2021 Best & Brightest MBAs: Teo Gonzalez, Dartmouth College (Tuck)

Teodoro (Teo) Gonzalez

Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business

Passionate about people, kind of a goof ball, and always trying to be better.”

Hometown: San Juan, PR/Pembroke Pines, FL

Fun fact about yourself: I’m the fifth generation of Teodoro in my family, which means putting us all in one house can be quite confusing at times.

Undergraduate School and Degree: B.S. in Public Health with a minor in Entrepreneurship, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Accenture, Management Consultant

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Procter & Gamble, Brand Management Intern (buy Tide!)

Where will you be working after graduation? I am starting my own human capital management software business back home in South Florida.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Conference Co-Chair, Tuck Emerging Markets Conference
  • Tuck Admissions Associate
  • Student Board President
  • Venture Capital Fellow, Center for Private Equity & Venture Capital

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? This year has been really challenging, but I have been extremely proud of the way Tuck’s community took it upon itself to make the best of the situation. Rather than back down and sulk, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and more, rolled their sleeves up to push forward. Our community introduced new connection points like regular walks with the deans. We innovated to capitalize on new capabilities like having case protagonists regularly join class via Zoom. Most of all, we bought into the distilled essence of what makes this place so special—the relationship-building between those who fill these halls and walk these woods.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I spent a lot of time with social workers while at Accenture in our Health & Public Service practice. Serving these stakeholders, people who worked so hard day in and day out to take care of others, was life-changing. Apart from serving as their go-to change management liaison, I felt it was my job to be their advocate the way that they are for so many others. These social workers bore the weight of people’s lives on their shoulders. To play at least a small part in improving their day-to-day experience was a blessing I’ll never take for granted.

Why did you choose this business school? Tuck is a place where everyone can be “all in.” When you commit to this experience, you commit to two years when all your focus is on yourself, your teammates, and your craft. That kind of immersion can’t be just picked up and placed anywhere, and it’s especially hard to cultivate for the entire group around you. Tuck is special because while you are here, you’re connecting with others all the time, sharing world-changing ideas, and pushing each other to be the best versions of yourselves.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This question is ridiculously hard, especially as I work with a variety of professors on building out my business. Shout out to Professors Jennifer Dannals, Daniel Feiler, Kevin Lane Keller, Adam Kleinbaum, Praveen Kopalle, and Daniella Reichstetter.

For this question, I will spotlight Ramon Lecuona Torras, as I have been able to work closely with him almost every term at Tuck. In the core Strategy course and elective course Strategy in Emerging Markets, Ramon brought an enthusiasm into the classroom that was contagious; you could feel how much he cared about the students and put us first. He also worked hard to connect us with every executive he could one-on-one or through after-class fireside chats. This was invaluable, especially when he served as the Faculty Advisor for the Emerging Markets Conference and coordinated phenomenal programming with us on a regular basis.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would have tried to pursue my own business venture sooner. Regardless of one’s recruiting plans, the opportunity to learn while in school and apply your learnings to a business you are building is invaluable.

What surprised you the most about business school? Meeting my partner during business school.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I was fortunate enough to be a part of Management Leadership For Tomorrow (shout out to Coach Krista’s Krew!), an organization that prepared me phenomenally to apply to business school. If I had to pick just one aspect of the prep process that I would encourage for everyone, it would be to reach out to people who have gone to the schools you’re considering. Even if it’s a cold email, their insight will be informative as you prepare to apply.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I am fortunate that this is a brutally tough question because I admire so many of my classmates; they are absolutely amazing. In particular, I will spotlight Caleb Dorfman T’21 for all he’s done for our Tuck community. He is intelligent, direct, principled, and authentic. When this man sets his mind to accomplishing something, he is going to get it done and he’ll do so as his unapologetic self. I admire so many of my classmates, each in different ways. When I think of an individual who brought ideas into existence through sheer will, it’s Caleb.

He served as Academic Co-Chair with Carly Rauh T’22 on our Student Board in a year when the academic domain was the most uncertain. What would teaching look like in the year of COVID? Caleb and Carly partnered with Deans Joe Hall and Brian Tomlin to lead a group of students in creating our own in-person seat allocation system. Caleb also played the role of cheerleader to get people to participate actively in the Tuck experience, while successfully immersing himself in clubs and case competitions. I strive to approach problems and stand up for what I believe the way that Caleb does, and I am lucky to call him my classmate and friend.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? It was a huge disruption, there’s no getting around that. COVID completely altered our plans and the way we’re used to doing business here at Tuck. That said, I want to channel a sentiment my classmate, Sarah Blatt T’21, expressed in a recent conversation: While this has been challenging, it did also allow us to re-evaluate our toolkits. She spoke of the newfound access we have to executives outside the Upper Valley since they, and we, are more comfortable with Zoom interactions. I have always felt Tuck’s capacity to meaningfully host guests in-person is second-to-none. When you come to Tuck as a visitor, you get to be fully immersed in our community and experience while you’re here. It’s exciting to know that when we return to normalcy, we can coordinate a customized and intimate experience when executives are in-person, and can execute great virtual programming when they can’t be here themselves.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad. He pursued his MBA at UNC Kenan-Flagler and the way he spoke about his experience getting the degree, his relationship with others, and the way it changed the trajectory for our family, it seemed like a no-brainer to at least consider the option.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Teach a course at one of my alma maters and work internationally for a stint.

What made Teodoro Gonzalez such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“It is an honor to recommend Teodoro Gonzalez, or as he is known to his Tuck family, “Teo,” for Best and Brightest MBAs: Class of 2021. I remember getting an email from Teo back in July/August of 2019, introducing himself as an incoming student and letting me know a little bit about him. He informed me that he had hopes to become involved at Tuck, more specifically in student government and, most specifically, as class president. With a bit of skepticism, I filed the email away and said to myself, “We’ll see.” That was the last time I ever underestimated Teo Gonzalez.

Teo has been the consummate student leader. He was elected by his peers as Vice President of the Student Board his first year and President in his second. Being a leader is challenging, being a leader of your peers is even harder. Being a leader of your peers in a time of uncertainty and ambiguity is almost impossible. Yet, Teo has connected, collaborated, and cajoled to build the personal, connected, and transformative community Tuck is known for. He truly believes in the special and unique nature of Tuck and that when you buy into it, for every ounce of effort you give, you’ll achieve ten times the returns. He has pulled the student community together to navigate a pandemic, political uncertainty, and civil rights and social justice movements. He’s been behind the scenes always supporting his fellow students to create, innovate, and lead through difficult times. Teo is a consensus builder—he wants everyone to be happy, which is almost always impossible. I love the fact that he never stops trying, never gives up.  Always the eternal optimist.

Teo’s involvement goes beyond the Student Board. He was co-chair of the Tuck Emerging Markets Conference, a Venture Capital Fellow for the Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital, and a Tuck Admissions Associate. He created the “Strolls with Tuck Leadership”, walks around Hanover with Tuck leaders—a wonderful way for students and administration to get to know one another in a safe and healthy way during the pandemic.

The impact Teo has had as a student leader during turbulent times will be long lasting. He is kind, caring, thoughtful, engaging, intelligent, empathetic, and very funny. He loves dogs (his are Zena and Bruno) which will endear him to me forever. He has taken all of us through these challenging times together and there is no one I would rather be with on this journey than Teo Gonzalez.”

Sally Jaeger
Assistant Dean, MBA Program
Tuck School of Business