Ross Reflections: What It’s Like Being A ‘Twin’ in Business School

Jordan (Left) and Alexa (Right) Tran at BPA Regionals in High School

So you probably read the title of this column and wondered why the word “twin” is in quotation marks.

Allow me to first reintroduce myself: my name is Alexa Tran and I am a senior at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. My younger brother, Jordan, and I were born exactly a year and three days apart. Jordan actually skipped fourth grade, which means we’ve been in the same grade since I was 10 years old. Oh, and did I mention that he also happens to attend Ross?

I know, freaky – right?

Jordan and Alexa Jordan at the Chicago Bean sophomore year of college

Growing up, we had joint birthday parties because our birthdays were so close together. This meant a lot of people already thought we were actually twins. Jordan skipping a grade only perpetuated this belief. We had to constantly explain to people that, no, we weren’t twins. He just happened to be so smart that he skipped a grade (insert eyeroll here).

I used to hate being called a “twin” or having to be known as one-half of “the Trans”. I wanted to be my own person, not the girl with the intelligent younger brother.

Now, I’ve learned to embrace it all: the good, the bad, and the ugly. I couldn’t be more proud to call Jordan my brother. We have experienced a lot together. Though we are the Trans, we couldn’t be any more different (as our friends and family can attest).

In this column, I want to share how Jordan and I have evolved throughout the years and what it’s like being a “twin” in business school.

MEET THE TRANs 

Name: Alexa Tran
Major: Business Administration, concentration in Marketing
Minor: Religion
Campus Involvement: Michigan Marketing and Advertising, BA 100 Peer Coach, Econ 101 Tutor, BBA Marketing Club
Post-grad plans: Marketing Associate at Eli Lilly and Company

Name: Jordan Tran
Major: Business Administration, concentration in Finance
Campus Involvement: Phi Gamma Nu business fraternity, Victors Value Investments, BBA Ambassador, BA 100 Peer Coach, Accounting Tutor
Post-grad plans: Associate Finance Analyst at PepsiCo

As you can see, Jordan and I have really taken different paths at Ross. Our respective interests in marketing and finance developed from the student organizations that we were a part of in high school and eventually in college.

I always knew that I liked marketing because of how creative the field lets you be. In contrast, Jordan has always been a quantitative and analytical person. Our mom helped guide us in finding our respective passions through encouraging us to join various clubs in high school.

Alexa’s surprise 18th birthday party organized by Jordan

In high school, I was the president of the American Red Cross Club. I enjoyed marketing the blood drives by telling my peers that they could save three lives if they donated blood. I also loved coming up with creative campaign ideas. One year, for example, we had a Halloween-themed blood drive! Red Cross also helped develop my interest in pharma, as I enjoyed serving a mission statement and something bigger than myself. Pharma is an industry where I am able to make a difference by helping to improve patient outcomes.

Jordan was the president of a business competition club in high school called Business Professionals of America (BPA). I was part of that club too. The events that we competed in reflected our respective interests.

I was a member of the Global Marketing Team and competed in the individual Entrepreneurship event. Jordan was a part of the Financial Analyst Team and placed 1st in the Accounting individual event in Boston (proud sister moment!). Sadly, I did not qualify for Nationals, so my parents and I watched the livestream of the Nationals Award Ceremony on my computer from home. I tried taking pictures of him on stage and was semi-successful. The pictures weren’t the best quality –  but hey, at least I tried.

Jordan’s take: “My sister and I were definitely interested in business in high school and were a part of BPA. However, going into college, we both kind of wanted different experiences. My sister is pursuing a career in marketing, while I am currently pursuing a career in finance. So even though we are both business students at Michigan, we’ve been able to create our own unique experiences that have allowed us to establish ourselves as individuals in the Ross community.”

2017 prom at the Big House with (from left) Jordan, Alex Kotlyar, Alexa, and Kareem Shunnar,

PROS AND CONS OF ATTENDING THE SAME SCHOOL 

Pro 1:  Sharing Similar Experiences 

The first pro of attending the same school together has been the fact that we are navigating this business school journey together and have someone to share this experience with.

For example: Jordan and I have taken our core business classes together, including Financial Accounting, Business Law, and Technology and Operations. However, we are in different sections (cohorts). This meant that even though we were taking the same classes, we had different professors.

Also, as the children of immigrant parents, there was a lot that Jordan and I had to figure out how to do on our own. In high school, we had to navigate through the college application process, as we had no guidance from older siblings or relatives. We also had to learn how to go through the recruiting process during our junior year of college. It was times like these where I was grateful that I had my brother to lean on. He has been a constant support system that I know I can always rely on.

Jordan’s take: “There is never a day that goes by where my sister and I don’t talk to each other about classes, electives, recruiting, or literally anything. My sister was always my go-to when it came to talking about our different experiences in taking the same class, even though we had different professors. We also both went through recruiting at the same time and it was nice to talk to someone else about the different challenges we each encountered and how we were able to overcome them. Being a college student can definitely be stressful and there have been times where we’re going through the same struggles together, such as the Ross Integrative Semester and recruiting. However, always having someone I can talk to and knowing that person is going through the same challenges as me has allowed me to keep pushing on, knowing there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

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