The following post is part of a series of student and alumni perspectives leading into the 26th annual Tuck Diversity Conference, taking place from October 30 through November 1.
“Where the heck is Hanover, NH?” was my mama’s first question when I told her I’d be going to Tuck for DivCo 2017. I burst out laughing but her question was completely fair—to our family the Northeast might as well have been a whole other world.
A little background on us: our family includes my sister, my mom, my dad, and two dogs. We are Latino through and through via our Puerto Rican homeland and our adopted home in South Florida (normally I’d say Miami, but if you are from Miami, I’m a poser and am actually from Pembroke Pines).
All this to say that Hanover and Tuck presented an opportunity unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and I was eager to check out what all the hype about this “Tuck community” was.
I booked my ticket and off I went for DivCo 2017—a weekend that was absolutely EPIC, but also one that I really just took in stride. I truly had no idea what I signed up for. Even when I arrived I had a little moment of panic because I heard other attendees mention they were interviewing for admission during the conference. Initially, I was like, “Oh no!” I just came here to hang out and see the place, and I am not prepared at all for any interview. Fortunately, I can’t hide my emotions on my face well and one of the DivCo co-chairs came over to reassure me: “Just relax and have fun! The interviews are just if people wanted to opt-in to do them while on-campus.”
After that mini heart attack, it was smooth sailing. Hour after hour I found myself in electric rooms with students, faculty, alumni, and staff listening to and partaking in what makes Tuck tick. It felt like this was a place where you could get to know everyone if you wanted to, and where the limits of your success would only be set by you. I was hooked.
Fast forward and a lot has happened since DivCo 2017. I went through the full b school application process with Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT). (Shout out to Coach Krista and my MLT Fam! You know who you are, Krew.) I wrapped up my first year at Tuck during a global pandemic, and I’m now figuring out my next step after I graduate from here come June 2021.
While at DivCo, I felt totally enamored by the ownership one can have here and the ways people can be so connected. I’m happy to say that, even in 2020, with everything going on, that’s still real. You come here and you can truly accomplish whatever you want if you’re willing to put in the work. I have professors who make themselves available whenever I am confused on a topic, which is often. I have classmates who bring perspectives and push me to be greater. And I have access to more resources than I ever could have imagined as I look to accomplish my goals.
In this culture, I’ve been able to thrive and I think it’s been the perfect stretch experience that I was looking for in my MBA. That said, let’s level-set expectations right now. If you’re looking to be surrounded by panaderías or looking for an opportunity to cheer on your major sports team like El Heat in person, Tuck isn’t the MBA experience for you. That might be hard to swallow, I get that—I love those things too. I have my mama sending me over pastelitos de guava y queso on a regular basis and I definitely schedule occasional urban retreats where I can get my city fix that I value so much. My classmates and I even work together to bring extra Latin elements to this space, whether it’s by scheduling nights when we cook mofongo together or spending days just chatting in Spanish to make it feel like our casas. However, for me the beauty of this experience and why people come to Tuck is to live an experience that is 100 percent immersive in the community, the education, and in one’s own self.
Every day we are trying to enrich ourselves without the distractions that automatically come when I can just say “Peace!” and hit the beach. We’re looking to get to know one another and build relationships that will span the globe. We’re considering where we want to be as people, personally and professionally, and what we each need to do to achieve those goals. We come to Tuck because we want to be 100 percent invested in these two years, locked in on our growth and on cultivating this community. If you come with this understanding and mentality, I promise by the time you’re done here you’ll be so sharp that when you roll up to the New Yorks, the LAs, and the Londons, you’re going to show out and take this world by storm.
With that, I’m super excited to see y’all at DivCo and I hope you’re able to see all that makes this place so special. Good luck everyone—you’re gonna be phenomenal!
Teo Gonzalez T’21
Teo Gonzalez is a Consortium Fellow, a Tuck Admissions Associate, a Venture Capital Fellow through the Center for Private Equity & Venture Capital, and President of the Student Board. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he majored in Health Policy and Management. Prior to Tuck, he was a Management Consultant at Accenture. Teo enjoys playing soccer, learning about venture capital and emerging markets, and assisting with Tuck’s recruitment/yield efforts.