post-graduation as well as his Villanova MPA experience.

1) You just graduated in May – congratulations! How do you think your time with the Villanova MPA program has/will continue to help you in your career?

First of all, graduation was amazing. Hats off to all of you for making it such a memorable event for us, particularly the online students, so thank you all! And a sincere congratulations to all of the recent graduates as well. Such a significant achievement in life; one that’s both professionally and personally rewarding. I’m very grateful for my time in the program because it has really broadened my perspective, both in the practical sense of employment prospects, and in the noblest sense of perpetual learning for the sake of knowledge. Curriculum wise, I think the program has done a terrific job in equipping all of us with the requisite tools for both the science of management and the art of leadership, which is so critical for success in today’s intertwined global economy. There’s also a third lesson that the program has taught me, which is often understated but equally salient as the previous two, and that is humility. I’m incredibly humbled by the opportunity to start and finish the program (most folks don’t get a chance at higher education, and the problem is even more pronounced in developing countries), by the recognition that there is a great deal that I don’t know, and by the deep appreciation for being able to work in the public sector where one doesn’t build products, but livelihoods.

2) What do you think is the most valuable aspect of Villanova’s MPA program?

As is with any institution, the most valuable part is always its people. I think the program has top notch faculty and supporting staff (to include the unsung IT heroes), most of whom I’ve had the wonderful pleasure of connecting with at the Pi Alpha Alpha induction and graduation, and incredible students from all over in terms of geographical locations and academic disciplines. I’m definitely proud to call myself a Wildcat and I hope to run into everyone again down the road in some form or fashion. Oh, and look out for those LinkedIn and Facebook requests; they are coming your way 🙂

3) What’s next for you in your career? Do you have any specific future career aspirations?

This question actually caught me and my family at a very critical time in my professional career in terms of decisions. Currently, I am serving as an Army Foreign Intelligence Watch Officer at the Pentagon, and my wife just bought a private dental practice here in Northern Virginia. I still have about a year left on station, at which point I have a couple of options: if the Army allows it, attend the National Defense University for an MS in Strategic Intelligence and get assignment somewhere in the Intelligence Community, or depart from active duty altogether and use the GI Bill to attend either a PhD or JD program. Pretty divergent career paths so it will be interesting to see how the chips fall.

4) That’s incredible, best of luck! Last question – what is your favorite thing about the Nova Nation?

My favorite thing about the Nova Nation happened in about 4.7 seconds. No, it’s not my walk across the stage, but Kris Jenkins’s magnificent walk across half court to deliver the game winning shot haha. Joking aside, I absolutely loved the connections I made with all of the professors and my peers throughout the last two years, and I am looking forward to reconnecting with everyone again at various functions.

Keith Nguyen

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