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Meet Dartmouth Tuck’s MBA Class Of 2019

Some of the MBA students in the Class of 2019 at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business

Most people head to New Hampshire to get away from it all. It is a rustic land of colonial bed and breakfasts, apple orchards, and pumpkin patches. Here, the four seasons converge, making it the perfect place to reflect and imagine – all with a backdrop of clear crackling brooks and majestic whitecaps surrounded on all sides by maple and spruce trees. People come to New Hampshire to spread out and blend, knowing neighborly New Englanders won’t insert themselves into their business.

For the Class of 2019 at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, the Upper Valley is actually a place to come together. In the 293 member class, there is no place to hide. Think of Tuck as the personification of the communitarian spirit – a self-select program where students seek “a truly immersive, transformative experience” in the words of Darryn J. Lee, a BlackRock relationship manager from California. At Tuck, you won’t find any pesky undergrads or imperious doctoral candidates siphoning off resources. Instead, the program is geared exclusively to MBAs – a postcard perfect resort where the majority of students live in posh dorm rooms replete with private baths.

A PLACE WHERE EVERYONE KNOWS YOUR NAME

This remote setting, coupled with a culture of camaraderie, creates perhaps the most unique dynamic found in any American MBA program. “A small campus is exactly what I wanted because I want to be really close with my classmates and professors, and those that choose Tuck tend to want something similar,” says Lee. Emma He, an MBA to Watch from the 2017 Class, frames the Tuck experience more starkly. “Tuck is a very tight community. You will not only know your classmates’ names, but also their partners’ names, their baby’s name, and their dog’s name. Be prepared to spend a lot of time together.”

On the surface, that might give some MBA candidates pause – even those who crave fresh air and forests. In fact, the first question many ask is, “What is there to do in Hanover, New Hampshire?” (Aside from huddling around the fireplace, that is). Turns out, Tuckies (as they’re called) have a special talent for making their own fun. Not that it’s all that hard with the wealth of skiing, hiking, biking, and fishing opportunities nearby. Plus, the ocean is just an hour awa…and you can drive New York City in an afternoon too. Beyond that, the school is known for student-run social and academic activities galore. When those quieter times finally come, the school is the perfect place to slow down and have real conversations over coffee.

In other words, if you’re bored at Tuck, you’re probably the one who’s boring.

Stell Hall at the Tuck School of Business

“I’ve found that we’re more creative with how we spend our time — and much more deliberate about the people with whom we spend it,” explains Tom Allin, a classmate of He who graduated this spring. Lee has a different take. “Tuck’s location and class size are a recipe for close friendships and introspection,” he explains. “When you’re based in rural Hanover, NH, where the closest major city is Boston (2 hours away), what else is there to do but study and have fun with the people there?

FROM AN OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST TO A BRAZILIAN SUPERMODEL (SORT OF)

Looking at the 2019 Class, there is plenty of fun to be had over the next two years. The class comes to Hanover after working for 256 different employers over the past year, with experiences ranging from managing sales for Google to leading platoons in Afghanistan. The majority are changing career like Ahra Cho, who describes herself as a “former teacher turned medical student, escaping to b-school.” It is a class that comes from all walks of life as well. Lee is a first generation college student; Tayo Odusanya is a mother and teacher from Atlanta who already has one master’s degree to her credit; and William Taylor is a banker-turned-consultant “with a passion for building community through technology, retail, architecture and hospitality.”

Alas, you won’t find a bigger career changer than Gillian Apps, who joins Cho in returning to Dartmouth. She calls herself a “washed up Canadian hockey player” – washed up, that is, after winning three Olympic gold medals for Team Canada in women’s ice hockey! Speaking of transitions, Katie Donovan, who studied the history art and architecture as an undergrad, might want to settle on an identity at Tuck. She describes herself as “equal parts Ohio redneck, New England prepster, Vermont hippie and Silicon Valley techie.” Her claim to fame? “I once accidentally exiled the rapper, Pitbull, to Kodiak, Alaska. Never underestimate the power of the Internet!”

The class has certainly had their brushes with celebrity…well, sort of. Lee was a finalist on Fear Factor –the live show at Universal Studios. Chicagoan Orlando Gómez, whose journey has taken him from the Peace Corps to Credit Suisse, once pitched Flava Flav on expanding his fried chicken empire. And Brazilian Swellen T. Macieira nearly became the next Gisele…for the Pampers set. “I used to be a Brazilian super model, to be more precise, a baby model,” she shares. “I won a few beauty contests for babies and was invited to shoot for Johnson & Johnson but my father did not like the idea of having his baby’s face everywhere. He was too jealous and my career as a super model finished before it began.”

A CLASS FILLED WITH TEACHERS…IN ONE FORM OR ANOTHER

If one trait defines the Class of 2019, it would be determination. Apps learned to waterski when she was just three years old. Katie Hill was so determined to see a snow leopard in its natural habitat that she camped in the Himalayas for two weeks at 4,000 feet (perfect prep for Hanover winters). Her resilience was rewarded when she saw two of those notoriously reclusive cats. Speaking of adventurous, Matthew O’Sullivan spent nine days motorcycling across Mongolia. And Travis Cyphers is either clairvoyant or very, very driven. He listed two goals as a third grader: He wanted to serve in the U.S. Army and become a teacher. In the end, he was promoted to captain – and was among the 2% of applicants selected to teach at West Point.

Cyphers isn’t the only class member who delivered results while giving back. Cho takes pride in 100% of her students passing the Texas Statewide Examinations, achieving scores that were 30% above state and national standards. Not to be outdone, Odunsanya produced a 147% increase in the number of students in her classes who scored at the highest level on the state assessment. For Gonzalo Charró, who was named “Rookie of the Year” by Google for new business sales in the Americas, his startup is an effort to address an issue close to home for him. “My two siblings suffer from celiac disease,” he explains. “Three years ago, I decided to chase my lifelong dream of becoming an entrepreneur: I started up a bakery to produce and commercialize high-quality gluten-free products, with tangible impact on the celiac community.”

Other Tuck first-years found their purpose by pushing for greater diversity where it was needed. As an intern at BlackRock, barely 1% of Lee’s class was African American. Looking ahead, he vowed to make an impact. Eventually, he built a recruiting pipeline that engaged with minority candidates, enabling him to raise a quarter million dollars for his cause. At the same time, Gómez taught finance and investing to a local mother’s club – and quickly discovered how much his efforts really mattered.

Tuck in winter.

“The advice seemed relatively straight-forward to me, but once I was done with the workshop the women showed me that there was value in sharing it anyways,” he shares. “One-by-one, each woman stood up and thanked me for taking the time to teach them these basic business concepts because no one had ever thought them capable of becoming business owners. This newfound knowledge was a tremendous gift for them and their families.”

TUCK TIES WHARTON FOR HIGHEST CONCENTRATION OF WOMEN

Tuck’s performance during the 2016-2017 recruiting cycle was up across nearly every measure. Applications rose to 2,610, a rise of one percentage point that enabled the school to enroll an additional eight students over the previous year. Academically, average GMATs climbed five points to 722, equaling the incoming class at MIT Sloan. This was also the first time that the program broke the 720 mark after hovering from 716-718 over the past seven years. At the same time, average GPAs held steady at 3.51.

Steady was a net positive when it came to the percentage of women. The Class of 2019 is again composed of 44% women, tying Tuck with Wharton for the largest concentration of female MBA candidates. Even more, it represents a 12 point jump in just the past two years alone. In fact, you could think of the incoming class as a family affair, with 31% bringing a partner to Hanover. The percentage of underrepresented minorities also hiked up five points. That said, Tuck joined many of its peers in experiencing a drop in international students. Overall, 30% of the class hails from overseas, which includes students from 34 nations outside the United States.

This first-year class features students from 169 undergraduate institutions worldwide who majored in 70 different disciplines. Another 12% of the class already holds advanced degrees. Among academic backgrounds, the numbers remained relatively consistent with the 2018 Class. 55% earned degrees related to humanities and social sciences – a 4% bump up over last year. Such numbers reinforce Tuck’s reputation as the bona fide place to switch careers. In fact, business and finance majors account for just 20% of the class, down three points. STEM majors make up the remaining quarter of the class.

Professionally, the class skews higher towards consumer goods and government and military service. These sectors jumped by 7% and 3% respectively, meaning they make up 16% and 14% of the class. Technically, finance composes the largest bloc of the class. For some reason, Tuck separates these professionals between financial services (14%) and investing (8%). Combined, they are a point higher than consulting at 21% — though they collectively lost eight points over the previous year. Technology again represented 9% of the class.

Go to page 2 to see in-depth profiles of incoming Dartmouth Tuck MBA students.