Johnny Bui’s Journey—Student, Author, Entrepreneur
When Johnny Bui ‘20 transferred to Babson College in 2018, he already had started a business, headed an entrepreneur’s club, and traveled the country searching for ways to make a difference.
Once at Babson, Bui became aware of the talent that was all around him.
“I think this is the perfect place to be because now I can grow with the right people around me, and it definitely keeps me humble to be around all these amazing young people. I wanted to maximize all the resources at hand,” said Bui.
Bui, a first-generation college student, combined his entrepreneurial spirit and desire to give back by doing a semester of service.
“I asked what does Babson have that I’m interested in, and that I can do. So, I did Habitat for Humanity. I didn’t want to leave college knowing that there was something that I wished that I had done. It was a conversation I had very early on with Andrea Wiley in the Education Abroad Program and my Assistant Class Dean Heather Miller,” said Bui.
Prior to coming to Babson, Bui attended the Next Gen Summit in New York City. He was so impressed with the stories that the young entrepreneurs were telling that he came up with an idea for a book.
“I left the summit not only inspired by what the future leaders of our generation were doing, but that not enough young people were fully utilizing their potential. And that’s when the idea came to mind to write a book about what my peers—ages 14 to 23—are doing to inspire action,” said Bui.
Using his entrepreneurial skills, Bui tapped into his vast network of leaders and zeroed in on three entrepreneurs to highlight for his book. Through coincidence, one of those featured was Babson graduate David Zamarin ’19—Shark Tank winner and founder and CEO of DetraPel.
“I realized you need some form of credibility when you reach out to these entrepreneurs, so coming into these conversations, I would start out by reading up on them and doing my own research,” said Bui.
In the process of working on his book, Bui found out that writing about entrepreneurship is like life imitating art.
“I wrote this book and it ties so much into my Babson journey. It’s a book about young, influential entrepreneurs. And, each one of them is making bold decisions to pursue something that they are deeply passionate about,” said Bui.
Through his perseverance, Bui’s book, ”Who’s Doing It, The Rise of the Young Entrepreneur” was published in February 2020.
“Johnny captures the essence of the young, aspiring entrepreneurial mind. But, his book is not just for the newest of entrepreneurs. It will serve those looking for renewal, reminding us of the struggle and the zeal needed for success,” said Babson College President, Stephen Spinelli Jr., MBA ’92, PhD in a review.
Bui had a book tour planned until the COVID-19 crisis put those plans temporarily on hold.
“It certainly has been difficult. Before the crisis, I was not only going to go into retailers, but I had a tour lined up. I was going to speak to high schools and share these stories that I have been writing about to influence and inspire young students,” said Bui.
Like a true entrepreneur, Bui keeps an optimistic outlook amid setbacks.
“What can I do moving forward? What’s the strategy now? In the past several weeks, it’s just been a matter of reaching out to these schools to speak to their students after the pandemic is over,” said Bui. It’s also been a matter of shipping my books out to share a positive message.”
Bui is considering going into management consulting to grow his business acumen. Ultimately, Bui would like to run his own company and give back to the entrepreneur community as those before him have done.
Bui has advice for aspiring entrepreneurs during these uncertain times.
“Leverage the extra time that we all have now,” he said. “Reach out to the person at that company to learn what you need to know to get to that next step.”