Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Charles Phelps, Dartmouth College (Tuck)

Charles Phelps

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

“Husband, father, student of leadership.”

Hometown: Woodinville, WA

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve day hiked the Presidential Traverse in White Mountain National Forest, NH three times.

Undergraduate School and Major: United States Military Academy at West Point – BS Military History

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Detachment Commander

What aspect of the school’s culture or values resonates most with you and why? “Tuck develops wise, decisive leaders” is the opening of our school’s mission statement. As an expression of culture and values, Tuck’s mission and the ready emphasis on leadership provides a powerful undertone for what drives the school. This is a community dedicated to creating servant leaders and that is awesome.

Aside from your classmates and culture, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Tuck’s class size and location creates an environment unique in the spectrum of MBA programs. The program design at Tuck promotes strong cohesion and cooperation. Developing strong and lasting relationships with classmates and the faculty was a primary goal in my business school search.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Diverse. The Tuck Class of 2022 is 49% women. International representation by country citizenship (47) has never been higher, and I am blown away by the diversity of background in pre-MBA professional experience.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? The Tuck Outdoors Club – The Upper Valley of New Hampshire is one of the most beautiful locations in the United States and the Outdoors Club has an outstanding record for organizing events and trips that take advantage of Tuck’s location.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Advising and mentoring the 7th Special Operations Kandank in Helmand Province, Afghanistan during a crucial period of the on-going conflict in Afghanistan.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? It was the desire to broaden my perspective and experience relating to critical thinking, problem-solving, and leadership. Pursuing an MBA at this point in my career gives me the chance to separate from my profession and prepare to serve as a professor at West Point. This experience will be an unparalleled opportunity to learn and reflect and ultimately return to the Army ready to present more value added to the organization.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS, Duke Fuqua, UW Foster, UT McCombs, and Vanderbilt Owen

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Tell us who you are.”

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I prioritized culture and location above all else. Being married and having a family heavily influenced my application process with weight assigned to programs whose culture and location would best support my family.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? This feels like an application question! I have been fortunate to have several experiences of service on and leadership in high performing teams. Each one of those opportunities provided avenues for learning related to leadership and more generally the human domain. These experiences provide a potentially unique perspective and foundation which has prepared me for business school.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? Beyond Meat is a company that represents a very interesting case study of a firm fusing a goal of social impact with innovation. Business students could learn from Beyond Meat’s commitment to positively impacting global issues and what drives their ability to raise capital. Their products have significant opportunities to disrupt major economic sectors in U.S. and business students might consider what came first. The mission? Or the product? Beyond Meat could provide aspiring entrepreneurs an interesting framework to study and model.