With specific interests in technology, venture capital, and underserved populations, Jodine Gordon T’18 was not looking for a one-size-fits-all business school.
She wanted a place where she could carve out her own path.
She had just started researching schools when a friend who graduated from Tuck sparked Gordon’s interest in the program. “It was the way she talked about the program,” recalls Gordon. “I thought, ‘It’s grad school—how can it be as transformational as she makes it sound?”
Extremely, as it turns out. In her time at Tuck, Gordon has partnered with professors on in-depth research projects, interned in Silicon Valley and Africa, and worked on an independent study exploring the design of platform business models.
“I’ve been able to take my skill sets to the next level,” Gordon says. “I’ve learned how world-class firms bring products to market and build market-leading companies. I have also had the opportunity to learn first-hand from investors about how they evaluate investment opportunities. Experiential learning at Tuck has been a game changer for me.”
As an MBA fellow with the Center for Digital Strategies, Gordon is working on a research project on product innovation in consumer hardware. Mentored by two faculty advisers, Alva Taylor, the faculty director for the Center for Digital Strategies, and Constance Helfat, the J. Brian Quinn Professor in Technology and Strategy, she is designing a framework that companies can use when inventing new product categories.
“When you’re doing something off the beaten path, it’s important to have the right support,” says Gordon. “There are so many people here who are personally invested in my success. They get my vision. They’re rooting for me and want to help me accomplish my goals.”
Gordon came to Tuck with an impressive resume, but she continues to expand it with internships that give her even more real world experience. Helped by a Tuck connection, she interned before she began classes with a Nigeria-based venture capital fund that invests in emerging technology companies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The experience was especially meaningful to Gordon, who has always wanted to level the playing field. Born in Jamaica, she came to the U.S. when she was three years old. While in Nigeria, she worked directly with the firm’s founders and was able to gain perspective that gave her more insight on what she wanted to do at Tuck.
Gordon began her career working for a startup accelerator in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. Later, she joined a Brooklyn-based nonprofit and created a data-driven technology platform that helped immigrant and family-run companies make smarter business decisions. In her most recent role before Tuck, she helped to launch an impact investing fund in New York City that provided distressed small businesses with growth capital. At Tuck, she’s been able to further her financial acumen with plenty of business courses. Even Statistics had application for the real world.
Experiential learning at Tuck has been a game changer for me.
“It was the hardest class that I loved the most,” says Gordon of the Statistics core course. “When I was taking the midterm and reading the problems, I thought they were fascinating and relevant. The examples reflected real world statistical problems, where theory meets application.”
This past summer, Gordon interned at Adobe and learned more about product development and the user experience. “Adobe was amazing,” she says. “The company is full of brilliant people working on cool things, and they made me feel like the work I did mattered and had impact.”
With so much expertise in finance, one might think it’s in the genes, but Gordon is the first in her family to explore a career in finance. The daughter of a registered nurse and educator, she grew up in a church where her father also served as pastor, surrounded by a strong community of faith and immersed in gospel musical traditions. Gordon, who also has experience in filmmaking and is a vocalist with the Tuck Band, says that her passion for the arts and creativity has given her balance, along with her surroundings in the Upper Valley.
“It’s so beautiful here and a great environment to be focused on my studies and self-discovery,” she says. “It’s a wonderful setting to go through this experience.”
When Gordon isn’t in the classroom, she’s helping others find their own voice. As co-chair of Tuck Talks, she coaches students, staff, and alumni on how to discuss personal experiences that have transformed their lives and present them to an audience. “The spirit of a Tuck Talk is focused on revealing who the speaker really is,” she says. “I love it because I get to flex my storytelling muscles and help people find their voice.”
*This article originally appeared in print in the winter 2018 issue of Tuck Today magazine.