When Anh-Dao Do was considering universities after high school, she knew she wanted to be close to her hometown of Kansas City, Kansas, be able to get involved on campus and eventually go to medical school to become a plastic surgeon.
In 2018, Do came to the School of Business the summer before her senior year of high school for its Summer Venture in Business (SVB) program. She wanted to explore all her options before committing to her original pre-med track when she came to KU for her freshman year. As the workshops and sessions went on in the program, she realized she wanted to go down a path that would give her a more hands-on education.
SVB is a pre-college summer program for high school students interested in business to experience college life inside and outside of the classroom. Open to underrepresented students and/or potential first-generation college students, SVB gives students hands-on and real-world opportunities in business.
“I’m very much the person that likes working and applying things in a lab setting and working with my hands,” Do said. “I played the piano my entire childhood and have great hand-eye coordination that led me to love working with my hands. I wasn’t sure if studying business would give me those hands-on experiences I thought I needed to reach my dream of becoming a plastic surgeon.”
While the business classes didn’t directly appeal to Do in those moments, she got a lot out of the activities the program offered, like the fine dining experience, guest speakers and industry tours. The resources offered by SVB would come into play after graduation.
Do graduated from KU in three years with her bachelor’s in chemistry. She got involved with numerous student organizations, was an Evans Scholar and now is a graduate resident advisor for the program, and worked with the First Tee of Greater Kansas City youth program.
Even though she finished her degree in three years, she felt she was missing something. She took an ethics class within the health care system that led her to understand how business and medicine go hand-in-hand and that maybe she should consider continuing her education.
“I didn’t feel satisfied after graduation,” Do said. “Something was missing. I enjoyed being in class and participating in discussions. I wanted another year on campus and thought that there was still something here for me.”
Deciding on pursuing an MBA wasn’t much of a second thought for Do. Her father is an engineer, and her mother works in IT, and both received their MBAs. They explained to Do how their MBAs helped them in their respective careers.
“Aside from helping people, medicine is a business,” Do said. “As a doctor, you have to think about the best medical devices to get at a reasonable price and other practical decisions you have to make on the job. It made me think back to Summer Venture and consider getting an MBA. It’s not just about the business side of STEM that I can apply my education to.”
Do is now a first-year student in the full-time MBA program. She calls back on many of the things she learned during SVB and how she can apply them to her time in the MBA program. Though she was initially nervous to venture into a program completely different from chemistry, she had the resources she could fall back on as she transitioned into the School of Business.
“I love how inviting the School of Business is,” Do said. “The social events, the career fairs and resources don’t compare to other programs. I didn’t feel as prepared during my time as an undergrad as I do now. A big part of college is networking and building your support group. Coming to the school, I’ve been able to get involved and meet so many new people. It’s my new home.”
Life after graduation is a big question for Do. She still wants to go to medical school, but now, she’s exploring the different paths in which her degrees can take her. One idea she’s considering is a career in biotech where she can build her professional experience. For now, Do wants to be her own person and see what’s out there for her.
“I ask myself every day what I want to do,” she said. “Summer Venture got my feet through the door. Now I get to see all these new things, learn about these different companies I’ve never heard of and think about all the possibilities.”