2024 Best & Brightest MBA: Ta-Von Wilson, Dartmouth College (Tuck)

Ta-Von Wilson

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

“A passionate, conscientious, and hardworking leader advocating for people to realize their dreams.”

Hometown: Cambridge, MD

Fun fact about yourself: Maybe not the most fun, but I’m a CPA (though I can barely do my own taxes!) and I love to skydive.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Massachusetts Amherst, B.A. in Accounting & Information Systems

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Ernst & Young, Audit Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2023? J.P.Morgan, New York City; Health Care Investment Banking

Where will you be working after graduation? J.P.Morgan, New York City; Health Care Investment Banking

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Co-chair, Black Students Association at Tuck
  • Co-chair, Private Equity and Venture Capital Club
  • MBA Fellow, Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital
  • MBA Fellow, Consortium for Graduate Students in Management
  • Co-chair, Tuck Diversity Conference
  • Teaching Assistant, Venture Capital and Private Equity

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? During my time at Tuck, I’m most proud of Tuck Black Ski. Tuck Black Ski (TBS) is a weekend ski trip for 300 MBAs from across the country that was planned and executed by only a handful of Tuckies. We began planning for TBS in May 2023 for a trip that took place February 2024. All the Tuckies know I am a huge introvert, so being behind the scenes of TBS was antithetical to my personality. However, it didn’t take long for me to see that this trip was something that would be extremely impactful not only to us personally, but to business students across the country.

Writing this, I can’t even estimate the number of late nights, calls, and emails we handled as a team. What I think I’m most proud of during this is that we put on an amazing event and I became lifelong friends with my classmates Dee, Venise, Ike and Oye.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Prior to Tuck, I was an auditor at EY. Most people might find auditing boring, but there was something exciting about working with a group of people day in and day out, all focused on a singular goal. The hours put into the job were intense, but the focus on quality and client service was ingrained into everything we did.

My proudest moment at EY was one of my last client engagements before I left the firm. I had the pleasure of working on an IPO for a tech company with some of the hardest-working professionals I’ll ever meet. We had less than six months—typically, we’d have at least a year—to get through an IPO of a client. They were amazing to work with – and had eager ambitions – but clearly needed guidance in getting to the finish line. The timing of this client also made it even harder as everyone was already exhausted from their normal client work—adding an IPO on top of it during COVID was not an easy ask.

It’s somewhat cliché, but when anyone asks what I enjoyed the most about EY, it has to be the people. Everyone worked extremely hard, knew their craft, and found time to mentor and support one another. Thank you to Harry, Kevin, Lisa & Samia for your mentorship, and Lynn, Beth, and Jim who taught me the importance of client service.

Why did you choose this business school? For me, the main reason was the location. I wanted the “24/7” MBA experience. I have friends in most metropolitan cities, but I wanted to use these two years to meet completely new people and not have any fall backs or social safety nets.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? This might be a wild card, but my favorite MBA course is Professor Gordon Phillips’ Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning and AI in Finance course. There are so many engaging classes to choose from, but this one stands out to me personally because it was probably my most challenging course.

I loved the class because it was small (only six of us) and it is a Research-to-Practice. In Tuck language, Research-to-Practice is a course in which we read, understand, and present the findings of research papers each week on a topic (e.g. using NLPs to codify businesses) and then we have a final project that involves our own work. I think I’m one of the only people in the class who didn’t know how to code, so this class was by far my stretch course. But Professor Philips is an encouraging professor who always made me feel like I could do the work and is also clearly a foremost expert and researcher in NLPs and ML. One of the best feelings I’ve had at Tuck was hitting submit on my research paper focused on the diversity of public company boardships and how diversity impacts firm performance on ROI, ROA, and ROE.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Easy—Tuck Talks! A Tuck tradition, once a quarter, students, faculty, and professors gather to hear stories from the Tuck community. The stories are extremely personal and enriching. It takes courage for speakers to stand in front of a 300-plus person audience and tell their life stories over 5-10 minutes. We have a rule about Tuck Talks: what’s said at Tuck Talks stays at Tuck Talks. But what I can say is that after Tuck Talks, I’m always left in deep appreciation for my classmates and proud to hear of their accomplishments.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? One thing I’d do differently is get to know the other graduate schools. Dartmouth is home to multiple graduate schools (Thayer, Geisel, and others) and attending their events is something I wish I had done more of while I was here at Tuck.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Everyone really does know everyone here in Hanover. I can go to a coffee shop or restaurant twice and everyone knows my name. Hanover is such a warm and welcoming place to students and everyone I’ve met has been genuinely interested in my story and how I ended up here. I’ve learned to slow down a bit and talk to others.

What surprised you the most about business school? Probably another cliché, but how quickly the time flies. It feels like yesterday when I pulled up to Hanover to move into the dorms. With less than three months left, I find myself looking around saying “where did the time go???”

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? There are so many classmates who come to mind that I admire and respect. I don’t know how Lawrence, Amy and Patricia work their magic, but Tuck Admissions always find a way to make a dynamic engaging and awesome group of peers.

The classmate I most admire is Jack Vann T’24. Jack was my roommate at Consortium’s Orientation Program (“OP”) and has become one of my closest friends at Tuck. What I admire most about Jack is his personal resilience and drive (he’s also extremely funny). Jack has this unique ability to be laser-focused on whatever he wants and has a way of galvanizing support for his initiatives in a way that I’m extremely surprised by.

Jack’s also a co-chair of Tuck Talks and I’ve seen how hard he works with his co-chairs to ensure the lineup for the event is intentional, thoughtful, and always goes off without a hitch.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? It’s too early to say retirement so I guess I’ll settle for these two:

  • Working internationally—I’ve worked with clients and employees from around the world, but I’m looking forward to my first international business flight.
  • Board roles—post-Tuck, one of my next professional goals is serving a nonprofit that speaks deeply to me in a directorship role on a Board.

What made Ta-Von such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2024?

“It is my privilege to recommend Ta-Von Wilson, a student leader and member of the class of 2024 who has spent his time at Tuck with the intention of having a positive impact. I first met Ta-Von through The Consortium, prior to his matriculation at Tuck, and I have seen his ability to command a room and inspire others to take advantage of everything the MBA experience has to offer. His energy, positive attitude, and good nature foster a collaborative and inclusive environment.

Ta-Von has been extremely thoughtful in choosing his experiential learning opportunities. I had the pleasure of being faculty advisor on a First-Year Project, where Ta-Von was project manager, working alongside four of his classmates, on a consulting project for one of the largest asset managers in the world. The culmination of their project was a successful presentation to research analysts within the firm which received rave reviews.

Ta-Von was also chosen to be part of the inaugural Tuck Compass program where he built a lifelong Personal Board of Advisers, including very senior professionals and academics who are now fully invested in his career and personal progression. His goal is to “align his personal purpose in pursuit of a life well led”. This coincides with Tuck’s goal of educating wise, decisive leaders to better the world through business.

During his time at Tuck, Ta-Von has been intentional in his goal of positively impacting others. As a leader of BSAT (Black Students Association at Tuck), Ta-Von was an organizer of Tuck Black Ski Weekend, held in Park City this year, which brought together Black business school students from across the country for social, professional, and networking opportunities. He was also a co-leader of DivCo, the annual diversity conference for prospective business school students at Tuck, which brings together diverse alumni, current and prospective students for a weekend of discussion, networking, mentoring, and socializing. Most recently, as a fellow of the Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital, Ta-Von organized a trek to New York and Connecticut to meet with PE and VC practitioners at various firms. Each of these commitments is extremely time consuming and critically important to students at Tuck. Ta-Von’s career at Tuck has been defined by service to his community and the current and future students that will follow in his footsteps.

Finally, as director of career advising, I am aware of the time and effort Ta-Von dedicated to mentoring Tuck first-year students, helping them prepare for and navigate the job market. There are students who come to business school asking what the school can do for them. Ta-Von came to Tuck asking how he could improve our community and the experience of others. He deserves to be recognized for his attitude and efforts.”

Deirdre O’Donnell
Director, Career Advising

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