Meet Dartmouth Tuck’s MBA Class of 2017

Katelyn Baldwin

Katelyn G. Baldwin

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

Hometown: Wasilla, Alaska

Undergraduate School and Major:  Stanford University (2009): B.A. International Relations; minor in African and Middle Eastern Languages; minor in Jewish Studies

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

  • Manager, Business Development, West Africa and Haiti Region, Chemonics International (2013-2015)
  • Liberia Representative, Chemonics International (2012-2013)
  • Associate, Business Development, Asia Region, Chemonics International (2010-2011)
  • Production Manager and Photographer, the Idan Raichel Project, Israel (2010)

Recalling your own experience, what advice do you have for applicants who are preparing for either the GMAT or the GRE? If you’re passionate about attending business school, approach the GMAT or the GRE with optimism – it is possible to learn and master both tests. All you need to do is carve out time to study and stay dedicated to advancing your progress through a consistent study schedule. Find a tutor or sign up for a class if you work better within a structured environment. Chip away little by little and you will begin to see results, even if it takes some time to get there. Do not give up hope that you are capable of achieving a score that will admit you to your dream school…even if it takes you a few tests to get there (most people take the GMAT or GRE more than once!) And don’t forget to spend time developing your personal story as a compliment to your test score.

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? First, think about geography and program size to scale back a long list. Where do you want to be while you study (urban or rural environment), and to what extent do you want…to know all of your classmates? Next, think about the breadth of degree options your target schools offer. When you start, will all of your classmates be in the same full-time, two-year residential program or will your classmates be in one of many programs (part-time MBA, one-year condensed MBA, full-time two-year MBA, JD/MBA, MPA/MBA, etc.)? It’s important to think about these dynamics because they shape your MBA experience and influence the culture of the school.

Also, don’t initially limit your target schools based solely on rank, because rankings change from year to year. In my opinion, the indicators within rankings are more valuable measurements than the overall rankings themselves. Place emphasis on applying to those schools that rank highly in areas you care about. For example, Tuck’s alumni network and its usefulness in helping Tuckies land jobs consistently ranks extremely highly. This was a very important factor to me.

Finally, there’s no substitute for visiting a school and talking to current students to get a sense for the culture and your fit within the institution.

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? On applying to school, putting in a quality application takes both a significant investment of time and cost. Don’t apply to so many schools that your overall quality per application drops. It varies per person, but in my opinion 4-6 is the ideal range. On “safety” schools, only apply to schools that you would gladly attend if admitted. And if that means you don’t have a safety school, I think that’s fine. If you don’t get into a dream school, you can always apply again the following year.

On admissions interviews, take advantage of open interview policies. I think this is rare at top MBA programs, but Tuck does offer this to prospective students.

On recommenders, definitely convey how important the letter is to your admission success. It’s fair to be clear that you expect a certain investment of the person’s time to write a high quality letter. If she or he cannot invest the time, then she or he probably is not the right recommender. Of course, give your recommenders ample notice and time to prepare the letters (thank them profusely when the process is complete!).

What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? Tuck is an amazing school located in a place of unparalleled beauty. I am impressed and humbled on a daily basis by the quality of this program and the caliber of my fellow students. I ultimately chose Tuck because it offered literally everything I could hope for in an MBA program, including:

  • Culture and student body. My peers are smart, kind, incredible, and supportive. Thus far, my experience at Tuck has exceeded my expectations.
  • The small size was a draw in that I’ll graduate knowing every single one of my classmates.
  • They are top notch, dedicated to the Tuck students, and so far proving to be incredibly accessible.
  • Alumni network. Tuck alumni are passionate about the school and helping Tuckies land their dream jobs.
  • Growing up in Alaska, I appreciate rural places in close proximity to the mountains, with ample opportunities for outdoor activities.
  • Coming from an international development background, gaining a strong general management foundation in the first year through Tuck’s integrated core curriculum was a big draw.
  • Type of MBA program. All students are enrolled in the full-time, two-year MBA program. While there are some dual-degree options, there is no part-time MBA program offered at Tuck.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate? Before I graduate, I hope to get to know every single one of my fellow T’17s (there are 286 of us, so this is very possible) and professors; give back to the Upper Valley community through meaningful involvement in pro-bono consultancy projects; finish my private pilot’s license; hike the Presidential Traverse; learn to model like a pro in Excel; master my quantitative core classes; become an expert at strategy and negotiations; travel overseas to at least five new countries; learn what impact investing actually means (and how to do it); create something that adds lasting value to the Tuck Community that doesn’t already exist; and organize a summer trek to Alaska to show Tuckies my home state. Oh, and how could I forget… I’d also like to get a job!

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