Sarah Elizabeth Blatt
“I’m a mother, wife, Army veteran and a fine wine professional that adores Champagne.”
Hometown: St. Leon, Indiana
Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m a highly competitive Scrabble player.
Undergraduate School and Major: United States Military Academy at West Point, French Major
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Quigley Fine Wines and the U.S. Army Reserves
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2010, I competed against three men for over 72 hours in a series of physical and mental challenges for a slot in the Army’s only special operations aviation organization. I succeeded in earning the position, becoming the fifth woman in the unit’s 30-year history to join. I was also the first woman to ever deploy as part of that organization’s most elite task force. In my life to date, I’m most proud to be counted among these incredible service members and continue to live by our motto of never quitting. NSDQ!
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Thoughtful. Tuck students are often described as ‘”nice.” My classmates are nice, but I’ll take that a step further to say they are thoughtful people who encourage, challenge, and truly care for one another’s ideas, life experiences, and goals.
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 participated in Tuck’s Next Step: Transition to Business Program for veterans and elite athletes. I had the opportunity to attend this transformative two-week executive course in 2018. Next Step is dedicated to helping veterans and athletes translate their unique backgrounds into meaningful business careers. I observed first-hand how much Tuck faculty, students, and alumni not only cared for their community but for those coming up behind them as business leaders of the future. On day four of that program, I called my husband and said that I’d found my tribe and we needed to build a plan to get to Hanover. Next Step illuminated a path for me where I could use my brain and experience to make a difference in the world – and that path led directly to a Tuck MBA.
What aspect of the school’s culture or values resonates most with you and why? Core to Tuck’s mission is bettering the world. I have a three-year-old daughter named Grace. In every decision I make, I strive to be an example for her. It was important to me that my family be able to lean upon the community around us to demonstrate values of integrity, kindness, and acceptance. Be the best version of yourself and strive to make the world a better place along the way—those are sentiments that resonate with me. As a parent, are messages that I’m thankful my Tiny Tuckie will receive here in Hanover.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? The Adam Smith Society.
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “What scares you the most about getting your MBA?” I dislike admitting fear – I suspect most veterans are that way – but this question stands out as one of the most important and challenging questions for me. The fact is, I’m not just a student responsible for my own grades, health, and recruiting. I’m also a wife and a momma. Balancing the rigors of the MBA classes and schedule with the responsibilities of my family will be, without question, a tough challenge. By asking the question, Tuck Admissions really helped me start to formulate contingencies when everything hits at once, i.e. an exam, a sick kiddo, a flat tire, and five feet of snow on the ground!
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Every year on my birthday, my husband Mike asks me if I’ve accomplished everything I’d hope to by “x” age. At the age of 33, when he asked me that question, the honest answer was “no.” I enjoyed wine sales and serving in the Army Reserves, but deep down I knew I had more to offer professionally. During a weekend Army event, I shared my thoughts with a colleague. He told me about an incredibly transformative program he’d attended at Tuck called Next Step. He recommended I apply. I did and I attended. Over the course of that two-week experience, I was exposed to professional opportunities that I had never before considered as options for myself. It was as if a curtain was pulled aside, revealing a world of professional possibility that thrilled my heart and mind all at once. I knew then that it was time to continue my education, and Tuck was the place to do it.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? None! For me, it was Tuck or bust.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? At Tuck, I found my tribe. I didn’t want an MBA, I wanted a Tuck MBA. Next Step introduced me to some incredible alumni, students, and faculty members and those relationships led to meeting others within the Tuck network. With each interaction, I became more convinced that by attending this full-time program, I could become the best version of my professional self and contribute to the world around me at my maximum potential. There are amazing schools and programs everywhere. When I’m with Tuckies, I’m home.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? In the summer of 2011, I lost someone I loved dearly in an Army helicopter crash. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. In the months and years that followed, I faced extreme grief, anger, and soul-searching. Eventually, I wound up in California pursuing a life of peace in the world of wine. Now, nearly eight years later, I recognize that working through the depths of loss has shaped my soul. We each matter and we are blessed to be present for each minute we are on this earth. If we do it right, we can make a difference that lasts well beyond our bodily vessels. I strive to matter for good.
Where do you see yourself in ten years? Working hard, thinking hard, and mentoring other women. 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.