Corine Graber Alvarez
“Puerto Rican, Mennonite, marathoner, tennis fan, planner, taco aficionado seeking challenge and adventure.”
Hometown: Goshen, Indiana
Fun Fact About Yourself: I enjoy singing hymns in four-part harmony and rapping in karaoke.
Undergraduate School and Major: Goshen College, Accounting
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Financial Advisory Service Vice President, AlixPartners
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishments are when I see my staff and clients thrive after I’ve invested time to train them on a new skill or idea. As a senior consultant at Deloitte, I trained my staff to communicate with clients, track ongoing projects, and analyze the impact of global tax matters. I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how my staff learned. Were they detail-oriented learners who wanted a process document? Were they big picture learners who wanted reinforcement of the high-level goal before walking through steps together? Tailoring effective trainings and testing hypotheses helped me develop as a leader and as a learner. There is no greater feeling of accomplishment than seeing someone grow and take pride in their work, and this gets compounded when they train others, continuing the cycle of development.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Authentically caring. Tuck students stand out because they are invested in the community and care deeply about each other. I saw this in action well before classes even started. People offered to help me prepare for interviews, gave me a lift to Hanover from the airport in Boston, invited neighbors to a casual outdoor barbecue, helped one another move furniture, and more. My classmates are brilliant and have broad knowledge, but they are humble. They care about getting to know others by asking deep questions and sharing their experiences in a way that fosters an inclusive community and validates others’ experiences.
Not only do my classmates care about getting to know me, but they also care about my husband (known here as my TP or Tuck Partner) who moved to Hanover with me. I was seeking an MBA community where he would be fully integrated, and Tuck was the only place where reality exceeded my expectations.
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 stood out because of its deliberate view on leadership. Tuck strives to develop wise leaders who will better the world of business and exemplify a unique skill: confident humility. This resonated with me. As I moved frequently growing up, I learned that multiple perspectives—not just one and not just my own—are valid. When I think about the leadership reputation I want to cultivate, the key tenets are wisdom, empathy and humility. I want to carefully reflect on personal and team strengths, leverage networks to accomplish goals, and balance diverse stakeholder priorities.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Tuck’s Women in Business Club and Symposium, Outdoor Club, and trying to learn how to play ice hockey!
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I am a Certified Public Accountant with audit, tax, finance, and forensic accounting experience. When I reflected on what interests and matters most to me, I recognized that I wanted to broaden my skills and shift from accounting and finance into more strategic leadership positions where I can impact the workplace of the future. Obtaining my MBA from a top business school seemed like a direct pathway toward that goal.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? I weighed the benefits (enhanced skills, expanded networks, increased career opportunities) against the payback period and the opportunity cost of not working full-time for the next two years. To me, the benefits exceeded the costs.
However, the investment impacted my MBA application strategy in two key ways: I tried to do as well on the GMAT as possible. That way, I would be competitive not only for admission but also for scholarships – and I applied through the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. The Consortium’s mission is to enhance diversity and inclusion in business education and leadership. Obtaining admission as a Consortium member has multiple benefits: a streamlined application process, networking with companies and MBAs from other schools before classes start, and the opportunity to receive scholarships. Finding additional ways of broadening networks and increasing the value of obtaining my MBA make the investment more meaningful.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied and was admitted to Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Kelley School of Business.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? I prioritized three factors: cultural fit, career opportunities, and partner experience.
I wanted my MBA experience to be a distinct chapter, so I prioritized programs that involved moving to a new place and that had an intimate culture similar to my undergraduate experience. To analyze fit, I engaged with my target programs often and in person. I started my application process by researching school websites, poring through pages on Poets & Quants, reading GMAT forums, and attending MBA fairs. After solidifying my target schools, I signed up for admission alerts to let me know when the schools would be hosting events in Chicago, where I lived and worked. Attending these events allowed me to meet the programs’ local alumni to hear more about their experiences and see how their program choices impacted their lives and careers.
The single most important step for me to evaluate a program was to visit in person. I attended Tuck’s Diversity Conference in November and instantly felt at home. My host during the program had a major accounting exam the next morning, but she spent four hours chatting with me about her experiences at Tuck before returning to the library to study. Visiting before applying not only gave me more context for my admissions essays and interviews, but it helped me reflect on whether the program met my expectations and whether I pictured myself thriving in the environment. Culture is a huge factor for me, and being able to spend a few days on campus interacting with students, partners, and professors gave me a genuine sense of Tuck’s culture.
Finally, after I was admitted, I attended admitted student weekends with my spouse. It was helpful to have a fresh perspective to evaluate the programs. He knows me intimately and helped me reflect on the nuances of the cultures, opportunities and program experiences.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I moved frequently growing up, living in Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Texas, and Indiana all before high school. From an early age, I was learning key life skills when making new friends and finding my place on the playground. I became more observant and a stronger listener as I adapted to my new environments. I learned about diversity, including different political viewpoints, religions, ethnicities, cuisines, and more. I also recognized that diverse people have commonalities, including hobbies, valuing family, and seeking community. I recognize that multiple viewpoints are valid, and I enjoy trying to understand the other perspective. Because I know what it is like to be new, I also care deeply about making people feel welcomed and connected to community.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? My primary intention is to contribute at the intersection of business, data, and people, thinking strategically about enhancing environments where people can thrive and be authentic in the context of technological innovation and increased global connectivity. I hope to empower others to exceed their perceived potential through raising awareness of opportunities, skills training, and fostering community in the corporate context.
Where do you see yourself in five years? I want to be a leader in an environment where I am challenging myself to continuously grow and adapt to complex situations while developing a team of passionate people. I hope to use my business foundation to give back and empower small businesses and entrepreneurs through volunteering and board advocacy. Wherever I am, I will continue to contribute to the communities that impacted my career, including Goshen College, INROADS, the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, and Tuck.