Meet Dartmouth Tuck’s MBA Class of 2017

Courtney Miller

Courtney Miller

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

Hometown: Cicero, NY

Undergraduate School and Major: United States Military Academy at West Point – Psychology, BS and course of study in Systems Engineering

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: I have been an officer in the United States Army since graduating from West Point. I most recently served in the 3rd Infantry Regiment, most commonly known as “The Old Guard.” Prior to The Old Guard, I served as a platoon leader in the 10th Mountain Division, company executive officer, and battalion senior logistician.  During this time, I deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE?  Spend time evaluating the GMAT and GRE – although most schools will accept either, not all will. Schools will be upfront with applicants about which test they prefer, and you should take the test you feel that you can perform better on. Tuck was open to either the GMAT or the GRE. I strongly believe the admissions process is a holistic one, but it’s important to give these exams attention and time. Some of my peers took formal, structured courses while others focused on self-study. All understood, however, that the test would serve as a great barometer for the admissions committee of an applicant’s candidacy. It can be easy to assume you can study for the GMAT/GRE and complete your application simultaneously; nevertheless, you may be doing yourself a disservice by not giving the test your full attention.

Based on your own selection process, what advice do you have for applicants who are trying to draw up a list of target schools to which to apply?  It’s important to find schools that will give you the opportunities and resources to reach your fullest potential. From my perspective, Tuck is among the best of top business schools when it comes to the academic experience. Where I think it differs from other schools is the personal experience. The best way to understand what sort of personal experience you can expect is to visit. Being on campus will help you prioritize what matters most to you e.g. location, academics, atmosphere, fellow students.

What advice do you have for applicants in actually applying to a school, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf? Many people apply to business school after working for a few years and coming to a crossroads professionally, but often personally too. The most successful applicants are those who are self-reflective about their career and what they want for their future. These ideas form the crux of your essays. The challenge is combining all of the aspects of your life and career that brought you to an MBA program together into something that is cohesive and makes sense. This passion definitely comes out in the interview, but it should also be pervasive throughout your entire application, including the recommendations. Work hand-in-hand with your recommender to explain your career arc and why you are applying to business school. Recommenders are busy people too, so the more you can express to them your purpose and theme, the more even and consistent your application will be.

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA?  I wanted to find a school that would challenge me personally and surround me with a supportive community which would facilitate my development as a person and a leader. The small class size, focus on individual relationships, and case study method really made Tuck stand out as the best choice for me. At any top business school, I knew I would be surrounded by influential professors, students, and alumni. What makes Tuck unique is the level of access we gain to these thought leaders. In the five weeks I’ve been here two experiences have really stood out – I’ve had dinner with the CEO of one of the world’s largest investment management companies and drinks with a senior managing director at one of Wall Street’s most storied firms. Additionally, I’ve been amazed to see how eager Tuck alumni have been to come back and provide guidance to current students.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate?  My time in public service taught me a lot about sacrifice and commitment. However, I recognize that difficult decisions are not just made on the battlefield, they are also made in boardrooms. The CEO of a Fortune 100 company recently came to Tuck and spoke about making tough decisions, especially when you have the weight of your employees, investors, and customers on your shoulders. I hope to learn from the example of many business leaders to gain the strategic intelligence necessary for leading in uncertainty.

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