Taking a road less travelled to the MBA

Taking a road less travelled to the MBA

Scholarship recipient Cassandra (Son Tra) Orion details her journey from Arts School and corporate life in America to choosing to reconnect with her heritage and relocate her family to Vietnam. Read the full article of her inspirational journey!

When talking about those who take the road less travelled to begin an MBA degree, it is hard to find a more prominent example than that of current MBA student Cassandra (Son Tra) Orion. 

Having graduated from the Parsons School of Design in 2004, Mrs. Orion confides that before RMIT, her largest lecture would have been a class of twenty people taking Art History as an elective. “My college experience was drawing and painting, so this is my first time sitting in lecturers and writing academic papers,” she states

Mrs. Orion spent 17 years working for a number of top agencies and creative companies in The United States including Moxie, Rockstar Games, The Famous Group and Twitch, with roles ranging from Senior Art Director, Associate Creative Director, Creative Strategy Lead to Senior Vice President, Youth Culture.

Throughout her working experience, Mrs Orion has kept one over-arching interest, and that is the investment in youth and youth culture. “I think young people are universally underestimated, even amongst themselves.  Youth are so well equipped, such as with natural communications instincts, social media savvy and media literacy. Today’s youth have an instinct for trends and for how certain events may or may not shake out. It’s a normal story, told across generations, that when we are young, we place an over-emphasis on experience, which leads to a lack of working opportunities.” 

Cassandra (Son Tra) Orion, MBA student at RMIT Vietnam Cassandra (Son Tra) Orion, MBA student at RMIT Vietnam

For someone whose professional life was so dedicated to empowering the dreams of the younger generation, it is somewhat ironic that Mrs. Orion chose to leave the corporate life and follow her own – one that she had when she was just 14 years old. She states: “when I was 14, I wanted to somehow move back to Vietnam and hopefully create some sort of social enterprise – anything I could do to give back to the country. Now as a parent, not only do I want to be closer to my heritage, but I also want my daughter to be close to hers as well.”

Unlike many people who move due to a career opportunity, Mrs. Orion’s family work in a slightly opposite manner. They choose a destination based on the lifestyle they are looking to have, and then search for the things they can do there. This is how Mrs. Orion discovered RMIT. 

Although she had the plan from a young age, Mrs. Orion did not take going back to school lightly. “My focus was to first be extremely clear to myself why I wanted to return to education. In my scholarship application, I was deeply introspective. I felt that although I learned a lot from corporate life, I also felt siloed. There was just a lot I didn't know about running a business. At the end of the day, that is where the MBA comes in. It is a structured way to fill in the gaps of my personal knowledge.” 

Mrs. Orion noted that she chose RMIT as “a lot of the values of the school align with my own values and vision. RMIT is a global institution and since I grew up as an overseas Vietnamese, I have always felt I sat between two cultures. If you look at the ways the majors are structured and how lectures are put together, RMIT is highly forward thinking. It’s authentically global.” 

You too can transform your knowledge – check out what RMIT’s MBA can do for you!


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