Meet Dartmouth Tuck’s MBA Class Of 2021

Renee Hirschberg, Director of Alumni Engagement and Advancement Operations

3) Tuck is best known for its loyal, responsive alumni network. How has the program been able to cultivate an all-in, pay it forward culture where alumni remain engaged and supportive of the program?

“When students enroll at Tuck, they join a global network of accomplished leaders deeply invested in Tuck’s success and in each other’s. That’s more than 10,000 generous, supportive, and famously responsive alumni connected to you for life. Tuck’s network is a product of our location, size, people, and program design. We’re in a beautiful, somewhat remote, quintessential New England college town, which in itself reinforces that when you choose Tuck you are choosing to join a tight-knit community. There are only about 285 students per class, and the first-year of our MBA program is designed so that students rotate assigned study groups each term, allowing them to get to know many of their classmates well.

Students experience community and the power of the Tuck network from the very beginning of their MBA journey, starting as early as the admissions and recruiting process. For example, current Tuck students and alumni often make themselves available to connect with prospective applicants through on-campus visits, coffee chats in the prospective applicant’s local city, phone calls, and Tuck networking events around the world. During our Admitted Students Weekend each April, first- and second-year Tuck students open up their homes to introduce prospective admitted students to yet another Tuck tradition: small group dinners. On campus, first-year students find mentorship in second-year students, working with them on mock interviews and getting involved in student clubs together.

Tuck alumni enthusiastically support current students. They frequently return as visiting executives and classroom guests, and they generously offer industry insights, career advice and more. Individual alumni-student mentorships are facilitated through the Tuck Networking Hub. Alumni connections flourish beyond the bounds of Hanover. Alumni around the world will host events for fellow Tuckies who are in town, be it a group of students participating in a TuckGO program, students interning in the summer, personal travel, or a regularly scheduled Tuck ‘Tails. These connection points (and so many more!) create a lifelong bond to the school and to everyone who has, or will, graduate from Tuck. There is no other MBA network or community like it.”
Renee Hirschberg, Director of Alumni Engagement and Advancement Operations

Sally Jaeger, Associate Dean of the MBA Program

4) What annual event does Tuck hold that personifies the spirit of the MBA program? How does it reflect the best of your program?

“One of Tuck’s earliest traditions is for each graduating class to have its picture taken on the steps of Tuck Hall. We have photos for every Tuck class going back to our very first. Class photo day has always been an inflection point in the student experience, an event that naturally prompts reflection for our second-year students who are concluding their studies. Reflection is an exercise that we at Tuck hold dear—it’s critical to learning and to leadership. Over the years, though class photo day at Tuck has grown to also personify the camaraderie and supportiveness among the Tuck community. Our first-year students rally together, create a special “thank you” for the second-years who’ve coached them for interviews, tutored them through classes, shared internship leads and connected them to valuable contacts—and the first-years exuberantly express their gratitude and celebrate the class ahead of them while our second-years stand on the steps, awaiting their close-up. This tradition most obviously reflects the community Tuck is known for where students cheer for one another and there’s an impact and connection to those who came before you and after you. I know of no other program where the supportive spirit amongst students is truly this palpable.”
Sally Jaeger, Associate Dean of the MBA Program


The Class of 2021 certainly picked up on this vibe, where students focus on raising each other’s prospects instead of promoting themselves at their classmates’ expense. However, culture was only part of the package at Tuck. For example, the program is known for academic excellence, boasting legendary teachers like Vijay Govindarajan and Kevin Lane Keller. Last year, the Tuck faculty collected 100 teaching and research awards, along with notching the most research citations per faculty member among global business schools. The school even has a former governor and CEO, John Lynch, teaching executive leadership as a senior lecturer. A 7-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio ensures that professors always have time for MBAs.

In addition, the Tuck MBA maintains intensive hands-on programming. This is embodied by the required First-Year Project (FYP), a 10-week required course, where five-member students work with clients like Patagonia and Orvis to tackle real-world projects.  “I really appreciate Tuck’s emphasis on “learning by doing” and “leading across cultures,” writes Kinan Bachour. “I know that Tuck’s emphasis on direct, first-hand, experiential learning opportunities will strengthen my problem-solving skills, and that the opportunities Tuck has for cross-cultural exposure will allow me to bridge healthcare on a global level.”

To some, Tuck’s location in rural New Hampshire is a drawback. They’ll dismiss it as a place for bed-and-breakfasts, where you can ski, visit orchards and vineyards, or marvel at the snow-capped mountains. After a weekend getaway, you ultimately want to return to the bustle of the big city. Many do – but that’s not the type of students that Tuck targets. Tuck is a place, says Corey Hester, for students who crave a “small community with limited distractions” – and four distinct seasons to boot. That was exactly what Roberto Ayora Peon wanted: an experience that was “100% immersive.”

Tuck Class Photo Day


“I wanted to eat, sleep and breathe business school,” Peon writes. “Tuck allows me to have the opportunity to be 24 hours surrounded by the most accomplished, smart and nicest people in the world, while granting me all the resources through its faculty, curriculum and campus to develop my personal and professional goals. Tuck to me is like an academic sabbatical –two years that I will be able to focus solely in doing the activities that will make me the future leader I want to become. All the buckets that encompass the MBA experience (academics, recruiting and social) are on steroids at Tuck. You are really involved in all your classes, workshops, and centers.”

The activity doesn’t just happen on campus either, adds Sophia Cornew, a 2019 P&Q Best & Brightest MBA. “Hanover is not a major city, but there’s a lot to love here. Besides, Amazon delivers in two days up here, too. I think the value of being outside the hustle and distraction of a major metropolitan area far outweighs the inconvenience of being more remote. There’s an abundance of activities and adventures outside of the classroom here that allow students to share meaningful and memorable experiences together.”

Those experiences make for happy and helpful alumni. Dartmouth Tuck is best-known for its generous alumni who are always looking out for the graduates who follow in their footsteps. In general, two-thirds of alumni make a gift to the school each year – more than double the rate of most schools. That percentage caught the eye of Ranulfo Allen.


Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business

“This metric gives the best representation of graduate satisfaction and gratitude. It encompasses whether graduates move into their desired careers, how well the school prepares its graduates, as well as how well the alumni network effectively contributes to career growth. Tuck by far has the greatest alumni giving rate among top business schools, and all my numerous interactions with alumni have validated this metric.”

This “strong and lasting’ alumni connection was also the difference for Nathan Farrar. “All students walk away from the top business schools with a fine education and a great job, but not all leave with an active and effective network to fall back on years after graduation. At Tuck, students are welcomed into the most dependable and engaging alumni network in the world.”

What’s ahead for the Class of 2021? Like most MBAs, Tuckies are pining for careers in venture capital, consulting, technology, and social enterprise. During her two years in Hanover, Sarah Elizabeth Blatt is hoping to pick up Tuck’s mission to better the world, to become the best version of herself and serve as an example to her three old daughter.

“In the Army, I had the chance to create space for future women teammates by earning a seat at the table. I hope to join the ranks of female business leaders who are paving the way for gender parity in boardrooms, c-suites, and business schools across the country. By the time my daughter Grace is my age, I hope the phrase “glass ceiling” is as antiquated as a flip phone.”

What led these professionals to enter business schools? Which programs did they also consider? What strategies did they use to choose their MBA program? What was the major event that defined them? Find the answers to these questions and many more in the in-depth profiles of these incoming MBA candidates.



MBA Student Hometown Alma Mater Last Employer
Ranulfo Allen Philadelphia, PA Princeton University Frost & Sullivan
Nakul Arora Haldwani, India IIT-BHU Hotel Silver Palace
Roberto Ayora Peon Mérida, México Tecnológico de Monterrey Uber
Kinan Bachour Safita, Syria UCLA Dartmouth College (Medical School)
Sarah Elizabeth Blatt St. Leon, IN United States Military Academy Quigley Fine Wines
Kazuha Cortes Tokyo, Japan Ritsumeikan University IHI Infrastructure Systems
Nathan Farrar Christiansburg, VA University of Virginia Plexus Scientific Corporation
Corey Hester Anchorage, AK University of Alaska-Anchorage Alaska Airmen Association
Zoya Imam Karachi, Pakistan University of Warwick TPL e-Ventures
Carol Maria Reyes Rios Retalhuleu, Guatemala University of Florida Miami Dade College
Zoë White Carlsbad, CA Stanford University Atlanta Hawks & State Farm Arena
Yanzhou Zhang Suzhou, China Nanjing Audit University PwC

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