When first-year student Nhu Bui entered the Haslam College of Business this academic year, she stepped onto familiar ground. As a junior in high school, Bui attended Business Education for Talented Students (BETS), a summer program hosted by the Haslam Office of Diversity and Community Relations. BETS is designed to introduce underrepresented high schoolers to the field of business and business-related careers.
“I learned about the University of Tennessee and Haslam through BETS,” says Bui. “Business wasn’t on my radar before attending the program, but afterward I thought, ‘This is for me.’”
During BETS, Bui engaged in college readiness workshops, learned from industry professionals, attended workshops taught by Haslam faculty and presented a team project. When the time came to apply for college, Bui recalled her BETS experience and chose UT and Haslam.
“After BETS, UT was at the top of my list,” says Bui.
Entering college as a first-generation student, the experience with BETS provided familiarity and knowledge that Bui needed to confidently begin her college career. She also started the Haslam TakeOff program, which is designed to give first-generation students targeted guidance as they transition to the university and Haslam.
TakeOff provides participants with a smaller cohort and built-in peer mentors. Students also participate in professional development workshops, seminars and onsite visits to local companies. These opportunities introduced Bui to other programs in Haslam, such as Major Fridays, where Bui gathered information to help choose her major and minor.
“You never know who you will meet and what opportunities you will have at Haslam,” Bui says.
Because a of her involvement in TakeOff, Bui has been encouraged to become more involved on campus, joining clubs like the Asian American Association and choosing to apply to the Greg & Lisa Smith Global Leadership Scholars, the Haslam honors program.
“TakeOff really tries to push me to be my best and to challenge me,” she says.
One of her favorite gains from the program is connections, both professional and personal.
“I met my first college best friend through TakeOff,” says Bui. “Having that connection has been so important.”
As she begins her second semester, Bui looks forward to learning more about her major, business analytics, and exploring accounting as a minor. She knows that as she navigates this, she can lean on bonds formed in BETS and the community created in TakeOff.
“As a first-generation student, it’s nice to know that there are others in Haslam that share the experiences I’m having and that we have such a supportive college and faculty to help us,” Bui says.