Clark Brown Jr.
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Plus The Lauder Institute / Dual MBA/MA)
“I am a relentlessly optimistic people-person, with a passion for all things international.”
Hometown: Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Fun Fact About Yourself: In high school, I was part of Men of Note, a men’s acapella group that won the National Championships of High School Acapella three times in a row at New York City’s Lincoln Center.
Undergraduate School and Major: The George Washington University (B.B.A. International Business)
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: HSBC México S.A. (Mexico City), Business Development Manager, Global Trade & Receivables Finance
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was drawn to Wharton in part due to its reputation for quantitative analysis, which was a skill I wanted to build after a career focused largely on sales and client service functions. However, the biggest factor in my decision was the opportunity to earn a dual-degree in international studies through the Lauder Institute. Having lived and worked in Mexico, Taiwan, and Spain at various points in my life, the opportunity to pursue my MBA at a world-renowned institution while also being able to apply that knowledge in a global context was extremely important to me.
What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Tenacious is the first word that comes to mind. My classmates are incredibly smart, passionate, and purposeful in everything that they do. This ranges from taking initiative in driving dialogue around structural racism and bias to finding inventive ways to ensure that our class is still able to safely form bonds with one another in the midst of the pandemic. I feel grateful to be part of this community and cannot wait to continue meeting more people from my class.
What club or activity excites you most at this school? I see Wharton’s huge variety of student clubs as an opportunity to try something new, so in addition to professional and affinity organizations, I am excited to join the Boxing Club (post-COVID). However, my participation in the legendary Fight Night will most likely be from the stands.
What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at Wharton? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? As I learn to be a student again, I am most nervous about time management and balancing my extracurricular, career, and academic commitments in a sustainable way. However, I think that adapting to this comes with time. On the other hand, I am extremely excited to continue building relationships with my Wharton and Lauder classmates throughout the next two years, as through them I am constantly exposed to new professional and personal perspectives.
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? / Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My defining moment and biggest career accomplishment was my move to Mexico City. I had been with the bank’s New York office for five years at the time. Recognizing that I needed a new challenge and that my dream of working internationally was still unfulfilled, I decided to apply to internal roles abroad and was eventually hired for a business development role for the Mexico office. In hindsight, I underestimated how much of a challenge it would be navigating a completely new culture and way of working, not to mention being successful in a role where I needed to operate completely in Spanish. The first six months were difficult for me, and I definitely experienced failures and imposter syndrome. However, with each failure, I gained knowledge, confidence, and an ever-growing network of people to support me in future similar situations. By the end of my time in Mexico, I had become an expert in my area. That experience was incredible preparation for business school, where we are all coming into an unfamiliar, high-pressure environment where we may not have all the answers right away. I definitely plan to draw from my experiences in Mexico to support myself and my classmates during these two years.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Pursuing my MBA was a priority for me, as after a total of eight years in the financial services industry. It was important to me to continue to grow as a professional by learning about other industries, gaining new skills, and expanding my network.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Besides Wharton, I applied to Cornell (Johnson), Northwestern (Kellogg), MIT (Sloan), NYU (Stern), and Dartmouth (Tuck).
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “What is the weakest component of your application?” was the toughest question I was asked in an interview. As prospective admits, we spend so much time trying to even out any weakness in our application that I found this a truly difficult question to answer.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? The Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) MBA Prep program was invaluable in helping me determine my fit with different MBA programs by connecting me with current students, alumni, and admissions officers. This allowed me to get a sense of culture fit and and also understand how the program’s mission, composition, and location would inform my own experience. I also tried to visit as many of the schools I applied to as possible in order to get a sense of whether I could see myself on campus and in the surrounding community. Once I started receiving acceptances, however, the biggest factor became evaluating which program I thought would challenge me most to build skills that I did not already have – Wharton scored high for me in all of those areas.
What have you been doing since you were accepted to prepare for business school? I spent the majority of my time since my acceptance to Wharton participating in the Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) organization’s Professional Development program, which prepared me for recruiting by helping me recognize my gaps and develop a strong skill set in preparation for interviews.
DON’T MISS: MEET THE WHARTON SCHOOL’S MBA CLASS OF 2022