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Santa Clara University

Living in the US

Interview with Francis Tan, Distinguished First Year Student

Have you declared a major?

As of right now, I haven’t declared, but I’m pretty certain that I’m going to major in Finance and minor in MIS (Management Information Systems).  Because I believe that nowadays, everything revolves around technology so it’ll be useful to know about the coding in Business.

Have you taken any classes that you think are particularly interesting?  Or is there a reason that you’re leaning towards Finance?

Finance mainly because I want to help out my father when I grow up, in his managing company under the Finance department.  So, when I grow up, I want to give him a helping hand, make sure he retires early and happy. Aside from that, I’m also passionate about Finance because I like the idea of thinking about where the money goes and how to allocate the money and I believe Finance is actually a core function in business.  Marketing changes over time, but Finance will always be there, so I think Finance is a really important function to learn.

What kind of business would you be working in, if you work with your father?

He has a business in the Philippines that is a Pharmaceutical company.  Trying to not disappoint, continue the legacy of the family.

How does it feel to be one of thirty Distinguished First Year students?

I was actually a bit surprised to be honest, but it’s very thrilling!  Not because I got recognition, but because I’m really happy for myself in the sense that I can see that I’m developing as a person.  I have a habit of always trying to push myself to the limits, and the fact that I was recognized to be one of the few first year students to get this recognition means that I’m doing something right.  And from there, I just plan on pushing myself more.

Distinguished First Year Students are invited to join the Honors Program at SCU.  Are you planning to join?

It was a difficult choice, I took weeks to actually reach an answer.  I asked my peers and my family of course, and I decided - unfortunately and fortunately - not to.  I decided that if I joined, I would have to give my 100%, because I hate just being partially committed, because I think that when you commit to something, you need to give it all that you can or else you won’t really have fun or perform good under that program.  So, I decided not to, because instead I’ll be part of a couple of other new commitments.  I still need to test the waters.  I recently became part of the Barkada board – the Filipino club.  So that’s something – I need to give my whole to that.  I’m also part of the ACE program in the Business school, we’re a cohort basically, that takes all these workshop skills and experiences.  I just really don’t want to get into something that I won’t be able to give my 100%.  As much as I wanted to, I wouldn’t want to commit to something that I know I won’t be able to give all my efforts to.

What will you be doing on the Barkada Board?

My position is cultural head, it’s basically informing the club about the different cultures in the Philippines and current events.  Making them aware – anything related to culture.  My goal next year, is not restraining this to the club, but actually opening it up to the community of SCU.  I really want to, because Filipino culture in my beliefs is really not that you need to do “this” or “that” but it’s the idea of community and family.  And SCU has a really amazing community, and that is why I wish to extend the Filipino prospects to it.  I think that SCU and the Filipino culture vibe really well together.

And how about for ACE?

ACE Program basically gives us the ability to reach more opportunities.  We’re going to meet once a week on Tuesdays and those meetings involve having guest speakers and interview workshop skills, how to make resumes, and then, we’re going to have field trips with other companies and the connections that we’ll be making will surely be important.  Because in business, nowadays, connections are the most important asset you can have. 

What I like about the ACE program, and why I decided to apply, and fortunately got in, is that I want to be surrounded by people who are equally enthusiastic about developing themselves.  We’ve had two or three meetings just to get to know each other, and everyone in ACE, you can see is passionate about something.  Everyone wants to make a difference – not just learn, but impact the world in one way or another, so that’s something that I believe will make my stay at SCU more meaningful.  Just surrounding myself with people and knowing these kinds of different personalities to push me even more, like a support group.  As they support me, I also wish to support them.  Because ACE program, or any program actually, you shouldn’t be just thinking about your self-development, but as a group grow as a community together.

Are you planning to participate in any Global experiences abroad while a Santa Clara student?

As much as I want to, I think I’ll just stay here.  I’ll take advantage of the resources that are already here.  Maybe I’ll try going out of the Santa Clara bubble – reach out to other cities, or explore California a bit more, because technically, I’m already abroad!

Do you have any plans after SCU?

I plan on trying to work here.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to do that.  Like internships, then work.  The magnificent thing about being abroad, especially in a more developed country than the Philippines is that you get to be part of the community and pinpoint which works out.  Hopefully, by being part of it, and by gaining experience, I’ll be able to take what works here and bring it back to my home country just to make my community – because Philippines is my home – a better place.

What did you try as a First Year college student that you liked or didn’t like?

Barkada Club.  We have Filipino clubs back home, but I didn’t really join the Filipino clubs.  I just wanted to have connections from here to back home, that’s why I joined Barkada.  It actually became one of the best decisions I made this school year, because it surprised me in the sense that a number in the club aren’t even Filipinos or they’ve never even been in the Philippines or anything, but the way they act is that they’re genuinely Filipino.  I feel like they’re more Filipino than I am!  So that really shed light that you don’t need to be a culture by blood to enjoy that culture.  You just need to really be genuine about wanting to be part of that culture and that community and that’s probably a decision I really like, because it gave me a whole new insight about culture.

So what do you still want to try?

Like I said, I want to be more involved out of campus.  I want to explore – that’s my personality.  I always want to be on the go.  When I get a car, or if transportation becomes more flexible, I’ll surely explore the area more.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to find something I enjoy.

Are you planning to get a car next year?


Is there anything else you want to share?

It’s not really sharing, but I guess one of the lessons I learned while here at SCU or as I grew as an individual is that and this is what also helped me decide whether or not to join the honors program – whatever you do, an important thing, wherever you go, is to go with all your heart.  It’s really important to just be passionate about what you’re doing, no matter how minimal or small it may appear, if you put your everything into it, it just amplifies.  The effect just amplifies.  It’s more fun to fall in love with what you’re doing, than to just do it because you need to.  So, that’s what I wanted to share – fall in love.

David Chan

David Chan


"There’s so much to experience here – the culture, the people, it’s sort of diverse.  There are so many opportunities, especially contrasting the North and South.  Relatively close, but sort of a different world."


Francis Tan

Francis Tan


"You don’t need to be a part of a culture by blood to enjoy that culture.  You just need to really be genuine about wanting to be part of that culture and that community and that’s probably a decision I really like, because it gave me a whole new insight about culture."