2018 Best MBAs: Alen Amini, Dartmouth College (Tuck)

Alen Amini

Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business

Midwest born and raised, son of a Persian rug merchant, aspiring Arkansan, and proud uncle.”

Age: 30

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio.

Fun fact about yourself: I am a Kentucky Colonel…just like Colonel Sanders.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Miami University (OH), B.S., Operations

Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, MPA (dual-degree student with Tuck)

Where did you work before enrolling in business school?

  • The White House, National Economic Council, Summer Intern 2016
  • Jamshid Rug Gallery, LLC, General Manager, 2014-2015 — I ran my father’s oriental carpet store after his passing before business school.
  • Teach For America, High School Math Teacher and Vice Principal, 2011-2014
  • Southeast Arkansas Community Foundation, Executive Director, 2013-2014
  • Austin White Cultural Arts Center, Executive Director, 2012-2013
  • City Year and Public Allies, AmeriCorps Member, 2009-2011

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017?

Pricing Strategy, Summer Associate at Walmart in Fayetteville, AR

Summer Associate, United Nations Foundation

Where will you be working after graduation? To be determined. I am considering several opportunities at the intersection of business and public policy.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: (Include school awards and honors)

  • Tuck Men as Allies (Manbassador Program), Co-Founder & Co-Lead
  • Forte Foundation/Tuck Men as Allies Symposium, Co-Organizer
  • Tuck Writing Initiative, Founder and Program Lead
  • TEDxWheelockSt, Founder & Co- Curator
  • Freedom Summer Collegiate, Co-Founder and Board Member
  • Key to the City, Executive Director & Founder
  • Student Business Journal at the Tuck School of Business, Editor-in-Chief
  • Tuck Gives Co-Chair
  • Upper Valley International Film Festival, Director
  • TuckStuff, Relationship Manager
  • theBOX Food Truck, Chief Talent Officer
  • Tuck ‘Controversial Convos’ Co-Curator
  • The Tuck Times, Editor-in-Chief & The Citizen (HKS) Editor-in-Chief
  • Tuck Social Venture Fund
  • Tuck Serves Co-Chair
  • Tuck Deanery Fellow, School Curriculum Review
  • Harvard Kennedy School Interim Student Body President
  • Tuck Inaugural Case Competition, Co-Organizer (in cooperation with Tesla)
  • Dartmouth College Resident Fellow (West House)
  • Tuck Bridge Associate
  • Tuck Follies, Creative Co-Executive Director
  • Tuck Student Board Judicial Board Member
  • Table Tennis Chair and Tournament Co-Organizer
  • Tuck Case Competition Co-Chair
  • Business & Politics Club Co-Chair
  • TuckCast Producer
  • World Government Summit, organized the inaugural Tuck cohort
  • Tuck Emerging Markets Conference Co-Chair
  • Math Camp TA, Next Step: Transition to Business MBA Fellow, TA and tutor for various classes
  • Journal of Human Rights Policy, Co-Founder and Managing Editor
  • Kennedy School Review, Managing Editor
  • Research Assistant at the Belfer Center, the Shorenstein Center, and the Ash Center at Harvard
  • Interned and worked on different projects with FullStack Academy, Mass General Hospital, a mid-sized Private Equity Firm, and the Virtual Student Federal Service for the U.S. Department of State and the Department of Veterans Affairs

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I have been fortunate in the number of opportunities I’ve had at Tuck—from helping to manage our student-run apparel store (TuckStuff) to working with classmates on a student-run food truck (theBOX), and then planning events for Tuck’s male allyship initiative. As an AmeriCorps and Teach for America alum, I am especially proud of working with first- and second-year classmates to put on a day of service for the Tuck community at-large, and collaborating with a peer to launch a non-profit organization that provides educational and professional services to adults experiencing homelessness.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My contributions as a teacher and assistant principal at Lakeside High School in Lake Village, AR. I worked with community members, colleagues, administrators, and students to raise over $100,000 to send students on educational trips to countries in Europe and various U.S. states. We also raised student performance on the math state assessment and the ACT significantly. We reduced the number of hours students missed because of discipline infractions significantly, and we launched a GLSEN chapter (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) in Arkansas that continues to provide support to LGBTQ students.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Although Tuck students are fortunate to have a number of outstanding professors, my favorite Tuck (and graduate school) professor has been Tuck’s dean, Matthew Slaughter. I was fortunate to have him for Global Economics for Managers, and his course was timely and rigorous. He asked thoughtful questions and he engaged students very well. I appreciated how seamlessly he integrated topical themes into the material. As a former teacher, it was great seeing how much time and effort he put into his pedagogy while balancing his extensive administrative responsibilities.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Tough question. If I have to choose, Strategic Brand Management with Professor Kevin Lane Keller. Not only is he a tremendously engaging professor (and a tremendous human), but I now appreciate how critical a product or company’s brand is to its bottom line and long-term sustainability.

Why did you choose this business school? From the career development office, to the MBA program office, and admissions, I had an incredibly positive experience throughout the entire application process, especially as a non-traditional candidate. The faculty and staff are incredibly helpful, kind, and really have students’ best interests in mind.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Put in the time to be able to answer “Why Tuck?” Tuck is a tight-knit community and I would encourage applicants to think critically about why they want to spend two years of their lives engaging with the community directly and the rest of their lives engaging with the network broadly.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think there is a perception that Tuck is in the middle of nowhere and isolated. While it is not in a major metropolitan area, the location engenders an authentic community where students really get to know, support, and learn from one another.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I wish I could spend more time learning from and getting to know classmates, faculty, and staff. I also never played hockey.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Although I admire a number of my classmates, I especially admire my classmates who ventured to the U.S. for the first time to attend b-school. It is hard enough re-acclimating to an academic environment, and I can only imagine how much of a transition it has been to travel thousands of miles from home to then have to (deftly) navigate new social, professional, and cultural norms. Kudos!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father. He grew up a farmer in rural Iran and immigrated to the United States in the mid-1970s. He ran a small oriental carpet store in Cincinnati, OH, for nearly 40 years. I grew up helping him in the store and was always astounded at his business acumen and intuition. I always laughed when he would talk about his 3 P’s of business: passion, patience, and I can’t remember the third one. After he passed away, I ran and eventually liquidated the business. I definitely caught his entrepreneurial bug.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be… an (aspiring) journalist. Or an Oriental rug man.”

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Write for a major publication.
  • Lose a game of one-on-one to Michael Jordan.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Hopefully that I am easy-going, always willing to lend a hand, and that I’m not excessively provocative.

What is your favorite movie about business? Citizen Kane. Not only is it a classic, I think it provides valuable insight on the importance of intrinsic motivations in running large enterprises rather than for the accumulation of power, wealth, and property.

What would your theme song be“Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie

Favorite vacation spot: Now that I no longer have any formal ties to it, I most enjoy visiting my hometown, Cincinnati, OH.

Hobbies? Reading, following politics, rooting for the Xavier men’s and women’s basketball teams, tennis, trivia, and admiring nice-looking antique Persian and Turkish carpets.

What made Alen such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“Alen is not your usual, typical candidate. He is one of the most amazing Tuck students I’ve worked with during my 25 years at the school. It’s hard to find an activity that Alen is not somehow involved with. He’s resurrected (after a 10+ year hiatus) The Tuck Times, the school newspaper and served as editor-in-chief; he is in the process of resurrecting the yearbook; and he is a student “owner” of Tuck Stuff and theBox, two entrepreneurial student-run ventures. He established the Tuck Writing Initiative, pulling together classmates who write well and creating mentorships with those students who don’t have the same ability to express themselves through the written word. He initiated the Male Ally-ship Program in conjunction with our Women in Business organization and the Forte Foundation and engaged over 50% of the male population at Tuck to be involved. With Forte and several fellow classmates, Alen will be hosting the inaugural Male Ally Symposium at Tuck for MBA students from our peer business schools (Wharton, Stanford, HBS, Booth, Kellogg, Darden). Alen and a fellow Tuck student who worked for Tesla over the summer engaged Tesla to come to Tuck for a case competition where 12 schools, 48 students competed. Alen is the co-director of Tuck Follies, our annual sketch comedy show and he is a co-chair of Tuck Gives, our annual charity auction that raises funds to support summer internships with nonprofit or public sector organizations.

I realize the above seems like a laundry list of activities but Alen is directly involved and invested in every single one of them. His desire to give back is what drives him – he is not doing any of this for Alen, it is always for others. Alen is altruism at its finest and best. Outside of Tuck, he is a Dartmouth College Resident Fellow, living with and mentoring undergraduates. He was a Tuck Business Bridge Fellow during his December vacation this year, mentoring and advising Dartmouth undergraduates participating in a three week certificate program. He also was a fellow for the Next Step Program, a two week executive education program at Tuck for current and former military veterans and national and Olympic athletes.  He founded and launched a local community TEDx program.

Alen is a joint degree candidate with the Kennedy School at Harvard University and the Tuck School. He spent a year at Kennedy prior to coming to Tuck and this fall, he commuted between Hanover and Boston (a two hour bus/subway trip) 2-3 day days a week in order to complete the program. He was at Tuck so often and so actively involved, many did not realize he was enrolled at Kennedy as a full-time MPP student! While at Kennedy, Alen was student body president, editor-in-chief of the Kennedy School newspaper and managing editor of the Kennedy School Review. Alen is intelligent, organized (he has to be), thoughtful, incredibly motivated and the consummate team player. He knows none of what he has accomplished is his alone, but in partnership and teamwork with others. He is humble to a fault. I’m always waiting for something to go awry with Alen, something falling through the cracks—but it never happens. This guy is on top of everything, all the time. He makes things happen without fanfare, without ceremony.

His curiosity about the world around him is inspirational. While many MBA students are focused on getting their dream job, Alen is traveling to Barcelona or Mexico City to participate in a case competition with fellow MBA students from throughout the world, or traveling to Iceland to present on a research project. No doubt he wants that dream job but in the meantime, he has more pressing matters to deal with in the realm of public service. He enables others to strive and do great things and there is no greater act of leadership than that.

There are very few at Tuck who are not in awe of Alen and his many accomplishments—most may not know half of what he accomplishes on a daily basis. We don’t know when he sleeps, or if he sleeps. I have the highest respect for Alen Amini and know he is going to do great things in his lifetime.”

Sally Jaeger, Assistant Dean and Director of the MBA Program
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

DON’T MISS: THE ENTIRE LIST OF THE BEST & BRIGHTEST: CLASS OF 2018