Google’s Head of Travel Industry Reflects on Her Wharton Experience

Before coming to Wharton, Tran Hang, WG’10, worked at Google. While a student in Wharton’s EMBA program in San Francisco, she took on a role to oversee sales operations for the company’s travel industry practice. After graduating from Wharton, she became Google’s head of travel industry, overseeing more holistically all of the sales, marketing and operations for the multi-million dollar business.

What kind of impact has your Wharton education made on your career?

When I have conversations with a CEO, I need to be able to understand their point of view and priorities. You can’t get that kind of perspective sitting in a marketing or sales silo at your company. Now, when I’m having those conversations with clients, I add value by advising them with a balanced and holistic perspective that comes from my Wharton training.

My Wharton degree also has given me instant credibility and confidence. In the Bay Area, you either need to have started your own company by the age of 30 or have an advanced degree. Having my MBA from Wharton differentiates me in this area. It also provides the confidence of knowing I’m a better problem solver now than before I started the program.

How important is the Wharton network in the EMBA program?

I came to the program focused more on academics than building a network so I was really surprised by how many friends I made in the program as well as the depth of those friendships. Many are now lifelong friends who provide professional and personal support.

Having this huge Wharton network not just with my classmates, but also the northern San Francisco alumni group and the entire Wharton community is very valuable. The new Wharton | San Francisco building is literally across the street from Google so I am steps away from the school, which invites alumni to many events throughout the year. It’s a welcoming community and a great way for alumni to continue connecting with each other.

Why did you want to come to Wharton?

I had considered a full-time MBA program, but when it came time to apply I was at a good place in my career and saw an EMBA format as a better fit. I knew the exceptional credibility of the Wharton name in the business world, and when I went for a class visit, it seemed to be head and shoulders above what I was seeing elsewhere. If I was going to commit two years to a program, I was going to learn from the best and be in the strongest program possible.

Did you take participate in any extracurricular activities as a student?

Wharton provided excellent opportunities to develop and sharpen our leadership skills. As a student, I helped launch the Nonprofit Board Leadership Program at Wharton | San Francisco, which matches Wharton EMBA students to nonprofit boards. That process was a great learning experience and training ground. Now, I sit on the San Francisco Travel Board of Directors.