Meet Dartmouth Tuck’s MBA Class Of 2023

The best families aren’t always bound by blood. Sometimes, they are the people you choose to be in your life. They’re the ones who are always there, standing by you when you lose your way or fall short. With family, you can let down your guard; you can feel safe enough to be the real you. Sure, there are differences, but there is openness and respect too. That’s because families share a commitment to the values that brought them together.

At business schools, you’ll hear terms like community, mission, and experience bandied around. At the Tuck School of Business, these aspirations are feeders into something greater: family. Tuck administration may trumpet the core values of personal, connected, and transformative — and admissions will trot out criteria like engaged, encouraging, and empathetic. In the end, Tuckies are different because they self-select; they come to New Hampshire to take time out to be part of a family — where they are expected to be an integral member of its operation and an indispensable contributor to its success.

A DEAN DOUBLING AS A CHAFFEUR

Teo Gonzalez, a 2021 Tuck grad and P&Q Best & Brightest MBA, frames the Tuck difference this way: here, every student is “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,” he writes. “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.”

The Tuck family consists of more than just students. Roderick Milligan, another 2021 grad and P&Q MBA To Watch, adds Tuck faculty and staff to the family, pointing out how both join the Halloween and Christmas parties for the “Tiny Tuckies” (aka children of the students). Indeed, you’ll find this spirit extends to the alumni too, who are legendary for making the drive up scenic I-89 to help with cases, conferences, and mock interviews. Such personal touches made Tuck all the more welcoming to Geet Kalra, a first-year who was previously a portfolio associate in Muhammad Yunus’ social business fund.

“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,” he tells P&Q.

Tuck Campus

JUST BE NICE

At many programs, MBAs build networks. At Tuck, you grow alongside siblings. And the operative word around Tuck’s Hanover campus is “Nice.” Once expression of this niceness is how students go out of their way to help; they understand that their classmates’ success will ultimately contribute to their own. Just ask Kate Bayeux, who joined the Class of 2023 after working as an associate with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

“While researching schools, I spoke to more students at Tuck than at any other school,” she admits. “This was because each student I spoke with referred me to one student after another after learning what I was interested in studying at Tuck. Even something as simple as moving in (a sometimes-daunting task) became a fun activity when a group of classmates all volunteered to help unload a U-Haul for a fellow classmate. We had so many volunteers that everyone only needed to do one or two trips to completely unload the entire truck.”

And this mindset continues far beyond move in day, adds Destinée Mentor-Richards, a Broadway aficionado who last designed services at Edward Jones. “Tuck is a place where the moment you speak your dreams out loud, the whole community conspires to help you,” she observes. “For example, as part of our orientation (Tuck Launch) this year, the entire class reflected on what we wanted our impact to be in 22 years and the kind of career we imagined that would lead to achieving that impact. When the opportunity came, I nervously shared with my class my long-term goal of advising Fortune 500 companies on their global public policy strategies. Barely a day passed, and my inbox was filled with classmates recommending books, podcasts, and offering introductions to people who could help me achieve my goal. It was truly remarkable!”

FOCUS EXCLUSIVELY ON MBAs

Tuckies also have a tendency to hang together, be it bar crawls, movie night, or skiing trips. On a more intimate scale, small group dinners represent an equally “quintessential” Tuck tradition according to Madeleine Livingston, a spring MBA grad. Organized by classroom representatives, students bond over meals that expose them to a wide diversity of backgrounds and views.

“The small group dinners, where five people come together to cook and eat a home-prepared meal, mirrors the deeply collaborative Tuck culture,” Livingston adds. “People are often cooking a meal that reminds them of home and it can be a doorway to deeper, authentic conversations that transcend classroom and study group discussions.”

Indeed, Tuck is set up specifically to foster a family environment MBAs. For one, full-time MBAs are Tuck’s sole focus. Forget pesky undergraduates or weekend transplants, let alone online professionals logging in at their convenience. At Tuck, MBAs enjoy all the attention…and all the resources.

“There are more resources per student due to Tuck’s small class size and sole MBA focus,” observes Geet Kalra. “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.”

Tuck Campus in Winter

A STAYOVER IN HANOVER

The family atmosphere is reinforced by Tuck’s remote digs. Nestled in the mountainous Upper Valley along the Connecticut River, Hanover is like a refuge. Free from big city distractions, the region provides a quieter place to reflect, focus, and reset. Here, life’s rhythms are slower and simpler. You can start your morning jogging along the Mink Brook Nature Preserve — and maybe see a bear at its favorite watering hole. In the afternoon, you can mountain bike around the lake at Boston Lot. You can buy home-made soaps at farmer’s markets or sample vino at nearby wineries. Some MBAs enjoy picking apples and berries at local orchards. Others prefer to camp, canoe, or reel in bass at Storrs Pond. Either way, here’s the best part of Hanover: it is a four seasons destination, with activities ranging from winter skiing at Killington to horseback riding at Bretton Woods in the summer. In between, there is golfing, hiking, and swimming to the New England backdrop of farmhouses and log cabins, brooks and bridges, rolling hills and shady valleys.

It is a life embraced — even coveted — by the Class of 2023. “Already, my classmates and I have spent as much time as possible outside, whether eating dinner on the green, hanging out at the swimming dock, or going golfing or on bike rides,” writes Kate Bayeux. “With Tuck situated in the Upper Valley, the options for spending time outdoors are endless.”

SO MUCH TO DO

And adventure isn’t far from the classroom either, adds Christopher Moates, who managed corporate development for Make A Wish Georgia. “My entire life, I have loved the mountains. I feel so lucky to finally have them in my backyard and be able to hop out of my dorm and be on the Appalachian Trail in five minutes.”

The fresh air may stir the senses, but aren’t Tuckies missing out by spending two years in the Upper Valley? For alumni the answer is a definitive “no.” Jessica Ahn, who studied at UCLA as an undergrad and joined Bain & Company after earning her Tuck MBA, maintains that she never felt “isolated.” Instead, she argues that she never had enough time to experience everything she wanted to do. It is a sentiment echoed by her classmate, Teo Gonzalez.

“It shocks me every day there is so much to do in the Upper Valley and at school. I’ve never been as busy as I am at Tuck, whether I’m participating in faculty chats, meeting with classmates, taking adventures in nearby national parks, trying out local restaurants and breweries, or enjoying any of the area’s other numerous activities to do.”

One activity you won’t MBAs skipping, Gonzalez adds, is the school’s defining sport: Tripod hockey. “It’s such a great feeling seeing a bunch of collaborative, yet competitive, people attempt to take each other on at a sport they have minimal background in. It leads to a lot of falling, a lot of laughs, and a lot of moments when you celebrate a goal as if you have won the Stanley Cup.”

Tuck MBA Students, Fall of 2020

TESTING OUT STARTUP LIFE

Shreya Dhital doesn’t have a Stanley Cup on her mantel…but she did represent her native Nepal in the 2012 Olympics as a swimmer. Speaking of the Olympics, Tory Waldstein was named “Most likely to be on ESPN” in his middle school yearbook — an honor he shared with Aly Raisman, one of the most decorated gymnasts in U.S. Olympics history. By the same token, Geet Kalra is a Bhangra dancer, a discipline he uses to bust stress. And how is this for a way to spend a gap year between high school and college?

“I built habitat houses in New Zealand, mentored inner-city students in Nashville, and tutored foster children in Auburn,” writes Christopher Moates. “It was one of the best years of my life and has played a pivotal role in my decision to pursue a career in nonprofit.”

Destinée Mentor-Richards took on a similar risk. Four years ago, she left the “comforts” of Morgan Stanley to move to St Louis to be a fellow with Venture for America, a program that placed young talent in startups or innovation roles to “spur entrepreneurship.” Not only did the role expose her to the “road less traveled,” but also laid the groundwork for bigger roles at Boeing and Anheuser Busch.  The same could be said for Tory Waldstein, who pursued startup life after earning a degree in government from Harvard.

“At the startup I worked for, I was a key part of two pilot projects that would later be sold for seven figure contracts to our company’s biggest name customers. One of those projects was trying to identify groups most at risk due to care gaps caused by the pandemic. These pilots would eventually be commercialized, and I got to work closely with the product developers and designers to implement the analytics behind them.”

Next Page: Interview with Dartmouth Tuck Administrators

Page 3: Profiles of Dartmouth Tuck First-Years

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