Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Monica Tuñez, Wharton School

Monica Tuñez

Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

“I am a first-generation college graduate passionate about leveraging technology to address social inequities.”

Hometown: Miami, FL

Fun Fact About Yourself: I compete in Olympic Weightlifting.

Undergraduate School and Major: Yale University (Political Science)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Google – Policy Specialist and Product Equity and Inclusion Lead

What has been your first impression of the Wharton MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Wharton story so far. The Wharton community has been one of the most welcoming and diverse environments I have encountered thus far. Every day, I leave class in awe of the accomplishments and experiences my classmates bring from all over the world. My favorite Wharton story so far has been hearing how one of my classmates has shaped technology policy in Congress and flown on Air Force One. I truly do think the friendships I have made have already begun to challenge the way I think and view the world.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the Wharton School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I chose Wharton because of the ability to participate in leadership ventures that would allow me to grow my leadership skills in an intensive environment outside of my comfort zone. Programs such as the McNulty Leadership Program caught my attention because they offer a pragmatic approach to learning leadership concepts in places like Patagonia or Antarctica. This was important to me because I wanted my education to transcend beyond the classroom.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at the Wharton School? I am excited to be a part of the 1st Gen Club at Wharton, especially as part of the very first Wharton class of QuestBridge MBA students. The privilege to attain an MBA as a first-generation student, at an institution such as Wharton, is not lost on me. I am eager to pay it forward and use the lessons I have learned throughout my professional and academic journey to continue strengthening and growing the 1st generation community and hopefully seeing next year’s class welcome an even bigger cohort.

When you think of the Wharton School, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? Growth – Wharton is full of experiences that push students out of their comfort zone. Throughout my interactions at Wharton, I have met people from a diverse range of backgrounds stretching themselves to participate in activities they never have before. These moments inspire me to go to events or sign up for clubs I never thought I would. The growth mindset the Wharton community embodies is a reminder to me that the Wharton MBA encourages you to use this space to approach life not by the “cards you have been dealt, but you will play the hand.”

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: One of my biggest accomplishments occurred earlier in my career when I was in a non-traditional business role. After graduating from Yale, I taught 11th grade Biology in New York City through Teach for America. The pandemic took place during my first year of teaching and I was tasked with transitioning my classroom and curriculum to a virtual teaching model in less than one week. I had 125 students at the time and was nervous about the impact the pandemic would have on their education.

My biggest accomplishment was using various ed-tech tools to keep my students not just engaged with course content, but feeling like they were connected to each other during the pandemic. Using a variety of tech products, I increased student attendance by 43% and submitted homework assignments by 35%.  I also advocated for my students to receive broadband subsidies so they could have access to the internet in their homes. Even though it was a tumultuous time for all of us, I am grateful that my students were able to both learn and find moments of levity in my class.

What do you hope to do after graduation (at this point)?  After graduation, I hope to go into product management at a tech company focusing on a product that works to address social inequity.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I recommend the book Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. This book, written by two faculty members of the Design Program at Stanford University, challenged me to take a product design approach to reflecting on my career. The book is interactive and forces you to take a step back and expand how you define your career against the backdrop of your life as a whole. I highly encourage this book to everyone, even if you think you’re already set on your career path, to find deeper meaning and authenticity in your work.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I was a part of the QuestBridge MBA Match process. I applied to all of the QuestBridge partner schools, which included Stanford GSB, UChicago Booth, Yale SOM, and UCLA Haas.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Wharton School’s MBA program? Be authentic to yourself in the application process.

It can be easy to try and paint a picture of what you think business school admissions is looking for, but I found that I found success and confidence while looking inward. I had a few mentors challenge me to deeply reflect on how my life’s experiences shaped my career goals and led up to my decision to apply to business school. Lean on those in your network that are willing to give you encouragement, but also raw feedback about your application as a whole.


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