Senior Spotlight

Senior Spotlight: Rachel Dai

Rachel Dai, former Wharton Women Vice President of Marketing, is a senior studying Marketing, Operations, and Strategic Management. She is from the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia and will be moving to NYC to work at BlackRock after graduation.

When did you get involved with Wharton Women and what has been the best part about the experience?

My first exposure to Wharton Women was during my fall semester as a freshman when an older teammate of mine (shoutout to Erin Lo) recommended that I come to the Fall GBM. I was on the Varsity Women’s Golf team at the time and felt overwhelmed and intimidated by the expectation of participating in and balancing club extracurriculars on top of my athletic commitment. However, she encouraged me to go, reassuring me that Wharton Women was a great club to get involved in with numerous opportunities that could work with my golf commitments. From that first GBM, I applied for a small committee role, learned more about the club and its mission and purpose, and eventually applied to be VP of Marketing.

I considered the best part of my Wharton Women experience to be meeting numerous different girls that I would have never had the chance of crossing paths with without the organization. Thanks to the numerous events that Wharton Women organized, I was able to find great upperclassmen mentors who played pivotal roles in my college experience and meet other girls of different interests and backgrounds who I would otherwise never get the chance to meet. Another instance was when I was able to connect with an associate at my summer internship who was a Wharton Women alum; we shared our experiences and discussed how the organization has developed over the years which was super cool.

Favorite part of being the VP of Marketing?

My favorite part of being the VP of Marketing was driving the organization’s mission and purpose of empowering women in business by taking control of our brand narrative and image and coming up with creative marketing strategies to continue encouraging women (and men) to participate in Wharton Women initiatives. As the VP of Marketing, I had to have a pulse on every initiative that was to be executed, which enabled me to not only learn about the specific projects but also the other people who were behind them. As a result, I developed a strong sense of ownership in my role in making sure that each event was met with good participation and attendance.

It always felt good hearing from peers how well a Wharton Women event was run or how excited they were about our iconic goodie bags! Seeing students repping Wharton Women gear and merchandise on campus was also super satisfying. I also enjoyed working with the other executive board members because we all shared the same, contagious energy towards pushing our organization’s mission.

What other clubs/activities are you involved in? How do you balance your time?

In addition to Wharton Women and Varsity Golf, I have been an active member of Delta Sigma Pi, a community service participant for Habitat for Humanity, a tutor for West Philadelphia Tutoring Project, and a former co-director of Hult Prize at Penn. I have also been a project member of Design for Social Impact and am currently a campus ambassador for Rent the Runway.

Having a clear list of priorities has always been helpful for me in delineating how much blocks of time should be dedicated to each priority. Also, being able to visualize a list of commitments and responsibilities and a schedule/calendar filled with various blocks of committed time is helpful in checking with yourself and asking what is feasible. Having concrete blocks of time dedicated to something, no matter how long or short, is also a great practice for being disciplined about being productive during that block of time. With some structure, you would be surprised how much you can balance and accomplish.

Post-graduation plans?

After graduation, I plan to travel and immerse myself in a few countries in Europe before starting my first full-time job at BlackRock as a brand strategy analyst on the Marketing Strategy and Innovation team within the Global Marketing division in New York City. I will be focusing on managing the BlackRock masterbrand and any type of marketing strategies that would fall under that umbrella.

A day in the life:

I’m not really a big morning person but definitely try to be. On an ideal day, I like to wake up and take the Septa down to Center City for a barre workout and then jog back to campus. I typically stop by Pottruck for a protein recovery shake and then head home to get ready for class. After classes, I try to schedule any necessary meetings in Huntsman right afterwards, so that I don’t have to go back and can then enjoy the rest of the day or evening. I try to make a home-cooked meal or bake for fun and share with friends.

Before senior year comes to an end, I try to catch-up with peers via happy hours, meals, boardgame nights, etc., especially with those I know who are not going to be in New York post-grad and any underclassmen that I have gotten the chance to know. Overall, I’m just trying to enjoy and take full advantage of the freedom that comes with college life by completing an informal senior bucket list that I push myself to try to complete, like running my first half-marathon with my DSP pledge class. Adopting a “why not” mentality has definitely been my mantra as of late, which dictates what I want and plan to do.

Advice for freshman year self?

In addition to the time management skills that I learned later on, I would remind my freshman year self to not be bothered as much about what others are doing and thinking. Even if everyone else may seem to be doing the same things and have strengths that you don’t, do not only stress over improving your weaknesses but also remember to embrace your strengths and what makes you unique. Be confident in where you come from, who you are, and what you value but also be open-minded and willing to learn, understand, and empathize, especially with those who are least similar to you. Also, take advantage of the contagious energy of other freshmen – it’ll only get harder to be as spontaneous, so enjoy everything and have fun! Keep taking photos for documentation and memories to look back on.

By Shreya Subramanian (W’ 21).