By Connie Lin
Who is Allison? I’m a senior in Huntsman with my target language in Russian. I’m doing a concentration in strategic management in Wharton and an additional major in Russian and Eastern European studies in the College. I grew up in Los Angeles, but my family is from Kiev, Ukraine.
Was Huntsman what you expected? It’s so much more than I expected it to be. We are so blessed to be part of this community where people look out for one another and will remain lifelong mentors and friends. Even after freshman year, I think it’s been so interesting to see that over time in terms of recruiting and class work, Huntsman people are probably the strongest network. To me, it’s been an incredible support system and resource.
How would you describe your journey across the two majors? I definitely leaned more towards the College side with policy and international affairs coming in. I think the Wharton side has taught me more about myself and as a result has been a steeper learning curve. Careerwise, I’m probably favoring the Wharton side in terms of immediate next steps, but in the long-term, I think I want to come back to the international relations side of things.
How did you discover your career path? Professionally speaking, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do coming into Huntsman. I’m really thankful for the program for giving me guidance and helping me navigate. I tried to keep an open mind as much as I could, but I also tried a lot of different things. So for freshman summer I worked in venture capital and sophomore summer in private equity–both of those I have enjoyed but didn’t love. I really trusted my gut and knew there had to be something more out there, and then I became interested in strategy roles through taking business strategy classes. Once you know what you want to do, recruiting at Penn is just putting in hours with calls and interview prep. If you really want something you don’t give it 100% you give it 150%.
Favorite Huntsman experience? My experience freshman year living with the Huntsman students in Kings Court was definitely exciting. You walk in and people are speaking foreign languages everywhere, either because it’s their native language or someone’s in the hallway helping you with their homework for their language course. In our freshman year, I remember we had his really funny idea for Halloween where every girl picked a guy to model their clothing style after. We all twinned with one of the guys and took this really cute group photo.
Best part about Penn? The people! Hands down. These are some of the smartest, brightest, creative, and innovative individuals I’ve ever met in my life. I also met my best friends whom I live with. They are the most incredible people and we all study very different things. One of them is an English major, two of them are in nursing, and the last one is the least-Wharton Wharton person I know. Seeing how much my friends who are in nursing knows about finance now is just funny because we love learning from each other.
Favorite classes so far? Management 223 is a business strategy class and the professor that I had was absolutely incredible. The class basically talks about the core business strategies of how companies have evolved over the course of half the 20th century to today. I’m also in a fantastic 19th century Russian Literature class right now. All my classes in Russian have been great, and I’ve genuinely enjoyed all my coursework at Penn. Eventually you come to embrace the fact that you’re a little bit of a nerd.
What advice would you give your freshman self? Don’t be afraid to push yourself. All of those times that you don’t give your all–whatever it is, all adds up to detract from your full potential. The things you’re passionate about deserve more than 100% of your time and energy and I think that goes for academics as well as relationships. If you really care about someone or something, you give them everything you have because time is precious.
What is something that not a lot of people know about you? I actually hate Russian food more than anything. It’s my least favorite cuisine probably in this world.
Do you have any current personal projects? I’m planning on writing a thesis next semester on the relationship between Iran and Russia during the Cold War period and how that influenced US relations with those two countries. And this semester I’m auditing a really interesting course on Iranian culture and history. I think that one of the reasons this was really important to me is that I am very involved in Israel advocacy and used to run Israel programming at Penn Hillel. I think it’s been so eye opening and this class has been fantastic.
Favorite travel experience? For me it’s probably Israel. Israel’s home and a lot of my family lives there. Going back there feels like everything is as it should be.
Favorite work of Russian literature? I recently read Fathers and Children by Ivan Turgenev in this Russian literature class. It talks about the generational gap where children don’t often understand their parents’ perspective. This novel was written in the 1850s, and I think what’s so beautiful about it is that it’s so true even today.
What scares and excites you about the future? I’m excited to travel the world. My parents were so good about taking me around to experience different cultures when I was growing up, and I really want to continue that. I hope consulting will help me do that. It’s also definitely scary to leave Penn. I’ve had the most amazing three years here. I’ve really found my people and what I love to do.
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