Viet Voice

Harvard Business School Association Features Advance Beauty College

by Kimberly Pham | April 28, 2017 | Bookmark +

The Harvard Business School Association of Orange County (HBSAOC) invited Advance Beauty College co-owners Tam Nguyen, Linh Nguyen, and their mother and co-founder Kien Nguyen to talk about their experiences in obtaining their “American Dream” for the HBSAOC Leadership Series.

On this 42nd anniversary of the Fall of Saigon, the Nguyen family spoke about their experiences in fleeing Vietnam during the Vietnam War, opening a nail salon in 1978, and founding Tam’s Beauty College in 1987, which would later become Advance Beauty College. Since then, over 40K students have graduated through the programs offered, in cosmetology, esthetics, and in nails, where the school has the largest nail program in the United States.

An important aspect of what has kept family-owned Advance Beauty College thriving has been the family values instilled in Tam and Linh by their parents. “We learned about humility, the importance of giving back, and that’s still one of our core principles at Advance Beauty College — giving back,” says Linh. In establishing themselves in the U.S., the Nguyen family helped others by being a foster home for 23 “brothers and sisters,” helping them establish their lives in the U.S.

Another thing they attribute to the college’s growth is bringing in professional help, such as bringing in an attorney, tax advisers, a CPA, and a business coach. “Mom used to do all the bookkeeping, she was the controller, while we all did all the jobs together as a family. To bring on professional help and to join chambers of commerces that have the resources, to learn about different industries and other networks, to make friends with folks from the Harvard Business School and to learn from them on how to grow a business the right way in America has been very important to us,” Tam says.

It has also been important to the family to keep the cost of education low. “Although it’s a slow growth, it’s a steady growth, but students graduate without debt,” Tam says. They partner with Saddleback College and have a financial aid program for students who qualify. 

The event included networking and complimentary scalp massages and polish changes performed by current students of Advance Beauty College’s Laguna Hills location.

HBS Association of Orange County hosts Leadership Series meetings monthly, providing networking opportunities, discussion, and presentations led by Orange County-based businesses that are leaders in their industries.

For more information on Advance Beauty College, visit

For more information on the Harvard Business School Association of Orange County, visit

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