Davis Nguyen is the founder of My Consulting Offer, a top program that helps people land their dream jobs in management consulting. Davis was raised by a single mother who didn’t finish elementary school in one of the most impoverished communities in the United States before graduating from Yale University and starting a career at Bain & Company.
Davis started My Consulting Offer as a weekend side-business in 2017 and, within a year, grew it into a six-figure side business without spending money on marketing. After becoming a full-time entrepreneur in 2018, Davis has helped over 500 people launch careers in consulting, grown his business to seven figures, and was featured at TEDx.
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Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Davis Nguyen: I am the founder of My Consulting Offer, a top program that helps people land their dream jobs in management consulting. My business has helped over 500 people launch careers in consulting.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Davis Nguyen: When I was a kid, I actually did want to become an entrepreneur. Even though I didn’t know what ‘CEO’ meant, I did know that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. My grandma actually encouraged my cousins and I to be business owners — when I was growing up, my grandma was one of my caretakers. My grandma was an entrepreneur who never finished high school. When she was growing up during the Vietnam War, she didn’t have a chance to complete her education.
Her family members were farmers, and when she was finally able to get a job, she worked as an administrative assistant for the Vietnamese government during the war before escaping Vietnam to come to the United States with her family. She left with her family of five with just $200 and no education, no formal English training, nothing.
So she moved to this new country and started working in two places: first, as a cleaning lady who cleaned up houses and second, at the airport on luggage duty, even though she was a tiny woman. She always saved up money and eventually opened up her own nail salon in Atlanta where we grew up. She became one of the first people in the local Vietnamese community to own their own property.
When my grandma was younger, her dream was to own her own business. At the time, she thought it was going to be a clothing business of some sort. However, because of the Vietnam War, she didn’t have a chance to do that. She had the chance to become an entrepreneur when she came to the United States. That’s why when I was growing up, my grandma always said, ‘You know, other Asian parents always want their kids to be doctors, engineers, lawyers, and accountants, but I want you to do whatever you want even if it is starting your own business — you get to create jobs for people instead of relying on someone else to give you a job.’
That is what inspired me. My grandma said, ‘You should be an entrepreneur. You get to create jobs for people and you get to be your own boss.’ My grandma supported my ambitions to become a business owner. However, not everyone should be an entrepreneur just because my grandma had this vision. There’s nothing wrong with working for another company, especially one that you really enjoy working for, where you feel like you’re learning and progressing.
So how I got here from where I was was that my grandma always encouraged me to become an entrepreneur. I was very entrepreneurial from the time I was small. I sold candy when I was in elementary school, traded Yu-Gi-Oh! cards on eBay when I was in middle school, and learned how to sell more stuff on eBay in high school. In college, I learned how to play poker and started various side businesses. This led to me eventually starting my current company, My Consulting Offer.
There was also a time when I worked for Bain & Company as a management consultant. I also worked at a startup company, because I wanted to learn what it meant to be a successful entrepreneur. Bain was renowned for creating a lot of entrepreneurial leaders and CEOs. The startup I worked for was started by three entrepreneurs who had successfully started their own companies prior. I wanted to learn everything I could from them so that I would have the knowledge to become an entrepreneur myself.
Where I am today, running My Consulting Offer as the CEO and founder, really all started with my grandma believing in me and teaching me that it was okay to be an entrepreneur. Even though other parents wanted their kids to be doctors, lawyers, engineers, or accountants, my grandma was okay with me being an entrepreneur and being my own boss.
Of course, she loves all of her grandkids, and I am the only one who is an entrepreneur. All of the others are in the medical field, or engineers. My grandma loves all of us.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Davis Nguyen: For most of my life, I was mostly reserved and to myself. When I entered high school, I started learning magic tricks as a way to break the ice. From the ages of 15 until 22 when I graduated from college, I carried a deck of cards with me to have as an icebreaker when I wanted to talk to someone I’ve never met before, break myself into a group, or say ‘hi’ to someone I found attractive. Today, I just do magic tricks for fun, but before it was my way to overcome my social anxiety
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Davis Nguyen: I define an entrepreneur as someone who sees that there is something missing in the world and works to fill that missing gap. It could be a solution to a problem, or it could be starting a gas station in a corner that doesn’t have one.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Davis Nguyen: Understanding the importance of a supportive and inclusive culture can be understood by knowing what happens when you don’t have one.
When an organization’s culture isn’t supportive, you have team members working only for their own individual goals even if it hurts others at the company or the company as a whole. This can be, for example, teams taking away time and resources from other departments, even if the same resources could have been used on more higher priority initiatives. For example, having the best salesperson sell the lowest-priced product because that product belongs with a certain team when that same salesperson could have been selling a higher-priced and higher-margin product, which would have benefited the company more.
When an organization’s culture isn’t inclusive, you get a small group (or even one person) making most of the decisions without input from others and understanding the side-effects. For example, this can be a CTO who decides to make a change to the software architect without consulting others, which causes the site to crash entirely. Overtime, when people feel they aren’t included, especially those who are the highest performers, you get large turnover percentages so the only people who are left are those who are there to just check a paycheck or those willing to say ‘yes’ to every idea brought on by the person in charge.
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Davis Nguyen: A lot has changed in the post-COVID world and assumptions we made before COVID, such as thinking that work needs to be in an office or an entire team needs to be in the same time zone, were shattered. This leaves an opportunity to create the ‘new normal’ for work and there are so many opportunities for leaders to innovate and test out new ideas and concepts similar to when trains were first built or when the internet was first made available.
If a 5 year old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Davis Nguyen: I would tell them that I help create jobs for people.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Davis Nguyen: In 2019, I decided to change our pricing model from having people pay us for our coaching services 100% upfront to giving clients the option to just pay a small amount to enroll and the remainder only after we got them the result they wanted, which is a job offer in consulting. We give our clients the case interview practice they need to secure a job offer, and then we are paid the outstanding amount. At first, I lost sleep over this decision because overnight, I changed our business from profit on the first payment to our profits being dependent on the results.
However, because I believed our coaching program achieved results, I knew we would get the results for those who work with us. It was a ‘success-based’ pricing model where all of our clients and team members knew that we cared about their success, because we tie our success to the success of our clients. This helped build trust with future clients and also forced our team to always think about how we could make our clients successful. Because if we don’t, we don’t make a profit. So our incentives are aligned.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Davis Nguyen for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Davis Nguyen or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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