How Seven Tuck Students Spent Their Summer

When it comes to Tuck MBA internships, one size doesn’t necessarily fit all.

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Kevin Griffith T’19 interned at Parker Ranch this summer, a Hawaiian cattle ranch run by Neil “Dutch” Kuyper T’92.

There’s really no limit to what a Tuck internship can look like. From creating a video game to studying energy dynamics on a cattle ranch in Hawaii, here are a few personal tales of what Tuckies were up to this past summer.

Marcus Morgan T’19, Microsoft (Xbox)

Gaming has always been a passion for Marcus Morgan who had previously worked at Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts, so when it came time to choose an internship, the Denver native decided on Xbox.

Since Morgan already knew the industry inside and out, he hit the ground running by creating a marketing strategy for how Xbox could expand its geographical presence. He felt right at home in the company’s culture; many of his fellow employees were smart, passionate gamers who liked to “nerd out” about gaming.

In his day to day, Morgan says he pulled in all the tips and tricks that he learned from his fellow Tuckies who had consulting and banking backgrounds. “Through osmosis, I remembered what they had learned from their careers, their life experiences and approaches to problems, and all of that elevated me as a leader and individual contributor to Xbox,” he says.

In his down-time, Morgan turned to YouTube, learned how to code, and built a video game that he said was a lot of fun to develop and brought him one step closer to a goal he had when coming to Tuck for his MBA.

“The gaming industry is dominated by big players, and one of the things I wanted to do was help smaller, independent developers,” he says. “Building my own game made me more empathetic. I realized how hard it is to build a game. It was such a cool experience to have an idea in my head and bring it to life.”

Morgan also had the chance to Livestream on the Xbox channel about the game Fortnite and build relationships with senior leaders at Xbox. “The industry is very small, so to have my face out there will be very impactful for my career down the line.”

Lindsey Wilcox T’19, Costanoa Ventures

Working in venture capital was the perfect summer internship for a curious, energetic MBA candidate like Lindsey Wilcox. Despite the fact that she had never worked in venture before, she quickly learned it was a career path that suited her.

“Venture rewards people who want to learn,” says Wilcox, who worked in San Francisco for Costanoa Ventures. “You are shifting gears all the time, and no single day is alike. I absolutely loved that.”

Wilcox certainly experienced variety. One week, she was knee-deep in research on autonomous vehicles. The next? She was learning about cloud data infrastructure or satellite communications. Sometimes, there were long nights, but she loved the chaos and welcomed the chance to learn something new. 

She whipped up professional decision-making models that were so good they earned her plenty of accolades from her managers. “They were beyond impressed with my Excel skills, and that’s something that I didn’t have prior to Tuck,” says Wilcox, who is also a fellow at the Center for Private Equity & Venture Capital and the Center for Digital Strategies.

A native of Portland, Oregon, Wilcox was interested in getting back to the West Coast, so while she was in California, she scheduled lots of coffee dates and created plenty of networking opportunities with fellow Tuckies in the area.

“I was surprised at the strength of the Tuck network 3,000 miles away,” she recalls. “Every single person I emailed got back to me—managing directors and partners, too. There’s something special to be said for that. They were really excited to have more of us interested in the West Coast.” 

Katherine Solomon T’19, Wonderschool

Choosing a small company for a summer internship has plenty of advantages. For Katherine Solomon, that meant working one on one with the CEO, head of marketing, and other leaders at Wonderschool, a San Francisco-based startup that makes it easier for teachers and caregivers to start and operate their own child care programs and for families to easily find them. (Think Airbnb for preschool.)

To work for a tech company making an impact at the intersection of education and economic development was a pipe dream.

“I have always been passionate about education,” says Solomon, an undergraduate English major from Virginia Tech. She previously worked as a teacher through Teach for America and as a consultant at Accenture, seeing her Wonderschool internship as a way to pivot into tech and social impact.

Solomon came into Wonderschool as a strategy and growth intern and was immediately impressed that she was given responsibilities that would have a true impact on the company. “It was such a privilege to work hand-in-hand with company leadership on initiatives that would drive Wonderschool’s rapid growth,” she says.

Solomon was tasked with a number of different responsibilities that allowed her to employ skills learned during her first year at Tuck. She applied what she learned in Corporate Finance to help develop the company’s B2B business model, closing four pilots with leading technology companies in the Bay Area. Leveraging what she learned in a design thinking course taught by Alva Taylor, she led a week of workshops to glean best practices from founders and early employees of leading marketplace platforms including Uber, Airbnb, Postmates, and OpenTable.

As the first Tuckie to work for the company, Solomon’s internship was made possible with matching funds from the Maynard Entrepreneurial Internship Program, funded by Fred Maynard T’85.

“To work for a tech company making an impact at the intersection of education and economic development was a pipe dream, and I found just that with Wonderschool,” she says.

Kevin Griffith T’19, Parker Ranch

When Kevin Griffith grabbed a coffee with Neil “Dutch” Kuyper T’92, he never imagined that it would turn into a dream internship opportunity in Hawaii.

Kuyper, the CEO of Parker Ranch, had traveled back to Tuck to discuss how the long-time cattle ranch was using renewable energy resources to run its operations and become more sustainable. Griffith was intrigued.

“They didn’t have an official internship program, but over the next week we stayed in touch by email and discussed a couple different opportunities,” Griffith recalled. “I knew that by going to the company, I’d get exposure to multiple business areas that would be exciting to me.”

In his day to day, Griffith worked closely with Nell Achtmeyer T’16 in Parker Ranch’s corporate development office, identifying new business opportunities that would help the Ranch grow alternative cash flows from the land it owned to supplement its core ranching business. He considered plenty of factors in his assessment, from the capital investments required to how many employees the company would need.

Living in Hawaii had plenty of personal and professional advantages for Griffith. He relished the island’s more laidback pace; his workday typically started after a sunrise swim at Hapuna Beach on the west side of the island and ended in the early evening. Griffith also learned a lot about energy just by living in Hawaii.

“Hawaii has some of the strongest, most consistent solar irradiance and wind speeds in the world, and that’s part of the recipe that makes it such a great opportunity for power,” says Griffith, who is also a fellow at the Revers Center for Energy.

Griffith also picked up a few lessons from a cowboy named Chance, who was participating in the company’s cowboy intern program.

“He taught me about ranch operations and how performance is typically measured, and it was far more quantitative than I expected,” Griffith says. “I learned a lot from him.”

Lucy Cevallos T’19, TripAdvisor   

When Lucy Cevallos landed an internship at TripAdvisor, she knew she was going to be challenged, and that was exactly what she wanted.

“I wanted to be out of my comfort zone,” says Cevallos, whose background is in education. “For me that was the most important factor.”

Prior to arriving at Tuck, Cevallos, a former Teach For America corps member, worked as a high school teacher in New Orleans and had never before worked in travel, tech or product management.

“I’ll never forget my first day,” Cevallos recalled. “I went to an engineering stand-up meeting, and I felt like I was listening to a completely foreign language. So, I set a new goal for myself. By the end of the summer, I wanted to be able to understand what people were saying enough to ask critical questions and to be able to actively participate in the conversation, which ultimately I was able to do.”

I wanted to be out of my comfort zone. For me that was the most important factor.

Each day, Cevallos took the TripAdvisor free shuttle service from her home in Cambridge to the company’s headquarters in Needham, Massachusetts. While there, she collaborated closely with product managers, designers and engineers on a new project for the company’s website that eventually millions of TripAdvisor users would see when researching travel ideas, planning an upcoming trip, or sharing travel recommendations.

While working in product management, Cevallos learned the value of story-telling. “When you’re proposing a new product idea, you really have to nail why it’s going to be effective and how it will benefit users to get everyone on board. That’s a skill my internship helped me grow in, and I know will be valuable in future opportunities.”

Cevallos also credits her TripAdvisor experience for helping her strengthen her stakeholder management—which will be crucial in her future aspirations to work in education policy.

“The whole experience was a ton of fun, and I loved that I got to use my creative side,” she says. Plus, TripAdvisor is a dog-friendly workplace. “I had a sweet lab puppy, Luna, as my neighbor. She was another added bonus to my summer.”

Jenna Romeo T’19, Castlight Health

With a background in pharma and health care, Jenna Romeo arrived at Tuck excited to explore an interest in digital health. And when an internship opportunity at Castlight Health in San Francisco caught her eye, she jumped on it.

After working at large organizations throughout her career, Romeo wanted to experience what it was like to work for a smaller company, and she was especially intrigued by Castlight’s value to customers. The company makes an app that helps users easily navigate their health benefits, from finding the best doctor at the lowest cost to connecting users to wellness programs.

“I was interested in synthesizing how technology could be used to help consumers make smarter and more informed health care decisions,” says Romeo, who is also a fellow at Tuck’s Center for Digital Strategies.

At Castlight, every day was different. As a product marketing intern, Romeo had the opportunity to explore many different business functions, from working with sales on communicating new product features to doing a deep dive in the company’s marketing materials. In addition, she was able to present to customers, train internal teams and lead a quarterly user webinar.

Romeo found that she liked being on the consumer side of health care and was a natural fit for product marketing. She knew how to think at a high level, had a knack for being able to put herself into consumers’ shoes, and enjoyed working with different teams across the business

By the end of her internship, Romeo had honed her story-telling skills—a crucial component of product marketing—and had fun while doing it in a new city, surrounded by an exciting tech culture. “I truly felt like I was part of the company. It was hard for me to leave,” she says.

Flora Tian T’19, Danaher

Flora Tian arrived at Tuck wanting to improve her leadership skills with the hope of running a business unit or a company one day.

When it came time to choose an internship, Tian decided on Danaher, a fast-growing conglomerate with a well-structured general management program. Although Tian had worked all around the world in Singapore and Malaysia, she found herself enjoying a different pace in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, just outside Chicago, with Danaher’s Leica Microsystems.

I came in without any prior knowledge of the product and the business unit, and I went from knowing nothing to being able to help the business grow in such a short time.

“I saw my internship as an opportunity for me to try something different for a few months,” Tian says. “And I had heard that the culture at Danaher was similar to Tuck—collaborative and supportive, where people were friendly, smart and humble.”

Tian spent most of her time working on a project for the company’s field operations team. She worked on strategic plans to grow the revenue streams from service contracts on a high-end microscope used by investigators and researchers around the world.

“Everything was new to me, but my manager had so much trust in my abilities,” she says. “He really valued my opinions and allowed me to visit our customers on my own.”

Tian conducted interviews with customers in person and over the phone to learn their opinions of the service and how it could be improved. She was glad she had taken The CEO Experience right before her internship, where she put what she learned from the course, such as the importance of listening closely to customers’ needs, in action.

“I felt proud at the end of my internship,” Tian says. “I came in without any prior knowledge of the product and the business unit, and I went from knowing nothing to being able to help the business grow in such a short time.”