How much does Tuck’s location play a part in those sorts of things and drawing entrepreneurial-minded MBAs when so many competitor schools are located in entrepreneurial hubs?
There is a good and a bad of our location, I suppose. It’s two hours from Boston. Having said that, I think the remoteness is part of what creates loyalty to Tuck and to Dartmouth. And it’s the reason why Tuck’s alumni giving rate is twice as high as any of the other business schools on a percent basis. It’s the reason that you can always call up a Tuckie as an alum and they will pick up your phone call. This place really self-selects for people that are willing to immerse themselves in the environment up here. As far as entrepreneurship is concerned, that’s a really good thing. There are actually quite a few great alumni and non-alumni that live in this area just because of Dartmouth and Tuck. And so we have a captive audience on those people. That’s a different dynamic than it would be in a city.
But I do think one of the things we need to overcome is the challenges to be very intentional and concentrated in the experiences you offer the students — especially those available in the cities and these fertile areas for entrepreneurship or any other industry. One of those experiences is the Bay Area trek for incoming MBAs. With Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, there is a west coast trek to work with startups out there. We do a conference in San Francisco as well as a conference back on campus. It’s intentional things like that to make up for the shortcomings of our geography. But I think largely, our geography ends up creating more good than not.
What’s the bottom-line pitch for entrepreneurship at Tuck?
We do an outstanding job lowering the barriers of entry into entrepreneurship. That’s the bottom line. There are a variety of ways we do that. We have a general management curriculum but we also have 17 entrepreneurship-related courses at Tuck plus more across campus. We have programs and co-curricular activities at Tuck and across Dartmouth. We have fully supported and subsidized internship programs. We have access to capital via our business plan competitions. We have this really powerful network that I mentioned earlier. And I think lastly, the one piece I haven’t hit on is Tuck really focuses on creating an experiential learning component to the program. It’s mandatory for graduation. And students can apply their experiential learning opportunities to startups and early-stage ventures with very low risk. This is an opportunity for them to test the entrepreneurial waters in a risk-free environment and get class credit for it in most cases.