It’s hard to believe that my Tuck experience is coming to an end: in less than two weeks, I will have my diploma and my status will change from “student” to “employment pending”, giving me the summer to rest and recharge before starting work full time in Philadelphia. While Commencement is where I will receive my degree, Investiture is the Tuck-specific “graduation,” where we will receive our academic hoods, hear from a member of our class (Cassandra Cummings T’14!), and from an alum (Sherri Oberg, aunt of classmate Jason Oberg T’14). My classmates know that I am a longstanding advocate for the use of puns in academic settings, so it seems appropriate to observe that the final event of our MBA career, Investiture, coincidentally starts with a business word: Invest. And how fitting that is, for a lot has been invested in us. In these two years, we have taken classes; researched companies, industries, and markets; traveled, for pleasure and class (and often both simultaneously); expanded our networks; learned new skills; and attended talks by a range of executives, government officials, authors, academics, and researchers. So, it’s fair to say that we’ve been invested in quite a bit.
If you ask around, though, you’re likely to find that the more accurate descriptor for our MBA experience beginning with “in” is, of course, “in debt.” I find myself indebted in a variety of ways. First, and perhaps most obviously, I am in financial debt. I believe the price of Tuck’s MBA is well worth it, but two years of tuition, board, housing, and incidental expenses sure does add up. Second, I am in debt to Tuck’s faculty of both academics and practitioners. They have freely given of their time outside of the classroom, devoted hours to planning and delivering courses that are truly distinctive, and made a serious and sustained effort to get to know us as people. Third, I am in debt to Tuck’s caring and dedicated staff, who go out of their way to help us and make incredible opportunities available to us. Fourth, I am in debt to Tuck’s alumni, who have given of themselves so generously in many ways. I have taken classes where alumni have visited to provide insight and advice based on their professional experience; in the process of finding a full-time job, I spoke with dozens of alums, all of whom were helpful and happy to share their perspectives. Fifth, I am in debt to my fellow students, be they in the class of 2013, 2014, or 2015. I am privileged to have spent one to two years with this amazing group of people; insightful in class, helpful in study groups, energetic in planning and leading extracurriculars, good-spirited on the playing field (or rink), supportive in recruiting and interview prep, genuine and friendly throughout, and enthusiastic about Tuck. Sixth, I am in debt to my classmates’ partners (Tuck Partners, or TPs, as we call them). Some live and work here, others work elsewhere and visit when they can, and all provide a deeper sense of community. Many of the amazing social events we have—from small group dinners to the Mexican Fiesta, Brazilian Carnival, and JKC (Japan, Korea, China) parties—are the result of their time and efforts. They also make it possible for pets to be part of our community, and I cannot tell you how nice it is, during the crush of exams and final papers, to have a puppy break (so perhaps I am also in debt to the Tuck pets). Seventh, I am in debt to this institution for so many reasons: its outstanding facilities, extensive network of exchange schools, numerous centers for research and learning, and convenient proximity to ski slopes and golf courses. Eighth, and perhaps most importantly, I am in debt to my family for their unwavering love and support.
All told, I am in a lot of debt! Like those of Game of Throne’s House Lannister, Tuckies pay their debts, at least the financial ones—most of the debt that I have accumulated is intangible (I think the accounting phrase might be “goodwill”), and there is more of it than I can count. Some of this intangible debt will be repaid through continued engagement with Tuck, some of it will be repaid by being a good friend. I am hopeful that most of the debt will be repaid by using the skills and abilities that I have gained at Tuck to make a positive difference in the world. That, at least, is my hope, aspiration, and goal. It has been an amazing two years and I am excited to see what the future holds!
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