Vedrana B. Greatorex
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: A tenacious, passionate, problem solver who enjoys turning challenges into advantages.
Hometown: Zagreb, Croatia
Fun Fact About Yourself: I was a member of the Croatian National Youth Ski Team which allowed me to travel a lot. Between skiing and personal travel, I have been to over 20 countries. Not nearly enough!
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Massachusetts, Isenberg School of Management, BBA with focus on Management
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
(I worked full time while completing my undergraduate degree. I graduated in 2010)
2006-2007 Technical Specialist Corrective Actions Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, Vernon, VT
2007-2016 Nuclear Plant Operator, Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, Vernon, VT
2013-2016 Fire Brigade Commander, part of my duties as a plant operator
2015-2016 Founder and Executive Director, Carry Me Home Non-Profit Organization
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: There are two that I am particularly proud of.
The first one was breaking into the operations department at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. Traditionally, this position is filled with individuals who have completed the Navy Nuclear program. I was the fourth woman to be hired for the position in about 40 years of plant operations. I had no technical background but felt I would be successful in this position. I applied for the position, passed the necessary aptitude test, did well in my interview and after a lot of persistence was allowed to join the 2008 operator class. In the end I had the second highest average in the class and was third in qualifications. My performance helped change the perception of non-traditional candidates and subsequent classes saw higher numbers of women and non-traditional candidates hired.
In the fall of 2015, I became really concerned and affected by the refugee situation unfolding in Europe. Being a mom to two small kids and having lived through the war in Croatia in the 1990s, I felt a need to do something. What started as an organic effort by one person grew into a non-profit organization that engaged over 100 local volunteers, developed a supply chain throughout New England, raised over $30,000 for our shipping fund and had eight staff volunteers with developed job descriptions. Ultimately, we collected and shipped 4 metric tons of carefully selected, donated items on a cost-effective basis. Getting the photos back of children dressed in warm clothing and shoes that we sent, or seeing some small relief on parents’ faces when they were given a baby carrier to help ease their journey was well worth the effort. It is bittersweet work when you realize that so much more is needed, especially things that cannot be shipped like dignity, education and safety.
Looking back on your experience, what advice would you give to future business school applicants? Starting early and planning ahead is one approach. If your circumstances don’t allow for that, do not write off your MBA dreams. My decision to pursue an MBA program was sudden, and due to my personal circumstances, I really only had one application season to make it happen. I did not start anything until June and applications were due starting in early October.
I have a few tips related to the GMAT. Definitely start with the diagnostics tests.Focus on understanding the solutions. If you understand the solution, you will be able to apply concepts you learn to a variety of problems. Do not neglect the verbal section. Small percentile improvements in your verbal section will have greater impact on your overall score than the same improvement in math. A lot of my energy went into learning to let go of a problem that was taking too long to solve during a test, even when I felt I was “so close.” Listen to GMAT podcasts on commutes. It helped me balance out the time spent between math and verbal sections.
I will echo the frequent advice about essays and recommendations. In essays, strive to find your unique voice. For recommendations, make sure you work with your recommenders. Help them understand what admissions wants to hear about—it is not necessarily the same as what makes you good at your job.
Remember that you can create your own opportunities. If you are not finding enough leadership opportunities within your job, find a need in your community that you feel passionate about and work to create a solution.
What led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA? I applied to several schools but I desperately wanted to go to Tuck. Coming here is coming home. I thrive in small, personal environments. I remember just how excited I was after coming to the summer visit day. We had a mock class with Professor Argenti. He managed to orchestrate the discussion like he was a conductor of a symphony orchestra, pulling on threads and student experiences to navigate the case study. The last to speak was Dean Slaughter. He had just assumed the deanship, and he truly “sold” the school to me. He spoke with passion about the importance of meaningful global leadership that extends beyond personal financial gain. I knew then I had found the right place. My husband summed it up nicely when he said he has never been to a place where everybody was so happy and excited to be right where they were.
Tell us about your dream job or dream employer at this point in your life? I have started working with the Career Development Office at Tuck because I want to explore a few paths before I settle on a final trajectory. My initial plan was to pursue a career in energy strategy. That would build upon my previous experience, is work I feel very passionately about, and I can have a meaningful impact on problems we face nationally and globally. However, I have recently discovered non-profit crisis management and that feels powerful, so I plan to tug on those strings and see where they lead. I expect I will discover new paths and careers thanks to my peers. Right now I am keeping my eyes open and my nose to the grindstone.
What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I want my peers to feel that I was there for them and helpful when they needed me. I want them to say I delivered an excellent product on time, every time. I want to leave knowing that I gave as much as I received or more. Somehow I want to know that me being there made their Tuck experience that much Tuckier.
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