Meet Dartmouth Tuck’s MBA Class Of 2020

Vivian Guo

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

Chinese lawyer seeking for skillset expansion, enthusiastic tango dancer, scuba diver, accordion player.”

Hometown: Tacheng, Xinjiang, China

Fun Fact About Yourself:  I backpacked solo for about 20 months through China, Nepal, India, Central and South America. During the trip, I did a volunteer program in Macedonia, visited the Amazon Jungle, thru-hiked Salkantay to Machu Picchu, summited Huayna Potosi in La Paz, trekked in the Patagonia region, and learned tango dancing in Buenos Aires.

Undergraduate School and Major: Shanghai International Studies University, International Economic Law

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: BBDO, Asia Chief Legal Counsel

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far. Coming on board as BBDO’s chief legal counsel for its Asia network, I was entrusted with the task of setting up a legal department and the process to facilitate business operations, client engagement, and compliance management across the network. Building the process from nearly scratch without a clear roadmap was challenging, but it provided a unique opportunity to stretch my capabilities.

By continuously reaching out to and collaborating with stakeholders, we streamlined the support process and clarified the output and rationales behind each compliance program. I was able to define the legal process and integrate it into daily business operations and grow trust with function and service teams across the network to implement compliance programs. The end results of which were encouraging – advertising regulatory inquiries, IPR claims and employment complaints lowered by more than 50% and the client engagement legal review timeline shorten significantly.

My proudest accomplishment during this time was to have over 500 employees embrace compliance programs, sign up for regular legal training sessions, and recognize their value in raising legal awareness and mitigating the risks for the network. I received recognition from senior management of each office for the legal division’s support in making client engagement more efficient. Perhaps the biggest satisfaction, however, came from a few of our largest clients who complimented BBDO for being the best creative company with in-depth knowledge of advertising regulatory restrictions.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Tuckies are kind. They will go out of their way to help one another. Take my experience as an example, when my husband and I first arrived in Hanover. Our neighbor offered to pick us pick from the bus station (around midnight) and let us crash at their place for as long as we needed to set things ready for our house. I cannot imagine how hard it would have been for us to set things up at the beginning without their help, and this does not only happen to us. Most students and partners I have met so far have either hosted other students, offered rides to others to get around, helped with furniture moving, babysitting, dog care and more.

Tuckies are genuinely happy to help others out, and those receiving the help are always eager to pay it forward to others in need of help. This pay-it-forward spirit permeates the entire community.

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 is the top MBA program with a personal and close-knit community. Born and raised in a small town, I felt at home when I first visited Tuck. Students and faculty are super friendly and welcoming.  During my school visit, I had the opportunity to stay with a T’18 and participate in a small group dinner, which showed me how tight and diversified the community is and how generous and kind Tuck students are to one another. I have found the Tuck community to be a very strong, reliable and personal support system for students from all backgrounds and all ethnicities. I knew from visiting that at Tuck I would not only get an excellent MBA education, but also build deep and lasting friendships.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Consulting club and Center for Digital Strategies. I am also looking forward to trying Tripod Hockey.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I am looking to stretch my capabilities and expand my skillset to become a better rounded leader who can bridge the knowledge gap between business and law and make a greater impact.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment?

  1. New knowledge, skillset and perspective. With industry and function lines blurring more and more, I believe just having knowledge in one specific field may not be enough one day. The MBA is a good platform to acquire knowledge in business management, expand the skillset necessary to influence and lead people, and learn how to approach issues from a different perspective.
  2. The MBA leads to a whole lot of different career options and job opportunities that may not be available through other recruitment channels.
  3. I see my MBA program as a place where I can build meaningful and lasting relationships, which I know I will be able to reply upon when I need help or guidance. This is especially true in Tuck.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Yale

How did you determine your fit at various schools? The factors influencing my decision over MBA programs were: 1) academic excellence; 2) career resources and assistance provided to international students; 3) modest school size for a higher faculty-to-student ratio and personal and connected learning environment; 4) class composition and cultural diversity.

The tools I used to evaluate schools were: 1) school websites; 2) MBA program-related forums; 3) LinkedIn for reaching out to current students and alumni.

Talking to current students and alumni and visiting schools in person helped me get a sense of different school’s cultures.

I also had a system to evaluate career goal fit: 1) checking the career reports for previous years; 2) talking to alumni; 3) researching alumni’s career choice and path on LinkedIn — this provided quite a comprehensive picture on whether the school has experience and resources to help me pursue the similar career path.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? Backpacking across half of the world was my defining moment. The backpacking trip was a mind-opening adventure and one of the best things I have done in my life. It offered me the opportunity to see the world and people from a broader perspective. By getting past stereotypes and misconceptions about cultures different from my own, I managed to form friendships with people of different backgrounds. I came to believe that the diversity of cultures, people and their perspectives is what makes the world strong and vibrant, and that despite the difference in cultures, languages and ethnicities, we are all interconnected and share similar values. The trip internalized in me the ability and willingness to learn and work with people different from myself and appreciate other cultures.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? My plan is to work in a strategy consulting firm after graduation.

Where do you see yourself in five years? I would like to grow at a consulting firm, learning from the best and acquiring knowledge and experiences in different functions across different industries. Hopefully in five years I will be in a managerial role, demonstrating leadership capabilities.

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