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Real Humans of the Wharton School’s MBA Class of 2022

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Linh Nguyen, Wharton’s MBA Class of 2022

Age: 27
Hometown: Hanoi, Vietnam
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management; double majored in Finance and Management Information Systems
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Prior to Wharton, I spent 5.5 years at Deloitte Consulting focusing on technology strategy and global technology transformations

Why business school? Why now? 
My long-term aspiration is to create technology-enabled solutions that support women entrepreneurs in developing countries and advance their financial independence. While I have gained analytical and problem-solving skills from consulting, I wanted to develop the entrepreneurial and leadership skills necessary to build a viable venture at the intersection of technology and social impact on a global scale.

Why Wharton? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I decided to come to Wharton for three reasons: A place where everyone can chart their own unique paths, an inclusive culture that celebrates differences and fosters lifelong friendships, and an entrepreneurial ecosystem that welcomes and supports first-time founders.

The defining factor for me was the ability to learn from globally-minded people. I am a dual degree student pursuing an M.A. in International Studies at The Lauder Institute within the Global track. Lauder allows me to find a tight-knit community within a large Wharton class and be surrounded by classmates who have a strong commitment to improving the world through business.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022? 
This is a difficult question because my Wharton classmates all have very diverse backgrounds, and everyone contributes to the Class of 2022 in their own unique ways. Having consulted clients from Mexico to Japan, I hope to share with my classmates how I have learned to build effective working relationships with clients from different regions of the world while overcoming language barriers and socio-cultural differences in values and business practices.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? 
I really enjoy assembling IKEA furniture and find the process somewhat therapeutic.

Post-MBA career interests? 
Going into business school, I have three hypotheses I wanted to test within the entrepreneurship space: launching my own startup, working for an early-stage startup in the Food Tech space, and exploring a career in VC. I am excited for all these career paths but also want to keep an open mind and see where these two transformative years at Wharton will take me.

Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process? 
Visit campus, sit in on classes, and talk to as many current students and alumni as possible to get a better sense of the culture

–One thing you would change or do differently? 
Try not to compare myself to other candidates and be confident in my own story and journey

–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Certainly the GMAT. Knowing that the GMAT is only a component of the application and not the defining factor of my overall candidacy helped me get through it. I was also lucky to have a group of friends who were also applying to business school. I am grateful for the support we lent to one another and the camaraderie of getting through the GMAT together.

What is your initial impression of Wharton’s students/culture/community?
I always thought of Wharton as the “finance school”. However, upon visiting campus and speaking to current students last year, I realized that the student body is incredibly diverse and collaborative. Everyone has a unique path – from film producer to former Navy to soybean trader – all highly accomplished yet down to earth.

One thing you have learned about Wharton that has surprised you? 
I am amazed at how responsive and supportive our alumni are. As I am writing an article on the trajectory of the alternative protein industry, I cold emailed an alumnus who is the former co-founder of one of the biggest alternative meat companies in the US. To my surprise, he responded right away and was happy to connect!

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year? 
Finding the right balance between academic, recruiting, and social activities. Wharton offers a wide variety of opportunities to pursue professional and personal interests so focusing on what is truly important for my personal and career goals can be overwhelming.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year? 
I am most excited about launching Pave, my Travel Tech startup, with the support of the entrepreneurship community and resources at Wharton-Penn. I am also excited for the opening of Tangen Hall, a dedicated space for cross-campus entrepreneurship at the University of Pennsylvania, where I can meet with, learn from, and be inspired by other student founders.

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.