UH Bauer College Honors Kim Pham as Spring 2010 Outstanding Undergraduate
For finance and accounting senior Kim Pham, who graduated on May 14 as the UH Bauer Outstanding Undergraduate Student for Spring 2010, the key to success – both personal and professional – has been passion.
Whether cheering for the Cougars at a football game, participating in a mock open outcry stock trading competition or mentoring local high school students, Pham has approached every aspect of her undergraduate career with a level of dedication that has allowed her not only to achieve but to excel.
She graduates with a 4.0 grade point average and several honors, including the Ted Bauer Leadership Award, the C. T. Bauer Star of Excellence, and awards for leadership and academic excellence from the college’s Accountancy Advisory Board. Pham was on the Dean’s List for seven consecutive semesters and has received several accolades from the Finance Association, the student organization she has been a part of since 2007.
Community involvement has also been important to Pham. She served as a college team leader for the Game of Real Life, a program that gives Houston-area teenagers the opportunity to prepare for life after high school.
Pham will begin a full-time position with J.P. Morgan after graduating. As a student, she interned with many leading companies, including J.P. Morgan, while serving as an officer of the Finance Association, a founding member of the Cougar Investment Research Group and vice president of the Golden Key International Honor Society.
The UH Bauer College Office of Communications recently spoke to Pham about the Outstanding Undergraduate recognition, her time at Bauer and her future plans.
What made you choose UH Bauer for your undergraduate degree?
I became interested in business during high school, and knew I wanted to study it in college. After considering my options, I chose to attend Bauer for my undergraduate degree for three reasons.
First, I wanted to be close to home near my family and support system. Along the way on my undergraduate journey, I have met even more friends and professors who have been supportive of my goals.
I also wanted to be close to the action where business happens, which Houston has provided through my internships with reputable firms. Many top firms recruit at Bauer, including Fortune 500 companies and Big Four accounting firms. Plus, the Rockwell Career Center offers many events and services to help students obtain internships or full-time jobs with those companies.
Finally, I wanted a well-rounded, high-quality education. Bauer offered a strong business school with a variety of majors to explore, experienced faculty and staff who had extensive business experience, and a diverse student body. In the end, I’m glad I made that decision because I was able to leverage those three things to achieve my goals.
What do you plan to do after graduation? What are your future career goals?
Upon graduation, I plan to take some time off to travel. I enjoy experiencing different places and cultures, and want to see more of the world. Then, I plan to begin my career with J.P. Morgan as a full-time financial analyst. After I gain solid experience in finance and general business, my long-term career goal is to run my own business. I also value philanthropy as part of my career and plan to make an impact in my community by volunteering my time and sharing my knowledge with others.
Was there a particular professor or person at Bauer who impacted you during your undergraduate studies?
Every faculty, staff and student I met while at Bauer impacted my undergraduate studies in one way or another. My teachers were always available outside of class, and I took advantage of that to broaden my knowledge and professional network. The time Bauer professors spent with me showed their genuine care for my success, and I am grateful to have known them personally. I also had great advisors who guided me in the right direction with my studies, career and leadership development.
The relationships I built with my peers also impacted my time at Bauer. My interaction with diverse students broadened my perspective and allowed me to form lasting friendships with many outstanding individuals.
What was the most challenging or difficult aspect of your time at UH Bauer? How did you overcome this?
The most challenging aspect of my time at Bauer was managing my time. I always found myself involved in many things at once – whether holding an officer position in a student organization, attending recruiting events or working at an internship. Balancing my time between each activity was difficult because they were all important to me. I was able to overcome this challenging by prioritizing my daily activities and taking each task one step at a time. Going forward, I believe this experience will prepare me for the many responsibilities I’ll have to manage as a working professional.
What advice would you give to incoming freshmen or transfer students coming to Bauer?
The most valuable advice I could give to new students would be to get involved at Bauer. There is so much to do here, so take advantage of the Bauer resources! By getting involved, you’ll meet people, begin forming your business network and grow personally and professionally.
I would also encourage students to take on new challenges and get out of their comfort zones. Become a student officer, study abroad, intern in your field of study, take on the Ted Bauer Leadership Certificate challenge. Your Bauer experience truly will be richer if you stretch yourself, and you may be surprised of the outcome.
How does it feel to be ending this chapter of your life?
I feel excited as I end a very meaningful chapter of my life. This chapter of my life holds a lot of good memories, and it’s definitely shaped me more than I would have imagined. I’ve learned so much about the business world, met many wonderful people and achieved tremendous personal growth. I’m also very excited because the end of this chapter means the beginning of a new chapter. As I move on, however, I will not forget about Bauer. I intend to stay active as an alumna and continue serving as a leader in the community.
What do you think sets Bauer students apart from those at other business schools?
Bauer students stand out compared to other business students because of our strong ethics, drive and determination, and Cougar pride. Our students constantly strive to achieve great things and the outcome of our efforts have been tremendous.
The exceptional accomplishments of our students have brought Bauer much national recognition to be proud of. Our students have organized and hosted the CME Group Trading Challenge, won first place in the CFA Institute Investment Research Challenge and received recognition as the National HBSA Chapter of the Year, among many things. And the neat thing about being a Bauer student is that you are also able to contribute to the success of our business school as we continue to grow in strength.
By Jessica Navarro