Times are good for the newly minted MBAs out of Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. The 2014 cohort of Tuckies posted record-setting job placement stats, with 98% having job offers three months after graduation. Average starting salaries jumped to $117,869. Job offers in consulting and tech jumped 8% and 5%, respectively. Tuck MBAs working in “other” were at 4%.
What does working for “other” mean? Paul Turbeville knows.
While many of his fellow grads weighed offers this year from Google or Microsoft and McKinsey or Bain, Turbeville was knocking on the door of the career development office with a rather unusual request. Turbeville wanted a career in brand management not at the likes of PepsiCo or Procter & Gamble, but working for a small, highly collaborative company within a reasonable commuting radius of Dartmouth’s campus in Hanover, New Hampshire. Turbeville literally had a map with a circle. Towns within the circle were OK. Towns outside of the circle were not. It’s good to know what you want.
Turbeville has a young daughter, a wife with a good job at Dartmouth, and didn’t want to leave the quiet rural New England lifestyle. A West Point grad, he came to Tuck in 2012 after a five-year stint as an engineer officer for the U.S. Army. During his service, Turbeville traveled from Kentucky to Iraq to Jordan to Kuwait, gaining immense leadership skills along the way. “No other place puts a 22-year-old in charge of 45 people in a combat situation,” says Turbeville.
JOINING THE TUCK PARTY
Once he left the military, Turbeville took a logical step and spent two years doing government engineering consulting in D.C. while his wife was completing a master’s degree. It was there that Turbeville decided he wanted to work in the private sector and decided an MBA was the best route to get him there. Turbeville targeted a few elite business schools, went through the application process and was accepted to both UC-Berkeley and Tuck.
It was at the wedding of a good friend from the Army, a Tuck graduate no less, that Turbeville learned a valuable and life-changing lesson. Tuckies don’t just rock together—they roll together.
“When you tell a Tuckie you are interested in Tuck and they learn about you, they put you in touch with people,” Turbeville says. “A lot of people from all walks of life. I got a consistent story of a small, tight-knit and collaborative group. Career-wise, there is not a ton of difference in the Top 10 schools and Tuckies really seemed to have a good time.”
A SUMMER INTERNSHIP AT GILLETTE ON THE MACH 3 RAZOR
He packed his bags and went straight to Tuck’s leafy campus in Hanover, N.H. After his first year, Turbeville interned at Gillette doing brand management for the Mach 3 Razor. “I am pretty sure I was mailed a razor almost exactly like it when I was 13,” says Turbeville. “And it was perfect because despite what my Colgate and Unilever friends would say, Procter & Gamble pretty much wrote the book on branding and brand management.”
Turbeville was immersed in all things Mach 3. He did some creative work. He investigated expansion opportunities in Asia. He examined shelf space and retail margins at Wal-Mart. Turbeville learned two things about himself through the experience. First, he loves brand management. Second, he loves working in small, intimate and collegial teams at small companies. That spurred his knocking on the career development office door for a less-than-mainstream MBA job.
Last January, there was a knock on the same door, this time it was from Pete and Gerry’s. Not to be confused with another northeast food brand, Ben & Jerry’s, Pete and Gerry’s produces and distributes organic eggs and is located in Monroe, New Hampshire—about 50 miles from Tuck’s campus. They were hoping to hire an MBA who wanted to work in rural New Hampshire doing brand management. The cosmos was alive and aligning for Turbeville.
A COMPANY THAT JIBED WITH HIS PERSONAL VALUES AND DIRECTION
Turbeville initially met with the Pete and Gerry’s family at Tuck. He learned about how they had been producing eggs as a family for four generations. And how they became the first certified humane egg producer in the country in 2003. He also learned that Pete and Gerry’s had in 2013 earned the distinction of being the first egg producer to gain certification as a B Corporation, meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
For Turbeville, it all seemed too good to be true.
They help about 85 other small, locally-owned farms fend off the factory farms taking over American agriculture by collecting eggs and distributing them to supermarkets and food stores across the Northeast. “It is a unique and inefficient design by nature,” Turbeville says. “We own the feed and the hens and they own the farms. We are giving them a better chance to survive.”