Meet Dartmouth Tuck’s MBA Class Of 2021

Corey Hester

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

“A curious learning machine, and a charismatic, collaborative, and creative leader with a can-do attitude!”

Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska

Fun Fact About Yourself: I enjoy filming and directing as well as photography. My work has been featured nationally and internationally with several pieces going viral on various social media platforms.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Alaska Anchorage, Journalism

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Alaska Airmen Association, Executive Director

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My greatest accomplishment was becoming chief executive of the oldest and largest general aviation non-profit in Alaska, having no prior aviation experience myself. I was their youngest chief executive and first minority in the company’s 65-year history. I joined the organization during a tumultuous time while simultaneously filling the shoes of my predecessor who had been there for twenty years.

During my tenure with the association, we went through an explosive growth phase. We increased revenue by 40% and membership by 50%, tripled our staff size, and created three new statewide outreach programs.

Additionally, I was responsible for planning, organizing, and managing the logistics, marketing, and personnel for one of the largest aviation tradeshows in America. This gathering hosts hundreds of companies and aircraft from around the world each year in Anchorage. Successfully managing this annual national event, which my association put on, is also one of my proudest accomplishments.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? I’ve found my classmates to be some of the most inspiring, friendly, and intelligent people I’ve ever met. Here, you can sit next to a stranger and walk away with a close friend. Tuckies are an exceptional group of human beings – a group that I’m very grateful and humbled to be a part of!

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? I chose Tuck because of the personalized intimacy of the program, school, and community. The school dedicates its entire resources to its two-year full-time MBA program. The ratio of staff and faculty to students and the small class size adds to the tailored education you receive. This MBA experience is incredibly unique, beneficial, and enjoyable. It’s part of why the school’s alumni are so invested in its success and the success of future students.

What aspect of the school’s culture or values resonates most with you and why? The environment, location, and culture of Tuck were perfect for me. The personalized and intentional focus on the individual here at Tuck stood out from the rest of the schools I was considering. Tuck’s emphasis on educating wise leaders who are aware, smart, and accomplished through immersive experiential learning and teamwork really resonated with me – as did the energy of the school when I visited numerous times. Tuck offered the type of individuals I wanted to be with and the environment I wanted to be in for a transformative MBA experience.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I’m most looking forward to helping organize and participate in Tuck’s Winter Carnival, as well as the Student Board, Entrepreneurship Club, Business & Politics Club, and Ski Club! As a Consortium Fellow and MLT Professional Development Fellow at Tuck, I’m also eager to get involved in the affinity clubs.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “What was something you learned recently that surprised you?” Not that the question was necessarily challenging, but more because I was a little caught off guard by it.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Before business school, I had only taken a handful of business-related courses. Most of what I had learned in business was self-taught and through experience. I made a lot of mistakes and had various gaps in my skillsets that I knew could be addressed by earning an MBA. Additionally, I wanted to pivot to the private sector and this was the most logical catalyst to make that happen.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Harvard Business School, UVA Darden, NYU Stern, and Cornell Johnson.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I ultimately wanted a small community with limited distractions that was removed from a big city. A reputation for a strong general management program and an effective alumni base were my other two main factors. I visited a lot of schools’ admissions events, both in person and online. I also talked with many current students and alumni, as well as other prospective students. At the end of the day, I went to the school that felt the most natural fit and the one where I knew I would thrive.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? One of the defining moments of my life was when I was elected to represent Alaska’s largest business district as President of the Anchorage Downtown Community Council. It was my first time being in a public leadership position. I worked with the mayor’s office, elected officials, the municipality, business owners, residents and the media.

It was an incredible learning experience to serve and be a voice for my community. It taught me consensus building and negotiation skills, patience and empathy. Actively listening to my community members, residents, and business owners to solve problems and spark innovation in Anchorage was rewarding and humbling. It was eye-opening to see the different nuances between public service leadership and private sector leadership. This experience built off my prior experience working for U.S. Senator Murkowski in D.C. and solidified my long-term desire to ultimately return to the public sector where I can work to better my community and state.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? In ten years, after working in the private sector, I can see myself moving back to Alaska to pivot to the public sector and state government.

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