f you’ve contacted the Wharton | San Francisco EMBA office with an application question, it’s likely you’ve spoken with Quyen Tran. As the admissions coordinator, she’s often the first point of contact for prospective students.
Q. What tips do you give applicants for admissions interviews?
I recommend that they do their due diligence about our program. They should try to attend an information session and familiarize themselves with the information on our Website. Also, when they come for a class visit, they should talk to our students to get a sense of our community, and also talk to our alumni. They need to treat this as a job interview and be ready to talk about why they want to come to Wharton. If they do those things, they’ll be much better prepared in the interview.
Also, it’s helpful to share relevant information that might not be on a resume or the application. For example, if they are a parent then they could talk about their kids. They could discuss how they plan to fit the program into their lives as well as their motivation for coming to Wharton. Perhaps they want to demonstrate to their kids the importance of education to make a bigger impact on the world.
Q. What was it like to join Wharton | San Francisco in its earlier years?
When I started in 2005, we were a much smaller program so it was all hands on deck. I helped out with pretty much everything from event coordination to facilities to budgets and finances to admissions. That was a great opportunity to learn about a startup environment because we really were launching an organization.
Q. What has changed since then?
We are now firmly planted on the West Coast and we’ve grown quite a bit. We now have additional staff like a COO, a director of entrepreneurship, a director of events and a financial administrator. With that growth, I’ve been able to focus my role more on admissions, which I’ve always enjoyed a lot. Now, I’m the first point of contact for prospective students and a resource for information about the program. I help students with the application process, conduct campus tours, do interviews, and attend local information receptions.
Q. What do you enjoy most about your role?
I like meeting the diverse group of individuals who apply. They are very talented and socially aware. For example, one of our current students is a plastic surgeon who provides reconstructive surgery for women afflicted with breast cancer. Another recent graduate works at Cirque de Soleil. Most people don’t come across such diversity in a normal work day.
Q. What happens at Wharton | San Francisco when classes aren’t in session?
We hold a lot of events like alumni dinners and panel discussions. We’re committed to supporting current students as well as alumni in this region so we create opportunities to connect those groups as often as possible.
Q. How did you end up in San Francisco?
I was born in Vietnam and raised in Philadelphia. I went to Temple University where I majored in Asian Studies and then worked at Aramark in the marketing division. I enjoyed working in a fast-paced, deadline driven environment with a very creative team. However, after five years, I started to think about transitioning into the education nonprofit field. At the time, my younger sister was living in San Francisco and I thought it would be a great time to try living on the West Coast. So I came to San Francisco to live with her and saw the job posting for Wharton. I really thought I’d just be here two years and then return to Philadelphia, but I love it here. This is my home.
Q. Do you spend time on the Philadelphia campus?
Working at Wharton | San Francisco is a unique opportunity to stay connected to my hometown. When we have trainings, we usually go to the East Coast campus. I also often spend my winter breaks in Philadelphia and visit my Wharton colleagues.
Q. When you’re not at Wharton, what do you enjoy doing?
I am in a photography group and enjoy taking pictures of rare and unusual characters in San Francisco. (See some of my photos below.) We recently had the Bay to Breakers Marathon and saw people dressed up in amazing costumes. That was fun to photograph. In San Francisco, there is always something around the corner that will surprise you.
I’m also a fan of the TV show Breaking Bad so my boyfriend and I are planning a vacation this summer to Albuquerque to see some of the filming locations. In addition, I enjoy travel, sampling the great places to eat in San Francisco, and kickboxing. Last year, another Wharton staff member and I even tried skydiving — what an adventure!