STUDENTS SAY THEIR HIGH EXPECTATIONS OF TUCK’S ALUMNI NETWORK WERE EXCEEDED
Generally, the MBA students who don’t yet have offers are those who are holding out for jobs in private equity, hedge funds, tech startups or media and entertainment, companies that are less likely to recruit on an early schedule. As Schmidt puts it, “The only people who don’t have jobs yet are being incredibly picky about it.”
The complaints here tend to be inconsequential, if not picky, too. They generally evolve around typical student gripes—parking, cafeteria food or cell service. If there’s something more meaningful that requires change, it might be the very thing that has contributed to such a healthy MBA job market: keeping recruiters off campus for a longer period of time. “During the second week of school, recruiters were coming on campus,” says Michael Pierre. 28, a former operations manager at Bank of America in New York.“It’s a bit too much. At least give us a month. If you go to a 4 p.m. company presentation, it means that you’re not going to get home until 9 or 10 that night. And then you have five hours of homework to do and a study group that isn’t all that pleased.”
Admittedly, it’s a great problem for a business school to have when so many others are still finding it hard to connect with an employer. At Tuck, many of those connections started with the school’s famously loyal and engaged alumni network. Even though expectations of Tuck’s network were high to begin with, students say those expectations were vastly exceeded. Second-year MBA Mike Devine, 29, says that for just one job interview, he spoke with more than 20 Tuck alums, doing extensive phone calls with half of them. They shared candid info on what it was like to work at their company. provided intelligence about the pluses and minuses of different opportunities, and dispensed advice on how to best prep for the interviews. “It’s a lot of paying it forward,” he says.
‘YOU EAT, SLEEP AND BREATHE YOUR CLASSMATES AND YOUR PROFESSORS’
Devine had worked for GE Capital and Credit Suisse before coming to Tuck, interned with Cargill, and has a job lined up with Blackstone in Boston to do M&A advisory work for technology companies. Devine, who earned his undergraduate degree in economics from Dartmouth College, wasn’t expecting to come back to Hanover, N.H., for his MBA. “When I was here, I had no idea why anyone would get an MBA at Dartmouth,” he says. “But after working in New York for four years, I understood it. We all know each other’s names. My fiancee is a classmate here. There are seven couples in our class who came here together.”
In many cases, alumni involvement—more often than not by helping MBA candidates make strong early impressions in interviews—lead directly to job offers. Nuño Adam, 32, a former Accenture manager who did a summer internship with an investment management firm in Miami, says it was an alumni contact who helped him land his job at McKinsey.
That’s why Masland, who has an MBA from Wharton and has been in his career development job for ten years, says he is working to deepen the alumni contact with current students. Every Tuesday, he meets with the school’s career coaches to go over every student’s job prospects. Tuck then follows up in a targeted way with alumni by industry and sometimes geography, sending alums the photos, blurbs and resumes of students still in the market.
Of course, Tuck’s rural location in New Hampshire, the small size of the school, and the ability to live on campus in MBA housing contributes to the strong bonds that often endure over a lifetime. “A lot of other schools will pay lip service to the value of their alumni networks,” says Schmidt. “I’ve never really seen it executed like Tuck. You eat, sleep and breathe your classmates, your professors and your school here. When you go to the grocery store, the gym or a restaurant for dinner, you see your classmates. This is a small town, and that is what Tuck is about.”