The insider's guide to the Jerome Fisher Program at the University of Pennsylvania

Crafting Paths at Penn: Combining Concentrations

With close to two dozen Wharton concentrations to choose from, M&T students are able to take their dual degrees in a number of different directions. Some M&Ts decide to concentrate in more than one area or craft their own concentrations.

Serena Tsay, Class of 2017, will graduate with a unique combination in Marketing and Operations Management (MAOM), Managing Electronic Commerce, and Retailing (RETG). She shared with us what attracted her to each and how they fit together.

What are each of your concentrations? What are their foci?

  • Marketing and Operations Management (MAOM) – Focuses on the intersection of marketing and operations in new product development
  • Managing Electronic Commerce – Hits on information strategy, venture capital/entrepreneurial management, and enabling technologies
  • Retailing (RETG) – Provides a great overview of the retailing industry, looking at supply chain management, pricing, and real estate

What drew you to each? How has your experience at Penn furthered your interests?

Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs and family-owned businesses, I’ve always been involved in new product development and the creation of channels for discovery and purchase. With shopping habits shifting online, I wanted to learn how to take these products from traditional to digital mediums. Each concentration contributes to that motive in some way.

Penn offers unparalleled classes, activities, and alumni involved in the e-commerce sector. In the past four years, I’ve had the opportunity to learn from individuals from Spring, Boxed, Bluemercury, Refinery29, Curalate, and Warby Parker, just to name a few. The breadth of classes here teaches thorough problem solving, from the design of new products to the marketing, pricing, executing, accounting, and supply chain behind them.

How do you see these concentrations working together?

They work together pretty seamlessly: MAOM looks into developing new products and services (creativity processes, service operations, digital marketing), Managing Electronic Commerce helps scale the operations behind it, and RETG helps determine price, supply chain, and location.

How have these concentrations blended with your work as a systems engineer?

These concentrations help me ask the right questions. Let’s say you want to develop a highly complex product. Where do you source, globally? How do you predict demand? What are some processes you need to implement to limit manufacturing error? Cultural differences?  How many truckers do you need to hire to ensure steady shipments?

The engineering work provides the answers. While systems engineering often doesn’t focus on the development of technology, it focuses on optimizing the performance of technology. Many systems design and implementation classes teach modeling reliability and risk mitigation for large complex problems. Some problems systems engineering can solve include determining service levels of a store to minimize wait time, identifying areas of risk when developing a product, and making the optimal decisions in a dynamic environment.

In the end, I’ve found my concentrations lead high-level thought processes while skills from my engineering work are used to implement the solutions.

What advice do you have for students trying to decide on an area of study or concentration?

Think about a problem you’re interested in. What skills do you need to help solve it? Once you know that, start researching how Penn’s resources can serve those interests. Highly recommend searching PennInTouch, walk-in advising hours for double-counting course credit and petitions.


Serena Tsay is a systems engineer in the Class of 2017. She will be sub matriculating into the systems engineering Master’s program at Penn, spending her next semester in Sydney, Australia before finishing off her last semester at Penn in Spring 2018. She values the great people, resources, and community found in the M&T Program.

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