BY AMANDA DE LAUZON
“Raise your hand if you have ever been to Vietnam,” said book author, entrepreneur and Sacred Heart University alumnus Andrew Rowan, as he raised his hand to a still audience.
“For the past four years, I have been working in Vietnam programs and activities supported by the governments of Vietnam, the United States, and Finland as well as private sector advocates (local and international investors, entrepreneurs, and developers) to further the development of the enterprise ecosystem,” said Rowan on publishizer.com.
Rowan majored in Business Administration and minored in Political Science at Sacred Heart. He uses the information he learned from his former professors and experiences to follow his passion and now finds himself speaking at the Feb. 5 Human Journey Colloquia “Startup Vietnam”.
“I would say the most important aspect of my experience at SHU was the service learning I did through Habitat for Humanity and C.U.R.T.I.S. week, which stands for community understanding and reflection through inner-city service,” said Rowan “Looking back that made the biggest impression on me.”
Rowan has written the book “Startup Vietnam: Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Socialist Republic” which goes into how Vietnam has a booming new economy and a growth of startup businesses.
“I liked the colloquia because it was about something we don’t normally talk about in school,” said freshman Carly Niemiec. “It is interesting to learn about the businesses, cultures and economies of far-away places.”
So, what makes Vietnam important? Over the past several decades, Vietnam and its economy have rapidly grown. This growth that Rowan followed to Vietnam can guide the way for students to follow in his footsteps.
“Andrew’s experiences shall serve as an inspiration tale for our students who are looking to chart their own path in the world,” said Todd Gibbs, Executive Director of Development and Alumni Engagement. “Andrew didn’t go looking for a job in Vietnam, he followed a passion to learn about a different culture and the emergence or innovational and entrepreneurship in a governmental system and economy much different than ours.”
Students at Sacred Heart have many options to study abroad, but learning that there are also opportunities to travel after college is important.
“I thought the colloquium was interesting because not only was the subject new to me but seeing it was led by a former Sacred Heart student really gave me hope for my future,” said junior Rebecca Lerner. “It’s cool to see how far you can go if you just follow what interests you, no matter what it is.”
“You as students are faced with many of the same questions Andrew was, what should I do? Where should I go? Andrew has the answer: follow your heart,” said Dr. John Kikoski, Rowan’s former teacher.
When it comes to throwing up your graduation cap, leaving Sacred Heart and finding your passion, Rowan has some advice.
“Try not to care what other people think. Have your group of friends, your confidantes that you can bounce things off of and then make a decision,” said Rowan. “Do things that don’t blend in.”