Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Geet Kalra, Dartmouth College (Tuck)

Geet Kalra

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

Unapologetically ambitious, unafraid to ask and learn, frugal-minded Dukanwala, very serious about having fun.”

Hometown: Jalandhar, Punjab, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have been a Bhangra dancer for much of my life. Whenever I am stressed, I find an empty space, play hardcore Punjabi music, and do Bhangra. It is the best stressbuster, believe me!

Undergraduate School and Major: Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Engineering and Finance

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Yunus Social Business, Portfolio Associate

What word best describes the Tuck MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far and why? Collaborative. You know you are at Tuck when you get a response on your internship request from a C-suite alum in 10 minutes; when your classmates spend nights helping you find a place to live in a new location; or when one of the deans comes to pick you up from the bus stop when you arrive in Hanover.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Dartmouth Tuck’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? There are more resources per student due to Tuck’s small class size and sole MBA focus.

During one of my admissions outreach calls with a Tuckie, she said “Think of Tuck as if the entire fraternity—deans, faculty, administrators, thousands of accomplished alumni—is invested in the success of 285 students.” During my research too, mostly through one-on-one chats, I saw this aspect very clearly.

With my career focus in impact investing and consulting, I chose Tuck because of its larger per student attention in these areas.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Dartmouth Tuck? Two courses: Leadership Out of the Box with Professor Ella Bell Smith and Communicating with Presence. These courses are two of the most popular at Tuck and help students become more self-aware leaders.

The Tuck Social Venture Fund, Private Equity and Venture Capital Club, and hikes in Upper Valley are some things I definitely want to explore.

What excites you the most about coming to live in Hanover? What is the one activity you can’t wait to do? The close-knit community, where one becomes a part of the larger family of people at the college, restaurants, bars, and stores in the town, is what excites me the most about the beautiful town of Hanover.

In addition, I am excited to try out skiing and tripod hockey, which many Tuckies enthusiastically talk about.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Education, by far, is the best investment I’ve made in myself. When I joined impact investing three years ago, besides empowering social entrepreneurs with finance, I was determined to work towards democratizing financial education for them so that they could get better access.

After a year of concerted efforts, in June 2021, I led the launch of a five-course specialization on strategy and finance for the lifecycle of a social business on Coursera. I also participated in the instruction alongside inspirational names such as Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank.

This program became the first by any investment fund on Coursera and has served hundreds of learners across the globe.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? I feel fortunate to have been left relatively unscathed by COVID-19 and did not experience the effects many people in India endured. However, it made me go back to the drawing board and helped me block the noise and focus on things that matter to me, while also making me more resilient and practical.

For instance, small businesses around the globe were the worst affected during the pandemic. Inadequate knowledge, lessened demand, and greater competition in e-commerce led to working-class layoffs and savings burn. Witnessing the same in my family, I spent two months pre-MBA helping three small businesses navigate a way around COVID-19. This first-hand experience of challenges made me more determined to follow my career goal in impact investing.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? In the past three years of my career, I have had the opportunity to support many social businesses. While working with them, I was able to identify my knowledge gaps and realize that I need to grow both professionally and personally through a high-quality business education.

At Tuck, more than just an MBA, I seek a ‘circle of influence’ of people eager to work on ways to change the world. I look forward to applying my MBA learnings to work as a management consultant before transitioning back to impact investing and consulting in the long term.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Stanford GSB, Chicago Booth, UVA Darden and Michigan Ross

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Dartmouth Tuck’s MBA program? Here is my three-point advice:

1. Speak with past and present Tuckies to determine your fit with the school. Given its small class size and the expectations from each candidate, I think fitting Tuck’s core values is important.

2. The application process tests both an applicant’s values and motivations. I recommend a healthy mix of your professional and personal life in the application essays.

3. Be prepared to answer, “What legacy would you like to leave at Tuck?” Tuck rightly takes pride in its effective alumni network and puts a strong emphasis on keeping up this legacy in the future.

DON’T MISS: MEET DARTMOUTH TUCK’S MBA CLASS OF 2023

 

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