Skye Nguyen is a Sustainability & Design Chevening scholar awarded by the United Kingdom Government. Early on Skye exhibited her entrepreneurial spirit and rebelliousness to the norm by dropping out of a local high school then applying for scholarships overseas. Ever since she has been travelling and living around the world while developing products and strategies that prepare governments, corporations and startups for a more sustainable future.
a little dreamer
childhood in Vietnam
Skye was born a very curious child. She surrounded herself with books, a lot of books since she managed to read. Little Skye was very fond of the “Tell me why” science books and the stories about ancient Egypt. Even as a kid, she was never convinced by the simple life of her hometown, Hanoi. Skye sang the songs of Disney’s female heroes and dreamed about a whole new world: “I want so much more than this provincial life” (Beauty and the Beast) – “When’s it my turn? Wouldn’t I love? Love to explore that shore above?” (Little Mermaid).
learning to fly
college days in South Korea, Singapore & Australia
Skye dropped out of a local high school when the teacher refused to protect her from constant bullying. At the time, dropping out of school was unheard of in Vietnam. However, Skye designed a better plan. She started writing hundreds of letters to Embassies and NGOs asking about scholarships. Many aptitude tests and failed interviews later, Skye received a fellowship to participate in an installation arts short course in South Korea, a scholarship to study A-level (pre-college degree) in Singapore and was admitted to the prestigious Monash law school in Melbourne, Australia in 2008.
the ultimate test
The global financial market crashed in September 2008 and turned Skye’s life upside down in a short month. Although she was working hard on part-time jobs, the majority of Skye’s college tuition was subsidised by her family members whose investments were hard hit by the financial crisis. At the same time, Skye was diagnosed with a tumour and was commanded an immediate operation. She left her dream of being a renowned lawyer behind in 2009, returned to Vietnam, and entered one of the biggest battles of her life – fight for her well-being and reinvent her international life.
building a solid foundation
As soon as Skye recovered from her physical illness, she enrolled herself in the business school at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and took up a half-day job as a stock and bonds trader. Skye worked hard, studied, journaled, strategized and dreamed about the day she could travel the world again. Her carefully documented blog, which turned into a phenomenon with hundreds of thousands of followers, led her to be trusted by the Australian Ambassador to Vietnam to develop ‘Australia in Vietnam’ – the Australian Embassy Vietnam social media platform.
Once graduated, Skye threw herself into different jobs, mainly in corporate communications. She designed and executed corporate communications campaigns for BDO Audits, the world’s 5th largest auditing firm, and TMG, Vietnam’s largest private travel & hospitality group.
Born a bookworm and science lover, Skye has never stopped reading and wondering about the universe, the stars and the sky. She wrote about her fascination with science in an essay to Chevening – a scholarship body governed by the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office and partner organisations. This time around, she received a ticket to London for her fully-funded postgraduate study in Life Sciences (Sustainability, Entrepreneurship and Design).
taking a turn
London & Oxford
Skye arrived in London on 13 September 2015. The next morning she bought herself a Tesla jacket and hoped it would turn her into a superhuman that could move effortlessly from business to science.
In reality, Skye spent her first 6 months in London enduring both winter and her endless frustration in sustainable product design workshops. Determined to make things work, Skye participated in the RSA Student Design Awards, where she designed ‘Mind your money’ – a behavioural finance product that helps students in the UK manage their money better.
Skye was a delegate at the Global Scholar Symposium 2016, took place at the historic Rhodes House, Oxford University, England. During the conference, Skye became fond of the works and career of Professor Susan Hockfield, an American neuroscientist, the first woman and the first life scientist to serve as the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) from December 2004 through June 2012. “Science can be fun” – Skye told herself.
Skye wrote her first science book (her Master dissertation), titled ‘A business plan for Sustainability and Big Data consulting in Vietnam’ on a 3-month trip around Europe.
leaps of faith
life outside the comfort zone
In November 2016, Skye returned to Vietnam and joined Prince William in the “End Wildlife Crime” campaign.
Her initial plan was to rest her suitcase for a while. However, 13 hours after her plane landed, Skye joined Remote Year, a badass and truly one of its kind start up that “brings together communities of professionals, entrepreneurs, and adventurers for an unforgettable year of personal and professional growth. Together, they spend a year living, working, and travelling in twelve different countries, seeing the world as they never have before” as an Operations Manager.
Skye currently serves as a member of the Advisory Board of DropDeck, a startup that leverages state-of-the-art technologies to connect viable startups to suitable investors, where she advises on product development and strategic partnerships. DropDeck was recently named champion of Enigma, the first blockchain business contest in Vietnam.