my story

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Hi! Thanks for visiting my website.

I'm currently a student in the Wharton MBA program and formerly a management consultant at McKinsey & Company with experience in strategy, startup operations, product marketing, and organization design. I am also a performing singer-songwriter who has released an original album and music videos.

I am driven by my passion and interest in art, design, business, and immersive experiences. My goal is to tell stories that educate, build empathy, and spark the imagination.

At school, I dedicate my time to a number of organizations, including serving on the Boards of PennImmersive (Penn's AR/VR organization) and the Wharton Innovation & Design Club. I am also a Leadership Fellow and co-President of the Public Speaking Club, where I help mentor, coach, and play facilitator for peers in their personal and professional development journeys.

Want to get in touch? Email me at isabellatang07@gmail.com or find me on LinkedIn.


A bit more about me

When I was five years old, my parents took me down an aisle of a Toys “R” Us  and asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Overwhelmed, I pointed randomly to a colorful box. The very next day, the Super Mario All-Stars game was underneath our tree – a brilliant compilation of five treasured titles released 1985 to 1993. This event was significant for two reasons. First, I completely bypassed believing in the Santa myth. And second, I fell in love with Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and gang – the strange whimsical worlds they inhabited, the goofy musical themes, the buoyantly heroic storylines, the thrill of advancing to the next level in the game.

At the Stanford freshman "Fro Show."

At the Stanford freshman "Fro Show."

Super Mario All-Stars might very well be where it all began. The following years of exploration were a gradual build-up of creative mediums – “levels,” if you will.  For example, Level 1: I wrote my first poem when I was eight years old, in 3rd grade science class. It was about the birds and the bees (quite literally; we were learning about ecosystems). Level 2: Around this time, I also began taking classical piano lessons and fell in love with the instrument. Level 3: At thirteen, I wrote my first song with lyrics, combining piano with poetry. 

Throughout high school, I considered myself a classical pianist interpreting someone else's work, not a singer-songwriter. But, after a thrilling debut performance at my college's freshman year talent show, I realized that telling stories through music brought a lot of joy to me  – and to other people. I began to write and perform more, eventually earning the opportunity to open for 8-time Grammy-nominated R&B artist Jazmine Sullivan.

 

After college, I continued to pursue singing and songwriting while working as a management consultant in Los Angeles. I played everything from small scrappy gigs to corporate galas and historic venues like the House of Blues. It was a real roller coaster ride, filled with humbling lows, like playing to an audience of four, as well as serendipitous wins, like placing Top 5 in an international songwriting competition.

During this time, I also wrote and produced an original pop album, embracing my classical and acoustic roots while experimenting with more modern electronic sounds – and occasionally, even rap.

The inspirations for my album are eclectic.  Lyrical influences include Bon Iver, Sara Bareilles, T.S. Eliot, Maya Angelou, and late night instant message conversations. Compositional heroes include Chopin, Debussy, and Hans Zimmer. I adore puns, probably too much.  A music blog once described me as having "Broadway-ready vocals and knack for poetically cerebral yet quirky lyrics." 

At the House of Blues in Hollywood. Photo by Lesley Park for LA Music Blog.

At the House of Blues in Hollywood. Photo by Lesley Park for LA Music Blog.

 
On set for the production of "Passenger."

On set for the production of "Passenger."

It was producing my music video "Passenger" that gave me my first taste of a multi-sensory production -- the ultimate level so far. In the video, I played one of two characters exploring a series of surreal fantasy worlds, from dancing through a star-filled galaxy on a beach to exploring a floating art gallery. I loved the magic of adding camera direction, set design, and digital effects to immerse the viewer into a story, a game, a journey, an adventure.

By then, I had gathered a hodge-podge collection of fascinations, from Super Mario to Cirque du Soleil to escape rooms to immersive theatre.  I realized that, as vastly different as they may seem, they are all united by common elements: sensory immersion in a different universe, a compelling narrative, and a shared social experience.

 

Recently I spent a lovely summer as a Corporate Strategy MBA intern at Princess Cruises. Here at the intersection of travel, hospitality, and entertainment, I gained a close-up view of how a floating city / theme park can literally and figuratively transport people into new worlds and new adventures. I also got a firsthand look at how companies are developing digital technologies to enhance the analog experience.

I recognize that immersive technologies can exponentially magnify these analog experiences. Among my favorite VR experiences: I embodied a dancing amoeba in an evolutionary journey over several billion years, and I glimpsed the set of stark choices that a journalist might make while being interrogated by an oppressive regime. I am fascinated by the ways in which augmented reality and virtual reality are being applied, across industries and businesses.

I want to keep telling stories and keep exploring new possibilities. As I reflect upon our current times and look forward, I truly believe in the potential of immersive technologies and experiences to educate, empathize, inspire, and delight – and ultimately, to enrich our stories and change our realities for good.

At a conference in New York, trying on an AR headset.

At a conference in New York, trying on an AR headset.

Keeping room in my heart for the unimaginable. A still from "Passenger."

Keeping room in my heart for the unimaginable. A still from "Passenger."


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