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Washington State University
Carson College of Business Fall 2017 - Dividend

From Saigon to Puget Sound

Quan Vu is Setting Goals for his American Dream
Story and photo by Randy Bolerjack
Quan Vu, photo by Randy Bolerjack

At 14 years old, Quan Vu made the pitch to his parents to move from Saigon, Vietnam, to America. “At first, my family didn’t really want to move. I really wanted to come to America.”

His grandparents had already moved to Shoreline, so he had a place to land before starting high school. So he moved, before his parents or either of his siblings.

“It was a hard process,” Vu says. He faced many challenges, from communication and making friends to other cultural gaps.


After graduating from high school, he attended Shoreline Community College, where he earned his associate’s degree. At the time, he did not know what was next for him. By then his parents had moved to America as well, and after a year off and some experience at his family’s new restaurant, he knew he wanted to pursue a degree in hospitality business management. The best fit for him was the Carson College of Business program at WSU’s newest location in Everett.

“For hospitality, other universities didn’t offer much. I went online and searched for the best hospitality program in the state, and it was Washington State University,” Vu says. “The convenience of the Everett campus was important. I already had a job here at Tulalip Resort Casino and was the assistant manager at Pho 36 in Lynnwood.”

Vu says he is a very practical person, and the program at WSU made practical sense for his goals. “My classes at WSU Everett are really relevant to what I’m doing and what I want to do,” says Vu. “This program also gave me opportunities to meet with industry professionals. The classes are an extended experience and provide deeper understanding into real-world hospitality situations.”

“The best part of being a Coug in hospitality is the people you meet and the experiences you get at such a variety of venues,” he says. “My friends at other universities have not had the same experiences.”

The program also provided the right balance given his growing career. “WSU’s hospitality program left a lot of room for me to both work and study at the same time, and both are very important,” Vu says.


Being practical, Vu does not think in terms of creating his dream, but rather prefers to set goals for himself. They include going back to Vietnam to build and invest in businesses that promote art of different kinds. They also include building a franchise of restaurants here based on different soup recipes.

“People’s dreams reflect differences. In Vietnam, many people focused on getting a job to survive. In America, people want to do what they love and make a career. Here that is much more crucial in living one’s life,” says Vu.

With his degree in hand, he now has the opportunity to pursue those goals.