2019 Best & Brightest MBAs: Marcus Morgan, Dartmouth College (Tuck)

Marcus Morgan

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

“A former athlete turned gamer, dedicated to inspiring the pursuit of people’s passions.”

Hometown: Aurora, Colorado

Fun fact about yourself: I was a tenor in a professional men’s barbershop chorus which placed third in the 2006 International Championships.

Undergraduate School and Degree: College of the Holy Cross, B.A. Economics-Accounting, Concentration in Asian Studies

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Senior Manager, Commercial Marketing at Activision Blizzard

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Product Marketing, Microsoft – Xbox, Redmond, WA

Where will you be working after graduation? Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft – Xbox, Los Angeles, CA

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Consortium Fellow
  • Center for Digital Strategies Fellow
  • Black/African Students at Tuck Co-Chair
  • Ulysses Holdings Entrepreneurship Fellow
  • Diversity Conference Co-Chair
  • TA for Strategy and Marketing courses

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My main mission for business school was to transition to work with smaller game developers. Before even coming to Tuck, I had identified the First-Year Project (FYP) as an opportunity I could leverage to establish a relationship with a specific small game developer that I was targeting for post-MBA employment opportunities. It is rare when a plan comes together so smoothly, but this plan did.

My FYP team took on a project to develop a strategy for how this small gaming company so that they could utilize their VR/AR expertise in order to establish themselves in non-gaming B-B industries. Tuck’s FYP allowed me to check so many boxes when it came to my business school goals. From a soft skills perspective, I was able to work on leadership characteristics rarely exercisable in an academic setting. It was an amazing opportunity to recruit, build, and lead a team of high-functioning individuals. Secondly, I was able to provide some meaningful value to my classmates, particularly to one member of the team who was seeking to transition into the gaming space. Ultimately, the quality of work the team delivered helped lead to a full-time job offer at this gaming company. I am so proud of the fact that this endeavor which started before stepping foot in Hanover turned out to be such a success.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I absolutely love games and try to spread the gaming gospel every chance I get. While there are a few different business-focused achievements I am proud of, none in my career has been more meaningful to me than my role as a gaming committee lead for Activision’s internal corporate engagement group. This was an employee-led group at Activision that was formed with the initial goal of driving more activity around our newly created Gaming Zone—an area that offered employees a place to play whatever games they would like. While it started with simply hosting a small, bi-weekly event attended by a handful of employees it evolved into company-wide events that focused on everything from gaming 101 sessions to internal tournaments.

To this day, I still receive notes from co-workers remembering their favorite events. I am so proud of the positive impact these events had on overall company morale.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Ron Adner has truly changed my perception of strategy, especially as it relates to adoption in an ecosystem. He has the effective combination of being hyper-intelligent in his subject matter while also delivering his content in an engaging and digestible fashion. Beyond that, what I find most admirable is the tremendous investment of time and effort Professor Adner puts into preparing for each class. He is completely dedicated to his craft. He enters every conversation with students, both in and out of the classroom, with a lean-forward approach that adds value to each of these engagements.

What was your favorite MBA Course? “Strategy in Innovation Ecosystems” is a unique type of course offered at Tuck and, as far as I am aware, is unique among business schools. It is a research-to-practice seminar where fifteen students and a professor focus on that professor’s expertise. The intimate setup of this class allows you to dive deeper into the insights of your professors and peers. The course has significantly increased my ability to identify where opportunities or challenges lie in virtually any market. The strategic lessons I have learned will clearly serve me now and far into my future.

Why did you choose this business school? My goal in going to business school was to work with and eventually run my own small game development company. There wasn’t a school that was particularly distinguished when it came to this niche market, so instead, I prioritized which school would give me the greatest personal investment. My pre-MBA interactions with current students, faculty, and alumni reassured me that Tuck was the school that was right for me. I received a disproportionate amount of time and effort from the Tuck community throughout the application process. That level of commitment provided before I was even a student, completely solidified my desire to attend Tuck.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Do not try to change who you are fundamentally to fit the school’s “ideal” candidate. I’d recommend this for any school, but especially Tuck as it is a unique school among its peers given its size and location. Every school has a certain character or vibe to it, and you want to be certain that the school you are choosing to attend aligns well with you. This process is a two-way street and the value you get out of this experience will link closely to the level of enjoyment you have throughout it. Staying true to yourself from the start of the process will yield a much higher chance of you finding the school that is right for you.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? Spend even more time reflecting. You can get so much more out of this experience if you genuinely know what you want and why you are going to business school. I am a strong believer that the impact the program will have on you and the impact you can have on your program is strongly correlated to the amount of intentionality with which you approach this experience.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? The most transformational aspect of Tuck for me was the opportunity to connect with my classmates, professors, and faculty in one-on-one settings. These conversations provided me with a broad array of experiences, understanding of new concepts, and implementation of different approaches. It was the intimate nature that allowed us to have deeper discussions, facilitating a fundamental understanding of a diverse set of thoughts and perspectives. These two short years have significantly increased my capacity for empathy, elevating me as both a leader and a person.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I have the utmost respect for a fellow T’19 named Ryan Turk. As someone who is dead set on chasing my own passion, it is always inspiring to see classmates who are doing the same. Ryan accelerated that chase by taking the risk of leaving business school after his first year to pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor. It took incredible courage to follow his goals, especially considering he also had a family to support. Even more impressive was the fact that Ryan decided to come back and finish up at Tuck after his brief hiatus. This is not because the company he moved to had failed, quite the opposite actually, but because he felt he had even more to gain by continuing his education.

There are very few individuals who could have taken these actions and done so in such a seamless way. The options available to Ryan are not only due to his ability, but also his authenticity and humility, making it easy for companies, schools, or other people to go out of there way to work with Ryan. On top of all of that, Ryan is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, serving as a submarine officer and defense program manager for a total of nine years. It was an absolute honor to have been a classmate of Ryan’s and I am so excited to see what the future has in store for him.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My influence for attending business school was a fellow Tuckie and mentor by the name of Greg Wilson T’06. Not only did Greg influence and aid in my business school journey, but he is also one of the key reasons I was able to break into and find success in the gaming industry. He was my first interview at Electronic Arts many years ago and has served as an incredible mentor and friend since that initial encounter. Greg displays the qualities of a leader—business or otherwise—that inspires those around him. His teams respect him greatly not only due to his ability, but also his dedication to his teammates’ individual success. Greg is the main reason I chose to pursue business school. I hope following a similar path to his results in me becoming as strong of a leader as he is.

What is your favorite movie about business? Office Space, which taught me how important it is as a manager to truly understand workplace satisfaction across your team.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? SaaS (software as a service) and all other related “XX as a service” acronym.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a Broadway performer. I love musicals and still secretly think I might make the switch to the stage someday.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? I am more than satisfied already with the return on the investment that I made in getting an MBA, and I am confident that my level of satisfaction will only continue to grow as I progress in life and career.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

1) Have a workout session with The Rock.

2) Dine in at least one, 3 Michelin-star restaurants in every one of the current 17 countries in which they are located.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I was sincerely interested in making myself and everyone around me better.

Hobbies? Video games, anime, athletic training, food & wine pairing, singing (when no one is around), and dancing (when everyone is around).

What made Marcus such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Marcus Morgan is a powerhouse of intellect, humor, confidence, curiosity, and integrity or in colloquial terms, I describe him as an impactful blend of “smarts, heart, and hustle.” Marcus has been a joy to work with over the last two years at Tuck and watching his journey to and through the program and the impact he has had on his peers, professors, and the culture makes me proud to call him a Tuckie.

First, I admire how Marcus carries himself. His confidence is the “real deal,” born of the maturity that comes with knowing that he still has much to learn, is excited to learn, and is coupled with the knowledge that no matter what challenges may arise; he will be able to handle it. He is resilient, resourceful and has built relationships that will help him move through any situation with wise counsel. Marcus has modeled the principles of “wise leadership” throughout his time at Tuck and his confident humility is one reason he is a standout and a favorite inside and outside of the classroom. His peers turn to him seemingly unconsciously, for leadership, advice, support, and inspiration and I enjoy watching him honor their trust and confidence in him without taking himself too seriously which allows him to be approachable while lacking arrogance (an easy trap for elite MBAs to fall into).

I worked with Marcus in his capacity as one of our Tuck Diversity Conference Co-Chairs, a coveted and highly competitive second-year leadership opportunity, as well as in his capacity as a Co-Chair of Black Students at Tuck (BSAT). In these roles, Marcus’ brand of intelligence is hard to strike a balance of strategic and tactical capability. I watched him develop a strategic approach to external fundraising for the Diversity Conference, which resulted in him raising more funds than had been raised in the previous two years in half the time! Marcus takes the time on the front end of planning to consider his audience, research and fact gather and approach each task with intention and laser-like focus. Part of his charm is that he also brings a high level of humor to match that intelligence and he is willing to innovate, take risks, be wrong, and adapt his approach to achieving success.

Another quality that stands out is Marcus’ authenticity. What I mean by that is his dedication to asking for and giving feedback so that he and his peers can continue to grow. I had a conversation with him once wherein he said, “If any of us leave here the same as when we arrived, we’ve all failed each other” and he has the ability to ask for feedback in a way that is almost joyful because he sincerely wants to be the best that he can be. More saliently, he can give feedback to his peers (and administrators!) in such a way that avoids putting people on the defensive because it clearly stems from his commitment to ensuring that he fulfills his part in helping Tuck, Tuckies, and himself be better than when he arrived. One of the chief concerns of students and faculty in a program like Tuck is providing the opportunity to learn and practice giving critical feedback, navigating difficult conversations, and developing the skills a leader needs during challenging times. Marcus’ approach to building relationships, caring for his peers’ growth and development and pushing the entire cohort to step into discomfort in order to learn is a far more powerful tool or catalyst than any class or workshop that we could offer.

Finally, one of the things that makes Marcus exceptional is his integrity. I mean this on multiple levels, but most specifically in keeping his word and following through. MBA students are beyond busy and seem to get busier every year, and it is easy for them to overcommit and under-deliver and there are few if any mechanisms to hold them accountable. In a small program like Tuck where most of the magic depends on student leadership, we are especially sensitive to the ebbs and flows of student engagement. Marcus has a reputation for getting things done. If he commits to it, he will follow through and with high quality and success. He is fun to work with and brings a wonderfully positive and vibrant energy, and a valuable contrarianism to projects. Marcus pushes everyone to avoid the “easy answers” or status quo. This has the wonderful effect of pushing students out of their comfort zones, focusing on the right priority at the right time and elevating the quality of everything he is involved with.

I think of one of Harry S. Truman’s quotes when I think of Marcus and all he has achieved personally, professionally and within the MBA program and it captures the essence of Marcus’ smarts, heart and hustle perfectly: “It is amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit.”

Marcus will be dearly missed by students, staff and faculty alike, Tuck won’t be the same without him.”

Dia Draper

Director, Strategic Initiatives

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College




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