I worked at Capital One for almost seven years. It was an analyst role, but a combination of internal consulting and general management. We were given a problem to solve using data and then had to execute the solution.
Why business school?
I really loved working where I worked, and I stayed there for a long time because of that. Which made the decision to go to business school that much harder. The struggle I had was, even though I was growing well within the firm, I felt I might have been going too deep into one area. I didn’t have the opportunity to look at other industries and learn from them. So a goal for me was to get out and take a broader look to see what was happening in other spaces and use that knowledge to be a better manager. I also just wanted to be a better people manager. That’s something very few companies teach. People usually get into management roles and fumble their way up. I personally felt like I struggled and there wasn’t an effective how-to guide to help me improve. I really wanted to sit and think about how people management is done, from a best-practices perspective across different industries.
When I got here I realized that the amount of access the students have to faculty is just phenomenal.”
Sreevishnu Narayanasamy T’13
I was looking for a school where I would feel comfortable and could thrive. Knowing that I do well in close-knit places where I know fewer people in a deeper way made it much easier to choose Tuck. This was a place I could see myself for a couple years, making meaningful relationships with people, having intellectually stimulating conversations, and making the best of the two years I’m taking off from my career.
When I got here I realized that the amount of access the students have to faculty is just phenomenal. It’s one thing to visit a professor during office hours, but another to go to several professors’ houses, cook with them, hang out with their families, and get to know them outside the work setting. These are people who are preeminent experts in the fields they’re working in. To know them personally and be able to call them up in the future when I have questions; it’s a fantastic resource and you’d be silly not to take advantage of that. That’s something the scale of Tuck offers.
I liked the core program a lot. It gives everyone a baseline knowledge about many fields they may not have investigated on their own. For example, the Capital Markets course. It was something quite alien to me, and I would not have gravitated toward it. But given that I had to take it as part of the core curriculum in my first year, I now have a better appreciation of actually how to run a company. I think that makes Tuck’s curriculum really solid.
Beyond the classroom
I co-founded a startup company at Tuck through the Introduction to Entrepreneurship course, and we then took it forward to the Advanced Entrepreneurship class. Then we entered and won the Barris Incubator contest, which helped us develop our product. We also won the top prize at the Greener Ventures entrepreneurship contest. Now it’s basically an official company and we’re working on getting customers and rolling out the product. The idea is mobile-based micro-surveys to gather customer feedback right after the retail transaction. The goal is to reduce the gap between when the experience actually happens and when you hear back from the customer, while at the same time making it easier for the customer to give feedback. The company is called Instant Insight.
I felt like, coming in, I knew what I wanted to do. But the most impactful thing about Tuck for me is that I was given an unexpected opportunity to start a business. I’m the last person who would be an entrepreneur. I’m risk averse. I like working in big companies, solving complex problems with a lot of people. But this is a place where can do something like entrepreneurship and fail and still be OK, because you are learning. I heard about a neat idea for a startup and knew it would be safe to try it out. And it turned out to be this great experience where you’re learning about how to make something happen with minimal resources. If you take that knowledge, it works anywhere. In that case, entrepreneurship is not about launching a company, it’s about coming up with ways to execute something when you are challenged from a resource perspective. That’s the kind of thing I didn’t expect I’d be doing at Tuck.