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

Alexa (2nd from Left) and Jordan (Far Right) with their friends Jacqueline and Will Tso

Pro 2: Sharing Friends

Another pro of attending the same school as my brother has been that we both get to have double the friends! (Just kidding, but not really.)

It honestly has been super nice to have a collective friend group and to receive ongoing support from so many people. Some people probably think that it’s weird that Jordan and I do hang out together and have so many mutual friends. For me, it has been a great way to spend more time together, especially since we will be moving to different cities after graduation. I am really going to miss him, but I’ll definitely be visiting a lot!

Jordan’s take: “The best thing about going to the same school is that I’ve been able to become friends with my sister’s friends and she’s been able to do the same with my friends. I definitely wanted my own group of friends and wanted to establish myself as my own person going into college. But COVID made me realize that we have to keep our circle small and it’s been really nice to hang out with my sister, her friends, and my friends. It doesn’t seem like they are ‘my sister’s friends’ or ‘my friends’. We’re just all friends with each other.”

Con 1: Comparing Ourselves To Each Other

A con of attending the same school is that my brother and I do compare our progress with each other. I mean it’s only human nature to do that. But comparing yourself to your sibling takes it to another level. Jordan and I are both competitive and going to business school together has only enhanced this.

Jordan and I have compared our grades and exam scores with each other, especially since we were taking the same classes. During recruiting, we would compare the number of interviews that we both received.

It was discouraging and frustrating when Jordan would get a higher exam score than I would or when he would be receiving interview-after-interview while I was still waiting to hear back from companies.

However, I came to realize that Jordan and I are two totally different people with our passions, interests, and skill sets. We both got accepted to Ross because we are our own selves who have different skill sets to offer.

Jordan (Left) and Alexa Tran from October 2020

Jordan’s take:  “It is human nature to compare yourself with your sibling and this got amplified when my sister and I first started school here at Ross. We compared everything from grades on exams to how many interviews we got while going through recruiting. There were times where we would get jealous of each other. However, as the years have gone by and we’ve grown older, we’ve both realized that we are pursuing two completely different career paths and therefore, we just excel at different subjects. That competition and feeling of jealousy has turned into one of encouragement and being supportive of each other’s achievements. We both were really happy for each other when we got our internships and full time offers at the companies we wanted. I think that’s how siblings should be. It was never like we envied one another when we were ‘competing’ in the past, but we just wanted to be the best students we could be and now we’ve realized that we can be the best students in our own right and in different ways.”

 Con 2: No Separate Identities

It has been nice to have such a close relationship with to my brother and to share mutual friends. However, sometimes you begin to crave your own identity. This is something that Jordan and I both struggled with throughout our lives ever since he skipped a grade. We were finally able to break out of it in high school and college when we pursued our own passions and interests.

Still, business school is kind of a bubble and people often associate Jordan and I together. Some people see us collectively as “the Trans” and not Alexa or Jordan. It’s funny because depending on who people meet first, Jordan will sometimes be called “Alexa’s brother” – or “Jordan’s sister.” These labels get kind of old after a while, but I’ve come to ignore it. Once people get to know us both, they’ll realize how different we are.

Jordan’s take: “Being in the same grade and always at the same schools has been challenging at times. Although I took no offense when people called us ‘the Trans’, I also wanted to be known as Jordan and I know my sister wanted to be known as Alexa. We’re two people and even though we have the same core values, we have two different personalities. In high school, my sister and I were part of the same big friend group so we would still always be around each other. But in college, we’ve been able to establish ourselves by pursuing our own interests and making new friends.”

MEET OUR FRIENDS 

Our friends (who are all Ross seniors) have seen us in the different stages of our lives and have all played a pivotal role in our college experience. I thought it would be fun to interview some of them to see what they really thought of both Jordan and I and how we have changed in the time that we have known them.

(From Left) Alex Kotlyar, Alexa, and Jordan

Name: Alex Kotlyar
When did you meet Alexa/Jordan: I met Jordan in 6th grade science class.
Describe Jordan in 3 words: Empathetic, goofy, and remembers everything
Describe Alexa in 3 words: Sarcastic, sassy, and caring
In the time that you have known them, how have they changed? They have both stayed similar at heart. Jordan is much more social than he used to be and Alexa got funnier.

Name: Kareem Shunnar
When did you meet Alexa/Jordan: I met Alexa in 6th grade choir class.
Any fun stories with “the Trans”: I think my favorite story was when Jordan texted me to take Alexa out for her surprise 18th birthday party. It was my job to take Alexa around so she didn’t know there was going to be a celebration, and I don’t think I have met any group of siblings who would do something so nice for each other.
How are Alexa and Jordan similar: They are both super caring for each other. Like I said, I will never forget Jordan texting me for Alexa’s party or how he posts for her on social media on every birthday. It’s just the small things in a sibling relationship. Also they hang out with each other, which is crazy to me as I know very few siblings that have each other in their social circles.

Name: Shannon Ors
When did you meet Alexa/Jordan: Summer before freshman year during Ross Summer Connection (RSC), an outreach program at Ross
Who did you meet first: I think I met Alexa first. My first memory was during an icebreaker activity and everyone had to share their favorite color. Alexa said pink which was appropriate because she was also wearing a pink dress. I really admired how confident she was and knew I wanted to be friends with her.
Any fun stories/favorite memory with “the Trans”: Not necessarily a story, but I am always trying to get them to apply for The Amazing Race. I think they would dominate! Alexa could do all the interpersonal challenges like persuading random strangers to help them and I would imagine Jordan would be good at the puzzles and riddles.
How are Alexa and Jordan different: Alexa is one of those people who is the best version of herself and most fulfilled when she is busy. She always needs to be doing something, which makes her a great friend who is willing to try out new restaurants, museums, and parks! Jordan can be a little more laid back and happy to just relax during those unscheduled days.

Jordan and Alexa were given a private tour of the Big House as part of the RSC program

Name: William Tso
When did you meet Alexa/Jordan: I met Jordan through Academic Success coaching for Econ 101 in the fall semester of our freshman year. I met Alexa through Jordan, but honestly don’t remember when or where.
Describe Jordan in 3 words: Fun, outgoing, helpful
Describe Alexa in 3 words: Caring, exciting, positive
How are Alexa and Jordan similar: Alexa and Jordan are both great friends whom I love to share time with and have fun when hanging out. Both are there for you when you need them and great people to be around.

HOW WE HAVE CHANGED

Jordan and I have definitely changed in college. I mean, who hasn’t? College has been some of the most transformative years of my life. I have learned so much about who I am, what I value, and what I am passionate about.

It has been fun to attend the same school as my brother. I honestly cannot imagine my college experience without him in it. I’ve been able to see him evolve into such a confident and outgoing person. It’s been amazing to see him lead in his role as president of his business fraternity, PGN.

Jordan’s take: “We’ve both evolved in so many different ways. My sister was always the more outgoing sibling between the two of us and it always seemed like it was easier for her to make friends and find people to hang out with. For me, it took me awhile to become more social and outgoing and I can wholeheartedly attribute that to joining VVI and PGN. Both of these incredible organizations have allowed me to break out of my shell and make some of my life-long friends and I definitely would still be a more reserved individual if it wasn’t for these two organizations.”

LESSONS I’VE LEARNED

Over the years of being a “twin”, I have learned a couple of things:

1) Differentiate Yourself

2) Don’t Compare Yourself

3) Always Support Each Other

For those of you who may not be a “twin” in business school, these learnings are still applicable because you can think of your peers as your business school siblings. At the end of the day, we are all our own individuals with our own unique interests and passions. We should strive to support each other as we navigate business school and life together.

As I am writing this, it is Thanksgiving break and I want to express my gratitude for my friends, family, and my brother. I am grateful to have had such an amazing college experience so far and I owe it to the support from my friends and family (you know who you are).

Though being called a “twin” may be annoying, I wouldn’t trade being one half of “the Trans” for anything. Embracing my identity as a “twin” has only enhanced who I am and I am grateful for everything that being a “twin” has to offer.

My name is Alexa Tran and I am a senior at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business studying Business Administration with a minor in Religion. I was born and raised in Ann Arbor, so I knew that I always wanted to be a Wolverine! I am passionate about traveling, mentorship, iced coffee, and Trader Joe’s. I enjoy spending time with friends and family and managing my travel Instagram and blog: @adventuringwithalexa.

DON’T MISS: ROSS REFLECTIONS: UNEXPECTED LESSONS FROM AN INTEGRATIVE SEMESTER

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