Adrian Kulesza

Tiffany Pham ’09 created a start-up company so successful, she partnered with the United Nations.

Pham visited Silliman College on Thursday to discuss her startup Mogul, an online platform and mobile app dedicated to boosting career opportunities for women. The young entrepreneur’s accolades include a place on Forbes “30 under 30” list and Business Insider’s “30 Most Important Women Under 30.” In her talk, Pham shared her experience of growing up, studying at Yale and earning an MBA at Harvard Business School and her path to success in the business world. She ascribed much of the motivation of her career in media to her grandma, who she described as a “role model” and a “mogul in the media.”

“That day she passed away, I made a promise to her that I would do everything I could to follow her footsteps,” Pham said. “I was going to dedicate my life … towards providing information and opportunities to those around me in need.”

At the age of 14, Pham’s grandmother passed away. She then began working hard and later became one of the few students from her high school that was accepted by Yale.

However, the transition from a public high school in Plano, Texas, to Yale was far from smooth.

“I definitely felt out of place,” she said. “I remember feeling like everyone was so smart… I really didn’t do anything in my first-year except for studying.”

At the end of her first year, she decided to major in economics, as she felt that skills in business and finance were essential to achieving her goals.

After a year of adjusting to Yale, Pham promised herself that she would not “waste anymore time.”

“I promised myself that summer coming back to Plano that never again would I [waste] a single moment of my life,” she said.

Coming back to her sophomore year “with a roar,” she joined the board of Asian American Students Alliance as a web master and “saved” the Yale Herald — a weekly campus publication — from disbanding. She expanding it from a team of 2 people to more than 30 members. She then became a prolific producer for Yale Dramat.

After graduating from Yale — and spending a year interning at an investment banking firm — Pham matriculated at Harvard Business School, where she branched away from the typical “finance path.” According to Pham, her classmates at HBS described her as “march[ing] only to the beat of her own drum.”

Pham described her way of reaching out to her role models in media, content distribution and business management to attendees at the talk. She would write emails to them, asking if she could work for them performing the “most boring and mundane task.” This technique earned her multiple opportunities, one of which was working as a check-in girl at a Broadway theatre. With her dedication, she was quickly promoted to a general manager position, she said.

Pham said she would always choose the right number of tasks so that she constantly felt challenged, but would be able to achieve “perfection.” She ascribed her success in founding Mogul to finding out her passion at an early age, which, according to Pham, was a result of her constantly trying out different opportunities.

Santos said that it is inspiring for Yale students to hear about the experience of someone who has been in their place, adding that Pham was an evocative guest speaker.

Sukesh Ram ’23 described the talk as surprisingly informative and entirely grounded on specific advice that all will prove to be helpful.

Mogul was founded in 2014.

David Guo | ziyang.guo@yale.edu