Darryn J. Lee
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: A global change agent.
Hometown: Compton, CA
Fun Fact About Yourself: I was a finalist on Fear Factor Live at Universal Studios Hollywood.
Undergraduate School and Major:
Temple University: Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business and Finance;
Certificate of Specialization in Spanish and Latin American Studies for Business
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
BlackRock: Relationship Manager, Institutional Business Development and Client Service – U.S.
Defined Contribution, New York City (2013 – 2017)
BlackRock Solutions: Analyst, Portfolio Analytics Group – Global Multi-Asset Strategies, New
York City (2011 – 2013)
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: One of my biggest accomplishments thus far has been establishing a corporate partnership between BlackRock and America Needs You (ANY), a non-profit that improves the economic mobility of first-generation college students. Being a first-generation college student myself, expanding opportunities for students like me was (and still is) of the upmost importance to me.
When I interned at BlackRock, I was one of two Black interns out of a global class of 150+. This frustrated me, so when I returned full-time, I made a commitment to developing a pipeline of ethnically diverse professionals. I served as the founding East Coast Campus Recruiting head for BlackRock’s MultiCultural Network, an affinity group that focuses on attracting, engaging, and developing diverse talent. Through this leadership role, I helped to create scholarship initiatives, expand networking opportunities for students, and refine BlackRock’s diversity goals, all of which ultimately contributed to more than doubling the Black and Hispanic proportions of the intern classes in the following two years.
Through the BlackRock partnership, and the generous support of countless individuals, I ultimately raised over a quarter million dollars for ANY in support of their national expansion, helping to reshape the experience of first-generation college students across America.
Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? There seems to be a vast amount of MBA blogs and resources that focus on the surface-level factors of the business school application process: GMAT/GRE, essays, recommendations, and admissions interviewing. However, I don’t see as much information on developing strong ties within the school’s ecosystem. I think it is very important to make it a primary objective to get to know as many people as possible across the current student population, alumni, and admissions. Many people go to school events, get a few business cards, and sometimes follow up. That doesn’t set you apart from other applicants. Everyone has good scores, essays, work experience, etc. What matters is demonstrating how badly you want to be at the school.
My first Tuck event was in September 2013 at the Yale/Dartmouth Club in New York City. Tuck immediately became my number one choice, so I made it a point to develop strong relationships with a myriad of people and convey my strong desire to become an impactful member of the Tuck community. By the time I submitted my application, I had visited Tuck on three separate occasions, and had absolutely fallen in love with the kind of people I had developed relationships with over the previous two years. I believe my genuine connection to Tuck played a big part in why I received admission.
What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? As with most major life decisions, there isn’t one thing that led me to choosing Tuck. My three primary factors in choosing an MBA program in general were: experiential learning opportunities, a close-knit student and faculty population, and an involved alumni community. These were all important to me because I was looking for a truly immersive, transformative experience at that stage in my career, and all three of these factors speak to a village-style support system. In my opinion, Tuck also differentiates itself amongst top programs in these three areas.
Experiential learning opportunities: Tuck’s “Learn by Doing” mantra enables students to develop a strategic thought process for solving various business problems, primarily by way of the OnSite Global Consulting course, Global Insight Expeditions, and research center fellowships. For instance, students can develop a deep understanding of how digital enhancements to business models impact organizations through the Center for Digital Strategies, which will be extremely important as many of us seek to be a CEO or business owner in a rapidly changing technological world.
Close-knit student and faculty population: Tuck’s location and class size are a recipe for close friendships. 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?! 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.
Involved alumni community: It is no secret that Tuck boasts the highest alumni giving rate annually of the top MBA programs. This is significant because it underscores the strong connection to Tuck I alluded to above. Additionally, in my personal experience, I received a consistent story from alumni about how positive and transformative their Tuck experience was. I didn’t receive as much consistency when speaking to alumni of other MBA programs. I want to make sure I’m a part of a strong community in which I not only help others in their endeavors, but also receive help in making the global impact I seek to make.
What would success look like to you after your first year of business school?
At the end of the first year, I would like to be able to say:
- I have built meaningful relationships with at least 20-30 people in my class;
- I am viewed as a high-quality contributor by my study group and section mates;
- I have secured an internship that will put me on the path to reaching my goal of running a global company.