Alumni Interview: Maggie Tang's Success Story - Midland School

From Stillman to Wharton: An Interview with Maggie Tang '18

Spring 2022

This April, we were delighted to find some time to catch up with Maggie Tang ’18 over Zoom and hear about how her active involvement in the farm-to-table program throughout her four years at Midland shaped her interest in and passion for hospitality.

As a current senior at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Maggie is making waves. She completed multiple theses, including one on emotional culture in Michelin Star restaurants and another on how world-class creativity is fostered amongst the world’s best chefs. Just as she was at Midland, Maggie is a uniter of people — having leveraged networking opportunities to organize events on campus to connect with UPenn alumni. This paved the way for an exciting internship opportunity at Eleven Madison Park, a three Michelin star restaurant named #1 in the world in 2017. She was president of Penn Appétit, UPenn’s student-run school food magazine, and also co-founded Gourmand, an organization dedicated to empowering the next generation of leaders in food. Currently, she is working on her own startup in the restaurant NFT space.

How did Midland shape you and your academic and career path?

Where do I start? I think Midland played a significant role in helping me discover what I was passionate about — restaurants and hospitality. Back at Midland, I used to volunteer in the kitchen with Gloria, Yessie and BG. I helped make Sunday morning breakfast every week starting my sophomore year and loved to bake desserts for the whole community. That inspired my love for hospitality and just making people happy. Additionally, I did my Midland senior thesis on fine dining, and it led to an opportunity during Experiential Week to do a one-week internship at Atelier Crenn, a three Michelin star restaurant. Midland was an incredible experience because it pushed me to explore my interest in restaurants, and helped shape what I’ve gone on to do afterwards.

Tell us about your college career. What are you involved with on campus?

College has been a ton of fun, and I’ve learned and grown so much throughout my four years here. I am currently in the Wharton program at Penn, studying business with a concentration in Management and Operations, Information and Decisions. After going to Midland and being super involved in the kitchen, I wanted to participate in all things food at Penn. I was executive director of our school food magazine, Penn Appétit, and also co-president of the Wharton Hospitality and Travel Club. Beyond the clubs at Penn, one of the highlights of the past four years was building Gourmand, an organization I co-founded to inspire and celebrate the next generation of students interested in food and beverage. We’ve now expanded to six campuses with over 500 students who are excited about restaurants and all things food. Additionally, we’ve hosted fun events and projects to support independent restaurants, such as the Gourmand 52 Deck, a set of playing cards featuring original, hand-drawn illustrations of New York City’s most iconic restaurant dishes. Other highlights at Penn include working on a four-week management masterclass for hospitality professionals. After completing two theses, one with Angela Duckworth on grit and creativity and another with Greg Urban on restaurant culture, I was inspired to create a restaurant training program in collaboration with world-class chefs, Wharton professors and tech entrepreneurs, set to launch later this year.

What do you see in your future after you graduate from UPenn?

I definitely want to stay in the hospitality industry. Last summer, I did an internship in consulting at Bain & Company, and that was awesome. There, I worked with Fortune 500 hospitality companies on reimagining customer loyalty through NFTs and Web 3.0. This led me to work on my own startup that I’m really excited about. We’re building a platform for access-based restaurant NFTs to help increase revenue and engagement in restaurants.

Are you still making desserts in your free time, as you had at Midland?

I wish! I miss baking, but it’s difficult living in the city. I always think fondly of the days when I got to do a ton of that at Midland, and most especially, I miss all the people I got to share the experience with!

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