How I became a Tuckie and Other Related Stories

Guest Student Contributor, June 03, 2014 | 0 comments
Tags: community, first year, advice, applying, admissions

Aditya Shah is a T'16 from Mumbai, India. Prior to Tuck, he worked for his family owned business, manufacturing and exporting tea. He claims to be a sucker for learning about all things that can be brewed (tea, coffee, beer, wine?), but also loves the outdoors and can't wait to attempt ice hockey and skiing in the next two years. After Tuck, he hopes to work outside of the family business for a while (probably brand management) so he can bring more value to it in the long term. He sends his cheers to the Tuck family, old and new!

July of 2012 was a particularly important month for me. I was marketing our company’s teas in the interiors of Russia, chalking out purchase agreements with old-school Russian distributors and soaking in the spectacular White Nights, when the b-school bug first seriously bit me. Until then, the MBA had just been a half-formed idea- the kind of thing that you briefly think about in those fleeting moments just before falling asleep and dreaming about the really important stuff- like that last slice of pizza you refused or the glorious thwack of Sachin Tendulkar’s straight drive.

I digress. Coming back to what made me really think about the MBA, I decided it was the entire experience of working in a foreign country. I was away from the comfort that familiar surroundings engender. It opened my eyes wider than anything ever had. I got an idea of what I was fairly good at, what I truly sucked at and most importantly, what I actually liked doing. I realized that I loved making products, not just marketing them. I also realized that in order to make better products, I needed better business sense, wider exposure to a mature consumer market and a deeper understanding of the principles that governed consumer behavior. It probably wasn’t an “AHA” moment, but yes, at some point it just clicked that I would benefit from an MBA from a school that understood my needs.

So my b-school research began.

I want to delineate some incidents that best capture this. During my application process, I decided to take a trip and visit the schools that I was considering applying to (which might sound like a costly proposition, but is seriously worth looking into for any b-school applicant). I visited nine US schools in 12 days. I spent two of those days at Tuck. In those two days, I somehow managed to tag along with some second-year Tuck students for their project visit to the Green Mountain Coffee factory, have dinner at the local pub among Tuckies, interview with a second-year Tuck student, sit in a first-year core class and spend another enjoyable evening arguing with a Dartmouth Computer Science student about the falsely inflated value of precious metals.

I went back with some truly fantastic memories. I was naturally ecstatic when I got the acceptance call from Tuck but decided to keep my head on my shoulders and continue exploring other one-year MBA programs as I grappled with the proposition of spending two full years away from work.

What I had not accounted for, was the deluge of Tuck-ness that I received as soon as I became an Admitted Student. Email, Social Media, Online Chats with the MBA Program Office, Tuck Tails in my city, mentors personally advising me about career paths, dinner with visiting professors, alumni contacts…all this when we hadn’t even set foot in the place as official students! I was stunned. Special mention must go to the T’16 India Whatsapp group that a couple of enterprising T’16s created. At that time, it felt like a bunch of people who just somehow got each other. Now it’s a forum to talk about anything and everything with a group that is genuinely invested in each other’s lives.

Anyway, what all the above did, was combine to banish any remaining concerns I had about where I really needed to go. It made me realize that I was a Tuckie at heart.

The T’16s are still three months away from entering Tuck as official students but the enthusiasm is there for all to see. I feel a thrum of anticipation, excitement and slight nervousness as I think of the two years ahead- a feeling eerily similar to the one I usually get just before my turn to sit on the largest coaster in a theme park.

Looking forward to this ride!

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