Born and raised in Saint Paul, Minnesota with generations of Midwestern heritage, Morgan had never even owned a passport until the summer before she applied to college. She had, however, developed an unlikely interest in international affairs since elementary school, competing at the state level of the National Geographic Bee and helping organize multi-cultural festivals in her church community.
“My Catholic high school’s emphasis on servant leadership and social justice really accelerated my concern for global issues.” Learning Spanish became a priority for Morgan as she tutored kindergarteners in a local English-as-a-Second-Language classroom and joined mission trips to South Side Chicago and San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala. For her Senior Capstone, Morgan conducted first-hand research on the Hispanic community in the Twin Cities, emphasizing personal stories as a means of humanizing the immigration debate.
Her interest and talent for foreign languages and cultures, combined with her passion for international affairs as a whole, led Morgan to consider the Huntsman Program for her undergraduate studies. Though she had not yet considered a career in business, Morgan valued the incredibly practical nature of the dual-degree curriculum: “I wanted an academic experience that would not only teach me how to think about global problems, but more importantly how to act in a way that is most effective.” The Huntsman Program seemed to strike this balance perfectly, with its unique blend of liberal arts and pre-professional disciplines.
The Huntsman Experience
In her four years at Penn, Morgan explored the breadth of the university’s offerings, choosing strategic courses in international business while also satisfying her curiosities in political philosophy and art history. One of the highlights of Morgan’s undergraduate experience was the four months she spent studying abroad at La Universidad de La Habana. “My time in Cuba was the most intense form of cultural immersion I have ever experienced. Sitting in a 1950s classroom being taught Marxist-Leninist philosophy by a pro-Revolution professor while listening to rattling of vintage cars and peanut hawkers out the window? That’s about as far from Wharton as you can get.” While in Cuba, Morgan pursued an independent study on the island’s budding private sector – a topic that ultimately inspired her Huntsman Honors Thesis on entrepreneurship as a tool for economic development in modern Cuba.
In addition to holding leadership roles within the Ivy League Model United Nations Conference and the Management 100 TA community, Morgan was honored to be elected by her peers to the Huntsman Student Advisory Board. Before coming to Penn, she recalls being nervous about fitting in within the Huntsman community: “I had close to zero international experience, and I had no idea how the stock market worked.” She was quickly surprised by the extremely warm welcome she received into the Huntsman family. “Being surrounded by brilliant and motivated peers taught me to appreciate subtle indications of diversity – every one of us, including me, brought something unique and valuable to the community.”
Since coming to Penn, Morgan has filled her passport pages with stamps from nearly 20 countries. Many of her adventures came in the form of enriching summer experiences: supporting rural school programs in Bolivia, working for a philanthropy advising start-up in Singapore, and teaching English to refugees in Thailand. After her junior year, Morgan interned at HSBC Securities in New York where she drew from her intercultural knowledge as a capital markets analyst for Latin America.
In January 2016, Morgan will join the Boston Consulting Group, where she hopes to work with clients in the Social Impact and Public Sector practices. She expects her lifelong career to involve supporting social enterprises and non-profit organizations focused on universal education, private sector development, and global human rights. “No matter where life leads me, I’m confident that I will continue to engage the strategic business thinking and cross-cultural understanding that I cultivated here at Huntsman.”