Reflection On A Dartmouth Tuck Coffee Chat

Tuck SignI attended a Tuck Coffee chat a couple weeks ago and was eager to see what my first face to face meeting with a top tier business would be like.  I was also interested in sizing up my peers and hearing their stories.

I woke up bright and early, put on a buttoned down oxford shirt and dark pants, and hopped on the bus for the 7:30 a.m. chat.  On my way down I browsed the glossy Tuck brochure I had requested weeks prior to get familiar with school and also take note of anything I had missed from my research on the school’s website.

When I arrived at the Starbucks, I didn’t see anyone in Tuck attire on the first floor so I bought a coffee and wandered upstairs to see if they might be on the second floor.  Sure enough, there was one lady in a Tuck polo sitting at a square table surrounded by perspective students.  The table was not large enough for everybody and we all had to squeeze together.  I feel very comfortable sitting in close proximity to total strangers so this didn’t really bother me.  It actually made it feel like a group of friends talking and that help ease the butterflies fluttering around in my stomach.

The Competition

Right as I sat down I noticed one attendee who stuck out I the group as he was dressed in a Marine Corps Officer uniform.  A moment of jealously hit me (see my first post) before I introduced myself to each person around the table.

From what I remember the group consisted of the following individuals:

  • White Male Marine Officer.
  • Two young Asian women.  Dressed conservatively in business suits.
  • A white male in his late 20s who worked in construction.
  • An Indian male. Mid-20s. Dressed casually like a ‘Start-up’ guy.
  • An Indian female who has participated in Tuck’s Bridge Business Program.
  • A light skinned male dressed in a suit. Worked for Boeing.

 

My last introduction was to the Tuck representative and she greeted me with a warm smile.  It also just so happened that I got to sit right next her after a shuffling around of chairs to squeeze in one late comer.

Q & A

The chat started out with the admissions representative giving a quick overview of the school.  She really played up Hanover, New Hampshire and how it is a different experience that going to a school in a sprawling metropolis.   She also mentioned that the intramural hockey team was particularly popular.  This was nice to hear as I learned how to ice skate in college and fell in love with sport while playing on my fraternity’s team for a couple of years.

As she ended her opening remarks, each of us went around the table and formally introduced ourselves.  By the time the last person spoke, I noticed that I was the only one not applying within the next two years.

Next, she opened up the floor to questions and what happened next kind of surprised me.  The people around the table were asking the most basic of questions.  I say that because a majority of the questions were things you could find out on the website or by doing a quick Google search.   I felt like a few people were asking a question just to make their presence known.  I would of thought that a few of these folks would have been more prepared and ask a question that go beyond the things that you could find out with a little bit of research.  However, this was not the case in this situation.  Without trying to sound like a know-it-all, I definitely subscribe to the theory that there are no stupid questions, but to be honest I didn’t learn anything new for about the first thirty minutes.  Also, there was one person that asked 4-5 questions.  A bit of an air-hog you might say but overall the group was noticeably shy so this kept the conversation moving along without any awkward silence.

I got in my question by mentioning my move to Brazil and tied it into somewhat of a curveball inquiry by asking about the Partners Club.  The Tuck representative not surprisingly said that the community among the Tuck families was unlike any other elite business school.  This is particularly enhanced by the fact that spouses/partners could audit Tuck classes for free.  My girlfriend and I will be making my business school decision together and this was music to my ears.  The schools that do a good job at incorporating significant others will get high marks in our book.

As the chat wrapped up, a couple of the attendees lurched toward the Tuck representative for some quality face time.  I even saw a couple of them have gifts in their hands.  I’m not sure how I feel about this approach but to each his/her own.  I chose not linger around as I still have plenty of time to have my shining moment at other Tuck events in the future.

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