Student Spotlight: Joyce Meng

Candace diCarlo

YOU CHOSE PENN OVER HARVARD. WHY?: “I got into the Huntsman Program of International Studies and Business and after going to the Admitted Students Day for both [Harvard and Penn], it just seemed so clear to me that this program at Wharton was exactly what I wanted to be studying. I wanted to learn more about global business, global economics from an international perspective,” says Meng, a Rhodes Scholar who is completing a joint program at Wharton and SAS. “I’ve gotten classic Wharton, like finance, economics, and at the same time the liberal arts background in global affairs. Having the ability to go abroad ... it’s been such an incredible experience. I don’t think I could have gotten that at Harvard.”

SPANISH CAPITAL: While in Madrid, Meng studied at ICADE, the Business, Economics and Law School of the Comillas Pontifical University. It is considered one of the top institutions in Europe.

HABLAS ESPANOL?: “It’s my target language. I like it so much.” She uses it, too. Last summer Meng traveled to Mexico to do field research with FINCA International, one of the world’s largest village banking institutions.

WELL-TRAVELED: Spain and Mexico aren’t the only places Meng has visited during her time at Penn. “Freshman summer I worked at Taishan International Bank in Taishan, Taiwan. My second summer, I worked at Credit Suisse in Hong Kong. ... And last summer I worked at Goldman Sachs in New York City on Wall Street in natural resource-leveraged finance. You work on deals in the billions.”

THE RHODES APPLICATION: “It is a very comprehensive application. It was a long essay component, an activities list and seven letters of recommendation. The interview took place in mid-November. The questions were all really interesting. I had to defend the morality of reality television shows and then argue against censorship in Spanish. The questions came from everywhere—everything from discussing the subprime mortgage crisis to analyzing British bank bailouts.”

RARIFIED AIR: “I certainly feel lucky to belong to this network of individuals, but I think what’s more important than just belonging to the club is what you can do with this Rhodes scholarship.”

INTERNATIONAL PLAYER: Meng hopes to eventually land a job with the World Bank. “I want to gain some private sector experience before doing that but I want to be, specifically, in the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank. It’s like the private sector arm of the World Bank. They provide financing and risk management solutions for businesses that are trying to invest in developing markets.”

ANY ‘ME’ TIME?: “I actually do have some. But I feel the more I do, the more efficient I become with work.”

Originally published Feb. 21, 2008