Meet Dartmouth Tuck’s MBA Class Of 2019

Travis Cyphers 

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth  

Describe yourself in 15 words or less: Dedicated father and husband who is outgoing, friendly, gregarious, and always willing to help others.

Hometown: Blue Earth, MN

Fun Fact About Yourself:  In my third grade yearbook, I wrote I wanted to be a teacher and serve in the U.S. Army. Teaching management and leadership at West Point lets me fulfill both dreams.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Wisconsin – La Crosse; Broad Field Social Studies Education

Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation: After graduation in 2009, I commissioned into the U.S. Army as a lieutenant in the field artillery. During my time as a lieutenant, I served as a fire support officer in an infantry company deployed to Afghanistan, a platoon leader of 45 soldiers in an artillery unit, and an executive officer.

After promoting to captain, I was selected to teach brand new lieutenants the basics of our skill craft at the Field Artillery Basic Officer Leader Course.In July of 2015, I assumed command of a multiple launch rocket system battery where I led 71 soldiers for nearly two years.  During that time, I deployed my unit to South Korea for nine months as a part of the United States’ commitment to continued peace in the region.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:  I graduated from college with an education degree and have always had a deep love for teaching.  My greatest enjoyment while in uniform has come from teaching the soldiers that I lead. In the fall of 2015, I applied to the United States Military Academy at West Point to serve as an instructor of management and leadership in the Behavioral Sciences and Leadership Department. Less than two percent of Army officers who apply to serve as an instructor at West Point are selected. After Tuck, I will have the opportunity to teach at one of the most prestigious universities in the country. The rigorous application process mirrors the MBA application process with essays, letters of recommendation, and interviews.  I am extremely grateful to have the chance to impact so many young leaders in an organization I care so much about.

Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? Without a doubt, begin establishing relationships with people at your target schools as soon as possible. I began reaching out to current students in March in preparation for my round one applications the following fall. Find a student organization or group with which you share an interest, background or affiliation, and reach out. These relationships provided invaluable insight into the school, the school’s culture, and their application process. Many eventually read essays and helped with interview preparation. By and large, current students want to help the best and brightest get into their school. Leverage them to help yourself succeed.

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?  Family. As a married applicant with two elementary school-aged children, my family’s needs were foremost in my mind when looking at MBA programs. There isn’t another MBA program that meets my family’s needs more than Tuck. Since the beginning of my MBA search three years ago, Tuck has been my dream school. Every interaction I had with Tuck officials, students, and alumni convinced me that Tuck cares as much about my family’s experience during our two years here as my own. As an Army officer, I have missed significant portions of both my children’s lives, as well as substantial time away from my wife. I wanted a MBA program that would be as much of a home to my family as it would be for me. Tuck is that home. Additionally, Tuck’s location is unlike any other. The Upper Valley offers opportunities for my family unavailable at any other program. Having grown up in Minnesota winters, I want my children to experience all the Upper Valley has to offer.

What would success look like to you after your first year of business school? With a path very different from the majority of MBA students, my success will be defined differently as well. During my first year of business school, I want to establish lasting relationships with my classmates. Tuck attracts top MBA candidates from around the world, with a vast array of backgrounds. The students themselves are a rich source of cultural diversity, business acumen, and leadership styles.  I want to learn as much as I can from their different perspectives to widen my own knowledge.  As I build a greater understanding of the business world, leadership practices, and cultural differences, I will become better prepared to teach cadets at West Point.

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.