A Starbucks Partner Pursues His Passion for Business Leadership

April 27, 2022

Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable Spring 2022 graduates.

Starbucks shaped nearly every aspect of Darton Nguyen’s college career.

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Like all students of Starbucks College Success Plan, Nguyen received 100% tuition coverage to earn his bachelor’s degree online at Arizona State University. But even beyond that, it was in his work as a shift supervisor that he discovered the natural leadership skills that would later shape his choice of degree.

“I was leading my team at the age of 18 as the youngest at the time and I realized that I had an innate sense of leadership,” Nguyen said.

This passion for leadership quickly led to an interest in business and a strong desire to grow as a manager.

“It made me want to explore other facets and avenues of business administration,” Nguyen said. “What other management methods could I learn and implement in my workplace or to better improve my skills? »

So when Nguyen, a Houston native, was transferred to U.S.S. online in August 2019, it was an obvious choice to pursue studies in company with a concentration in business administration from the WP Carey School of Business.

“ASU not only ranks first in most innovative schools, but also in online undergraduate business programs in US News & World Report,” Nguyen said. “Although Starbucks is in partnership with ASU through the Starbucks College Achievement Plan and I can attend because of it, ASU’s reputation far precedes it.”

Nguyen graduated from ASU this spring and shared more about his college experience below.

Question: What accomplishment are you most proud of as an ASU Online student?

To respond: The proudest thing I’ve accomplished as an ASU Online student is challenging myself to reach greater heights. Between working full time, listening to hours of class, balancing a social life with tons of homework, and of course, graduating summa cum laude, nothing makes my smile harder than seeing my efforts in my personal life and academic materialize.

Q: What did you learn at ASU — in class or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: As someone used to in-person lectures, it was certainly difficult to understand the e-learning aspect. It certainly taught me about time management and that there were a multitude of students undertaking this rigorous but ultimately rewarding process with me.

Q: Which teacher taught you the most important lesson at ASU?

A: I may be a little partial to the lecturer Konstandinos Voutsas because I had the privilege of taking two of his courses – Negotiations and Leading Organizations – but his lessons stood out to me the most and proved to be the most applicable in my daily work. From effectively compromising with a client to supporting my team, those moments have all been enhanced with the knowledge I gained from enrolling in his classes.

Q: What is the best advice you would give to those still in school?

A: The best advice I can give to someone still in school is to never stop believing in yourself. I never thought I would find myself in the predicament of spending a few extra years to graduate, but I look back and realize that the path I took was just different from everyone else. . I paved my own unique road to reach the same destination. No matter how long and under what circumstances it took, I continued to believe in myself.

Don’t be discouraged from dreaming big and finding what excites you. Your journey is made for you to walk, despite obstacles or opposition. The difficulties you face today will be your strengths tomorrow.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: I am delighted to announce that I have indeed accepted a position in the area of ​​benefits and compensation with Toshiba Corporation and will start working after graduation. Additionally, I hope to gain in-depth knowledge of the human resources world and will seek certification from the Human Resource Certification Institute or the Society for Human Resources Management.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve a problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: Personally, I would like to address the issue of food waste and hunger, especially in America. Learning that food is taking up more space in landfills than anything else while millions go hungry is extremely disturbing. While $40 million is a lot of money, 40 million tons of food is also what gets thrown away every year. This money should be invested in supporting those who do not have food, controlling waste and essentially preventing food starvation.

By Stephanie Morse, mContent Marketing Specialist, EdPlus at Arizona State University