Rongrong Nancy Jin
Nancy had always thought of herself as a science person and never really considered a career in business. She lived in Tianjin, China until she was 8, when her parents, both doctors, took up research positions with a local hospital in Hersey, Pennsylvania. At the behest of a friend, she joined Future Business Leaders of America as a high school student and was surprised by how much she enjoyed it. During one competition, students analyzed multinational corporations and the intricacies of international relations. It was then that she decided to pursue international studies and business in college.
During a chance visit to Philadelphia Nancy attended a Penn info session. When she told the admissions officers of her interests, they directed her to the Huntsman Program. After further research, she decided that Huntsman was the perfect place for her to pursue her studies and applied early. Nancy speaks Chinese at home and had studied French since middle school. When deciding between the two for her application, she chose French because she felt that it
would be a more valuable use of her time in the Program.
The Path to Discovery
Nancy’s senior thesis topic, which dealt with the effects of climate change on grape phenology and wine quality, was inspired by her semester abroad in Lyon. A local winery needed a translator that could speak Chinese and French, and Nancy was right for the job. “I learned a lot about wine quality while working there and was curious to know how this was being affected by climate change.” Though the topic was completely different from anything she had studied before, her thesis advisor, Professor Irina Marinov from the Environmental Studies department, provided Nancy with all of the background information she needed to get started. Nancy began collecting weather data in a specific region in France and found that there was a very high correlation between climate change and the quality of wine produced. The results of her research have greater implications for the future of the wine market.
While in Lyon Nancy took courses on French political life, Social Cohesion and Solidarity, and a class on the geography of the Asian and Arab worlds. “It was very interesting to hear the French perspective on francophone countries like Morocco and Tunisia.” Nancy even learned a little colloquial French from her two host brothers.
Exploring Diverse Interests
Throughout her time in the Huntsman Program, Nancy always found time to take classes that challenged her creative side. She took Introduction to Acting and a Chamber Music Analysis course where students performed and analyzed a piece of chamber music under the direction of the Daedalus Quartet. Her proudest achievement, however, was during her Hand Building Ceramics class where she built a two foot elephant sculpture! While at a student activities fair, Nancy discovered Penn’s synchronized swimming team and joined on a whim. “It was right after the 2008 Olympics,” she recalls. “I remember watching those teams compete and thinking it looked like a lot of fun.” In her senior year their team placed 13th in the nation.
Nancy also served as President of HR, and eventually as a board member, for the Wharton China Business Society. The club exposed her to a lot of business opportunities in China through annual forums with prominent speakers such as the head of L’Oreal in China and David Rubenstein, head of the Carlyle Group. “It was a great networking opportunity because we had access to so many high profile business leaders and professors.” In her sophomore year she interned with Goodyear in Shanghai. The following summer she interned for JP Morgan in NYC with their mergers and acquisitions group.
Nancy chose Wharton concentrations in Finance and Operations and Information Management, with a minor in French from the School of Arts and Sciences. “Learning about the psychology behind decision making in business through OPIM was a nice addition to analysis,” she says. “In a standard economic model you assume people are rational, but they aren’t. It’s good to know what the biases are when you make decisions. It’s a much more realistic point of view, rather than relying on the purely theoretical.” In Negotiations OPIM 291, one of her favorite courses, Nancy learned negotiation techniques that helped her figure out where her comfort zone is. “My negotiation style was actually very different from what I expected. It was really interesting to discover how I handle different tactics and situations.” After graduation Nancy returned to JP Morgan to gain experience in corporate valuation and business strategy and hopes to return to business school for an MBA.