2017 Best MBAs: Kiz Syed, Dartmouth College (Tuck)

Kiz Syed

Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College

“Born in Pakistan, raised in Boston – been American dreaming ever since.”

Age: 29

Hometown: Boston, MA

Fun fact about yourself: I was a member of a perennially losing congressional ultimate Frisbee team.

Undergraduate School and Degree: BA, Boston University, cum laude, International Relations, 2009

Where did you work before enrolling in business school?

2009-2014, U.S. Congress

2014-2015, Beacon Global Strategies

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? Vanguard, Leadership Development Program (Philadelphia)

Where will you be working after graduation? Vanguard, Leadership Development Program

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: President, Class of 2017; Member, Search Committee for Executive Director of Admissions; Capital Markets TA; Co-Captain, Tuck Rowing Club; Tuck Bridge Associate; Smart Woman Securities Seminar Leader

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? In the fall of 2016, we decided to appoint a Diversity and Inclusion Representative to the Tuck Student Board. I’m most proud of this for three reasons:

  1. It was a student-led initiative.
  2. It represents the values and ideals of the Tuck community where we celebrate our differences to create wise business leaders.
  3. It was a joint effort by first- and second-year students.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Helping pass intelligence authorization bills, which provided funding and support to the brave men and women of the United States Intelligence Community.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? John Vogel for showing me that you can do good for the world and for yourself.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Real Estate. In business school we spend a lot of time analyzing and discussing numbers. However, a lot of business issues revolve around relationships. The numbers are just prologue. Your reputation is what carries the day.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Tuck because of its reputation, its location, and its community. Tuck has a storied history of creating wise business leaders and I wanted to be a part of that tradition. In terms of location, I wanted a school that had more of a campus feel. Additionally, I had spent all my life in big cities and I wanted to take some time to immerse myself in nature. Tuck and the Upper Valley checked both of those boxes. Lastly, the people at Tuck are the most creative, smartest, and most kind people I have ever met. I’m privileged to be a part of this community.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? Tuck does an incredible job of assembling a diverse and amazing class from all over the world. I am continually inspired by my classmates. They challenge me, motivate me, and keep me honest! They are the highlight of my time at Tuck.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? If you can, visit before you hit submit on your application! You’ll get a better perspective on the school and your application will likely be stronger because of it.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about Tuck is that you are “in the middle of nowhere.” While the Upper Valley can be serene, Amazon Prime is faster here than it was when I lived in D.C., there is a CVS right across the street from me, and the Dartmouth gym is world-class. The Upper Valley certainly isn’t a major metropolitan area, but it has nearly any amenity you would need.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I wish I got to know the Tuck class of 2016 better.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I can’t pick just one – or even a hundred. My classmates are the highlight of my Tuck experience. I admire all of them.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I began to appreciate how businesses must respond to evolving national security issues.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…in law school!”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I think the MBA experience is as much about personal development as it is about professional development. However, I think that sometimes we ignore the personal and leadership development, because it is not as tangible. One thing I’m really impressed by at Tuck is the willingness to push the envelope on developing wise business leaders who understand business fundamentals and interpersonal relationships. This includes inclusive bias training, live simulations, and group dynamics workshops.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I haven’t thought that far – I’m just trying to make it to graduation right now!

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My mentors who believed in me more than I believed in myself. They took a gamble on me and encouraged (at times, pushed) me to keep reaching higher and higher. I am indebted to them for their support.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Quick with a joke or a hug, Kiz cared – about the school, about its people, about all things Tuck.

Favorite book: I’ll go with favorite piece of literature instead – Paradise Lost.

Favorite movie or television show: For movie, Interstellar or Good Will Hunting. For show, Veep or Silicon Valley.

Favorite musical performer: Jay-Z

Favorite vacation spot: Jerusalem

Hobbies? Rowing, skiing and reading screenplays

What made Kiz such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“Charismatic might be a good word to describe Khizer (Kiz) Syed. People are drawn to him. He is invariably upbeat which people find attractive, but he is also a good listener, a good friend and intensely interested in people and ideas. I got to know Kiz when he was part of a trip I co-lead to Turkey. In class, he seemed intensely interested in learning and I counted on him to contribute thoughtful, incisive comments. The class of 2017 has a different vibe. It seems to be extra inclusive and welcoming. While there are many factors that contribute to class norms, I give a lot of credit to Kiz as the class President and to his leadership style.”

John H. Vogel Jr.

Adjunct Professor and Associate Faculty Director for the Center of Business, Government and Society


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