Alumni Profile: Cindy Wang ’17 – Talented Dancer & Musician

Interview with  Cindy Wang ’17 by Chih Ning Kuo (CIS student and writer for Xiao Hua, the CIS student magazine)

Cindy graduated in the Class of 2017 and is well into her second semester at Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. A talented dancer and musician, Cindy has continued to pursue these interests while taking a double major and double minor in college. Below she shares some nuggets of wisdom.
  • Name: Cindy Wang
  • Graduating Year: 2017
  • Years at CIS: 5 (Y9-Y13)
  • College & Degree: University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School; Bachelor of Science in Finance and Business analytics
  • Current city of residence: Philadelphia

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Hi Cindy! Could you introduce yourself a bit?

Hey! I graduated CIS in 2017, I currently go to Penn and my interests mainly include dance and music! I do ballet and play the violin and basic piano. I am double majoring in finance and marketing, and double minoring in music and consumer psychology.

So you’ve been dancing for a while now, and has that carried on in college?

I actually joined two dance groups in my college- Penn Dance Company and Pan-Asian Dance Troupe. Typically people only dance in one at most, so it has definitely been a struggle to maintain my academic standards. It’s important to prioritise and time manage, but regardless there are still nights when I am working till 7am.

Do you ever have to compromise dance or other extra curricular activities for schoolwork?

Definitely, especially since Wharton is such an academic school and everyone’s first priority will always be school, there are times when I need to compromise. But even so, I get out as much as I put in organisations I’m involved in, so being fully committed to other activities is also extremely important.

It certainly seems like you strike a good balance between school and extra-curricular life. Going into academics, since you go to the Wharton school, I take that you’re going to major in business. Has CIS prepped you well for what you’re studying now?

Right, so I am most likely doing a double concentration of Finance and Marketing at Wharton. CIS has definitely prepared me well. The amount of workload in IB is very similar to college actually. Aside from prepping me academically in terms of course content, the IB has also taught me important skills like how to be efficient with assignments, write long full-fledged written works in a short amount of time which has translated into my college experience. Knowing the fundamentals of economics and calculus (I took Math HL and Econ SL) were instrumental to my relatively smooth transition to Penn. Because the IB is so thorough with the topics covered, it really facilitated my learning in the more basic, required courses.

Is participation and public speaking skills required in college even more so than in CIS?

I am the opposite of a confident speaker, but being at such a competitive school, if I don’t put myself out there, nothing in return. So I am forced to go way out of our comfort zone when presenting, and be able to think on my feet and improvise when necessary. I would say that the difficult assignments in IB (such as IOCs and IOPs in English and Chinese Literature) really train and improve confidence and eloquence in speaking.

Public speaking is always tough, and becomes all the more daunting especially in a place where you are less familiar with everyone. Going in the same direction, what was your experience with making friends? Do you currently live in a dorm and has it been difficult to adjust to that lifestyle?

I would say that I am pretty close to my roommates, just because we see each other on a daily basis, but my closest friends are from my dance groups, especially Pan-Asian. It’s like the biggest support system family you can imagine. One of my favourite moments was when I was accepted into Pan-Asian: all 35 people stood outside my door with a massive sign to welcome/initiate me and it was very heartwarming.

Is there time outside of academics and activities for leisure and relaxation, and what do you do on weekends?

Free time is not a thing for me right now because I’m pledging a sorority. I am interested in Greek life and joining this sorority, so I go through this ritual known as ‘rush’. ‘Rush’ is a series of social events and gatherings and hope the members will accept me. What happens is you start by rushing a sorority and if they like you, you go onto a closed ‘rush’. Then the next step is that they extend a bid for some of the closed rushees, and if you accept the bid you become a pledgee where you essentially sell your soul for 10 weeks and try to not get kicked out. But prior to that, I went on bike rides along the river and went downtown to eat good food.

What attracted you to Greek life in the first place?

The main thing that made my ‘rush’ is the network that you get being in a certain sorority. Let’s say you apply to a job and someone along the line was also a sister, they will 100% pass you onto the next round. But aside from that, the people, especially in my sorority, are extremely ambitious and leaders in various clubs, so it’s very inspirational.

Speaking of jobs, are you involved in an internship?

I currently am not involved in an internship because I’m not an American citizen so by law I can’t.

If you could intern, what job would it be in?

So I would definitely intern in the operations side of a fashion company, like LVMH (Louis Vuitton) or Nordstrom. I think it is a great application of the business and operations I am currently studying about, but there’s a creative side to it and I don’t actually have to do consulting or investment banking.

The main point of an internship is to learn, so I would probably be exposed to all aspects of the company. I would probably be keeping tabs with the operations or finances of the company with spreadsheets and charts.

Very cool! Moving away from that a bit, what are your thoughts on study abroad, what country is your dream study abroad destination?

Going into college I thought that I would study abroad in china at 北大 (Peking University) for a semester to improve my Chinese, also because my grandfather went there. But now being at Penn, it seems pretty unrealistic because there are too many requirements and courses that we need to take, especially since I double major and minor, so I don’t have the extra time to go. If I were to go, I would probably be in business.

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What was your most memorable CIS moment?

My most memorable CIS moment was when I completed my final IB exam and we all celebrated together.

How did your CIS experience contribute to who you are today?

It made me more resilient and adaptable to high pressure situations and working with different people.

What was your favourite subject at CIS and was it related to anything you actually ended up doing?

My favourite subject was Math HL in IB, and I am now majoring in Finance so it is definitely related.

Please read the following questions and write down the first answer to pop into your mind (3-second limit ):

  • What is your favourite movie/production: 8 Below
  • What do you have for dinner on a weekday: Salad
  • What would be your last meal on death row: Pho
  • If you could have a one-hour conversation with anyone – historical or current – who would that be and why: My grandfather

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About the Writer:

Chih Ning is currently a Year 13 Xiao Hua writer interested in humanities and the social sciences. She has received History and Chinese literature subject awards for her achievements. Outside the classroom, she has danced ballet for over 8 years, and performed in various school ceremonies. You can find her scouring around town for bubble tea, watching chick flicks under the covers, and dabbling on Words With Friends®. When the time comes, these inspirations might just bloom into Xiao Hua articles!