Purpose: the purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of the hardiness of university business students. Overall hardiness, and its individual components of commitment, control and challenge, were all explored in relation to students quality of university life, quality of life and learning performance. Design/methodology/approach: a sample of 722 vietnamese business students was surveyed to collect the data. Structural equation modeling (sem) was used to determine whether hardiness and/or its components enhanced students quality of university life, quality of life and learning performance. Necessary condition analysis (nca) was then employed to explore the levels of hardiness and its components necessary for each of the key areas. Findings: sem results revealed that overall hardiness had a positive effect on all three key areas. In terms of individual components, commitment, control and challenge were found to have positive impacts on learning performance; however, control did not affect quality of university life, and challenge had no effect on quality of life. Nca results show that these components of hardiness had varying degrees necessary for students to experience success in these areas. Practical implications: findings suggest that university administers should consider the role which student hardiness, and its individual components, can play in relation to student success at university. Specifically, universities should practice hardiness training and assessment programs to equip their students with hardy attitudes and skills. Originality/value: this study is one of the first to examine of the levels of the components of hardiness (i.E. Commitment, control and challenge) necessary for students to achieve success in the quality of university life, quality of life and learning performance. 2019, Emerald publishing limited.