A first generation US citizen, Mark was exposed to a broad international community at an early age (both of his Jordanian parents spoke Arabic in the house). Mark traveled often, and during his junior year summer at Saint Albans school he received a fellowship to study the US – Jordan Free Trade Agreement in Jordan. While there, Mark visited factories and free-trade zones to understand what it meant for the future of Jordan and US relations. It was the first time Mark had traveled abroad for international studies and confirmed for him that he did not want his future studies to be confined to the US.
At first, Mark considered architecture as a possible career, but after discovering the inherent stress related to the field through a program in high school, he turned to his other passion: aviation. Surprisingly, after learning how airlines were run, Mark became intrigued by the possibility of studying business in college. He also really enjoyed the French revolution and had studied French throughout high school so that he could “feel more French.” He even did a mini study abroad in Paris where he lived with a host family and took classes, which led him to choose French as his target language.
When he found the Huntsman Program through his college research, he thought it was perfect. “No other college or university offers a program like this. Nowhere else can you get an education at the top business school, get a degree in international studies, study your foreign language, and go abroad.”
A World of Opportunities
An avid traveler, Mark cites his study abroad in Lyon as “probably the best experience I had at Penn.” During the semester abroad he visited Ireland, Scandinavia, Paris, and Geneva. A trip he took with fellow Huntsman students to the Christmas markets in Strasbourg was particularly memorable. “It was like going to fairytale land. It was the last trip we all took together before we returned to Lyon to finish our exams, and it’s one I’ll never forget.”
On campus Mark was co-President of Wharton Middle East North Africa Club where he planned annual spring break trips to the region for Penn students across all years and schools. Past trips include Cairo, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. During his senior spring break, the group traveled to Istanbul as one of their last hurrahs traveling together.
The Huntsman Experience
Mark chose Finance as his Wharton concentration and majored in International Studies with a minor in French in the College of Arts and Sciences. He really enjoyed French 221, “Perspectives in French Literature,” because the class studied literary trends across time, from old classic works to the 20th century. His “Monsters in Film and Literature” course was unlike any class he had taken before. Their assignments consisted of reading books like Frankenstein, and every week there was a film screening pertaining to the book.
Mark elected to do an internship every summer and gained experience in Private Wealth and Consulting. During his junior year summer, he interned with Goldman Sachs in their Philadelphia office. Following Graduation, Mark was offered a position at UBS in NY where he will continue in the field of Private Wealth Management.
While Mark feels that Huntsman prepared him well to take the next steps in his career, he says that the most surprising thing about the Program was not the course work or going abroad but rather the friendships he made in the Program. “I expected that I would make friends, but I never expected how close we would become. Taking classes together, studying together, and even many of us going to New York together. It’s like having a built in support system.”