Meet Dartmouth Tuck’s MBA Class Of 2020

Colin Chapin

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

Liberal arts poster child – government major turned English teacher turned investment professional.”

Hometown: Phoenixville, PA

Fun Fact About Yourself: Growing up, I spent summers on 22-day long canoe and backpacking trips in Northern Maine.

Undergraduate School and Major: Hamilton College, Government

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Cambridge Associates, Associate Investment Director

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Although my experience at Cambridge Associates was incredible – for the diversity of experiences, wealth of responsibilities, and exceptional colleagues – completing my commitment to Teach for America’s Mississippi Delta Corp remains my biggest accomplishment as well as one of the most formative experiences of my young professional career.

After a discouraging first year, I combined some hard-learned lessons in management with new approaches to data-tracking that I developed while at Tuck’s summer Business Bridge Program, to completely and successfully re-imagine my classroom. Two years with TFA taught me more about perseverance, hard work, and creative and quick problem solving than I think I could have learned over several decades in another industry.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Intellectually gregarious. Tuckies aren’t just sharp and accomplished, but are exceptionally outgoing and enthusiastic about sharing both their own and their classmates’ interests.

Aside from your classmates, 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? Tuck’s close community, both as a student and as alumni. Through conversations with Tuck students and alums, as well as my experience at Tuck Bridge, it became very clear that Tuck fosters an environment that builds strong bonds across students, professors, and the broader Tuck community. Such bonds enrich the MBA experience and last well beyond the bounds of Hanover. Students here self-select into a small, rural program. There is no city to disappear into or metaphorical backrow to coast in. Tuckies value participation, togetherness, and an openness to new experiences, as demonstrated through a myriad of minor day-to-day experiences—small group dinners, tripod hockey, participation in centers, or even just dropping by Murphy’s after class. Conversations with alumni invariably led to rhapsodies about their time at Tuck. More often than not, I got a phone number and introduction to another alumni with another new and enthusiastic perspective on the program.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Tuck’s Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital. After my role at Cambridge, where a number of my clients had large private investment programs, I’m looking forward to gaining additional general partner-oriented perspective and adding to my technical skillset.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? An MBA hones the technical skills necessary to continue working in the investment and finance world, but also focuses on the soft skills needed for leadership roles that a purely technical certification (i.e. CFA) does not.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? Speaking with other professionals who have and have not pursued the MBA.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Only Tuck

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I prioritized programs’ academic caliber, size, and student culture (within which I prioritized a high degree of student engagement inside and outside of the classroom). I tried to gain a sense for the program offerings and differentiating factors among the schools on my short list through their websites and sites like Poets & Quants. I spent a lot of time attending events in Boston as school representatives came through, attending webinars, visiting schools, and talking with current students and alumni.

Conversations with students and alums were the most helpful in terms of evaluating culture. I was fortunate that Cambridge has sent a number of former Associates to the programs I was evaluating, and found that the conversations I had with them were candid. These conversations often yielded additional contacts, and I found that following through with these contacts helped me paint full pictures of the total experience at each program I evaluated.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? From a professional standpoint, the Tuck Business Bridge Program. I completed Tuck’s four-week “mini” MBA program, designed to marry a liberal arts education with practical business knowledge, after my first year with Teach for America. I applied to the program hoping it would help me explore and be more competitive with my career switch, but was surprised by the extent to which it helped me join together many of my passions from Hamilton, skills I learned with TFA, and genuine interests in the investment world. I left Tuck Bridge with tools to improve my classroom as well as a much clearer sense of who I wanted to be as a professional, which eventually led me to my role at Cambridge Associates. It also didn’t hurt that I got such an incredible introduction to the people that make Tuck tick!

What do you plan to do after you graduate?  Investment banking or shifting towards a more direct role in investment management.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I hope to have landed at a firm that I can be successful not just within my role, but that offers the same type of continual learning environment and opportunities for impact that I had at Cambridge Associates.