2024 Best & Brightest MBA: Fresia Blanco, Dartmouth College (Tuck)

Fresia Blanco

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

“Determined empathetic leader whose passion lies at the intersection of education and financial inclusion.”

Hometown: Silver Spring, MD

Fun fact about yourself: I love to dance! My partner and I have made a promise to always be the first people on the dance floor at weddings.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Towson University, B.S. in Business Administration

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Common Securitization Solutions as a Senior Operations Associate

Where did you intern during the summer of 2023? Boston Consulting Group; Seattle, WA

Where will you be working after graduation? Boston Consulting Group, Seattle; Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Liaison, The Consortium
  • Co-Chair, Hispanic American Student Association at Tuck
  • Co-Chair, Tuck Diversity Conference
  • Nonprofit Board Fellow, AVA Gallery & Art Center
  • Fellow, Next50 Initiative

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being a co-chair for the Tuck Diversity Conference (DivCo) was hands down my proudest accomplishment during business school. I attended DivCo as a prospective student in 2021 and it completely changed my perspective on what I wanted out of an MBA. It was the most inviting experience, and I knew that this would be both a community that challenged me and embraced me. This is what inspired me to help lead the conference. I wanted to bring it to life and expand its programming to be more inclusive of low-income first-generation applicants.

As a low-income first-generation student, I felt frustrated during my first year of business school by all the surprise expenses that came along with the MBA. This prompted me to partner with Tuck’s low-income first-generation club (LIFT) for DivCo, to discuss the often-unspoken financial realities of an MBA and actionable next steps with 90 prospective students in attendance. Tuck’s Financial Aid team loved the materials we created during the session, and they now use it in some of their presentations.

I also had the privilege of working with the most amazing co-chairs imaginable. This is a very involved student-led conference that required many late nights and early mornings. My fellow co-chairs and I were so in sync with each other. While we came from many different walks of life, we were grounded in our passion to bring more diverse experiences to Tuck. I couldn’t have imagined a better team to run this conference with and I will always use them as the example of teamwork.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? During my time at Common Securitization Solutions, I launched the company’s first employee resource group for Latinxs. With little to no representation of Latinxs in upper management, it was important for me to create an environment where my community could gain visibility and the proper resources to invest in their career development. While I was a very junior employee at the time, I saw a need for the group both personally and professionally to help improve the talent pipeline at the organization. Although this was very intimidating at the time, I had the support of upper management, and they fully trusted my leadership capabilities irrespective of my rank in the organization. We held leadership training events for our members, showcased our culture during Hispanic heritage month, and volunteered at several schools in the community.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Tuck because of the small tight-knit community. This is something that truly set Tuck apart during my MBA search process. I knew that if I chose Tuck, I would be surrounded by classmates and professors who were all in. There’s no major city to escape to after class so those who are here are invested in making the most of their time at Tuck. I get so much joy walking through the halls of Tuck and knowing almost all the students. Not many MBA programs can say the same experience exists elsewhere.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Ramon Lecuona Torras. I first met Professor Ramon during a mock class at Admitted Students Weekend (ASW). He had such a passion and excitement that I had never seen in higher education, and I remember leaving ASW thinking, “Wow, I really hope I get to take his class.” Thankfully, I was able to take his core Strategy course during my first year at Tuck and he did not disappoint. Ramon’s class taught us the building blocks of good business strategy and the different ways to add value for your customers.

This spring, I will be going on a Global Insight Expedition (GIX) to Kenya led by Ramon. He has spent the last year crafting this trip to give us hands-on experience working with startups in emerging markets. The theme of this GIX is “Doing Well, by Doing Good.” We will work with four startups in Nairobi that Ramon has been working tirelessly with, to solve some of their toughest business problems.

The passion that Ramon extends both inside and outside the classroom. He always greets you with a smile in the hallways, lends a hand with prospective student events, or is willing to meet with you to talk through career opportunities. Professor Ramon is truly a pillar at Tuck!

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite MBA course was Leadership in the Global Economy (LGE) taught by Dean Matthew Slaughter. It offers a unique format where students role-play as CEOs of globally engaged companies, testifying before government entities like the U.S. Congress. Through this interactive experience, students enhance their abilities to articulate viewpoints, defend perspectives, and engage in constructive disagreement. I had the opportunity to testify during LGE and know for a fact I will keep lessons from this class with me for the rest of my career.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Tuck Talks—once a term we all gather to reflect as a community and listen to five stories from Tuck students, partners, faculty, or staff. I always walk away from Tuck Talks inspired by the strength of the speakers, and I often reflect on the lessons I gleaned from their stories.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would’ve gone to office hours more in my first year. Coming back to school was intimidating and I was often too nervous to go to office hours. However, the professors genuinely care about your success and are invested in your learnings. I’ve taken advantage of office hours more in my second year and I feel that I’ve had more opportunities to get to know my professors and allow them to get to know how I operate in the classroom. Now, they think of me for opportunities or projects that they’re working on and that means a lot.

What is the biggest myth about your school? That you must be “outdoorsy” to enjoy your time here. Before Tuck, I had never skied or went camping, and rarely hiked. While I’ve gained a deep appreciation for the outdoors since I’ve been here, it’s not my main source of enjoyment. I like to spend time with classmates over dinner or exploring the cute small towns in the surrounding area.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? I love that you quickly feel like a local in Hanover—I often run into classmates at the local coffee shops and say hello to professors in town that are walking their dogs or enjoying time with their kids. I never thought I’d love living in a small town so much!

What surprised you the most about business school? My classmates! I have met so many people in business school who come from all over the world and are so willing to share their cultures with the broader community. My first year living in the dorms, my floormates were from India, Peru, Argentina, and Japan. For some of them, coming to Tuck was their first time living in the U.S. While we all came from different walks of life, we bonded over food, music, and movies! Anytime there was a major snowstorm, or it was raining outside, you could always count on someone being in the common room with snacks in hand ready to watch a new reality TV show.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? (a-Von Wilson T’24—Ta-Von and I are both members of Tuck’s Consortium 2024 class and although I realized it during the early days at Tuck, he has become a true confidant of mine. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Ta-Von inside and outside the classroom. He is someone who would reassure me about my nervousness to speak up in class and would drop everything he’s doing to help those around him succeed. Every lunch period, I find Ta-Von on a coffee chat with a prospective student, having a one-on-one with a classmate, or planning for one of Tuck’s many conferences. Ta-Von cares a lot about improving the diversity at Tuck and the financial services industry. He’s co-chaired the Diversity Conference, PEVC Conference, Black Students Association at Tuck, Black Ski, and so much more that I’m sure I’m missing. With a laugh that extends through the halls at Tuck, Ta-Von will always be one of the classmates I admire most for his candor and willingness to help others.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Start my own business
  2. Write a book

What made Fresia such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2024?

“In admissions, we evaluate candidates on four criteria; smart, accomplished, aware, and encouraging. Fresia exemplified these criteria when she was admitted and continues to bring life to them as a Tuck student.

Her engagement in the Tuck community is recognized inside and outside the classroom, Fresia has built strong friendships and partnerships across the student community and with faculty and staff. Earlier this year, Fresia was leading a presentation for which I was in the audience—seated next to a faculty member. The faculty member leaned over and whispered to me, “Now that is leadership.” I am not sure there is higher praise than being seen as a standout by a beloved faculty member who has seen decades of students and alumni at Tuck.

Fresia was on the leadership team for one of our largest recruitment conferences this fall. She was an impactful project manager, who provided organization and motivation for the team. There is an art to leading volunteers and Fresia mastered this. She knew the strengths of her team, how work should be distributed, and where support was needed. While balancing life, classes, and competing extra curriculars, Fresia was consistently at 100 percent and an inspiration and driving force for the team.

In addition to being a member of the leadership team that executed the entire conference, Fresia closely collaborated with members of Tuck LIFT, our low-income first-generation student club, to develop, present, and debut a specific conference session on the topic of affording the MBA. The session was so impactful that our financial aid team would go on to incorporate some of the content into future presentations.

Fresia has built community inside and outside the MBA program. Showing up for others reflects her genuine care and desire to see others succeed. After Fresia and her team concluded a very successful conference weekend, she showed up to be on a panel the following weekend (bright and early on Saturday morning, no less!) to support fellow classmates who were leading the next recruiting conference.

As a Consortium Liaison at Tuck, Fresia has been an ambassador and a community leader. She directly supported applicants with an interview workshop, and countless emails and conversations. As a community builder she collaborated with Consortium classmates for a celebratory send off for the graduating class, a welcome event at the start of the academic year and a recent cabin night during the winter term.

Unstoppable, smart, and kind is an incredible combination of strengths that Fresia displays with humility and shares freely in support of others and for the benefit of our entire community.”

Amy Mitson
Director of Admissions, Recruitment & Marketing


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