Leading up to Tuck Investiture, Friday, June 11, 2021, the Center for Digital Strategies at Tuck has been busy celebrating the unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives of its 13 MBA fellows, all of whom are second-year students interested in digital technology and its impact on business. In Part 1 of this series, we met seven of these graduating T'21s. Below we are introduced to six more. To see their full responses, visit the CDS blog.
Hometown Southern California & Turkey…I spent so much time living and working in Turkey that it is as much a reflection of who I am as my time spent in Southern California.
Pre-Tuck Employer Sony, Fox
Post-Tuck Plans Boston Consulting Group, New York
The people! I had many conversations with students from other business schools; while I was grateful they took time to speak with me, our conversations did not come naturally. On the other hand, my conversations with current and recently-graduated Tuck students seemed incredibly genuine, which was a completely different experience. I’m grateful that I’m still in touch with those people, who range from T’16s to T’19s. One Tuckie that I spoke with many times was Monique Alves T’17. At Tuck, she was a CDS Fellow and part of the Consortium. During fall of my first year, I was in San Francisco for the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Deep Dive and she actually came for a TuckTails – I finally got to meet her in person!
What is the best part about being involved with CDS?
(Surprisingly or possibly not), the people! On February 14, 2020, I joined the CDS and Center for Business Governance and Society (CBGS) for an experiential learning trip to Ben & Jerry’s in Vermont. From start to finish, the trip was fun and informative. In the morning, we met with the Head of Global Digital Marketing and the Head of Global Activism. Both leaders shared various ways Ben & Jerry’s combines social activism with digital marketing strategies. We started with a very business-focused conversation, got to know our peers from the CBGS, had some ice cream, then had lunch together in Burlington. The day was enriching from both an educational and personal standpoint, and probably was one of my favorite Valentine’s Days, ever!
You’ve said before that you’re a bit older than some of your peers at Tuck. What perspective has that given you in your time here?
I’m about 4-5 years older than Tuck’s “average age.” Prior to meeting my fellow Tuck classmates, I was concerned that I would be either out-grouped or not able to connect with them. Fortunately, human nature pushes connection. Through some reflection, I realized that perspective was an unrealized fear. Flash forward to today, the majority of my friends are within that average age group, and I could not imagine a better group of individuals!
Hometown Berkeley, California
Pre-Tuck Employer A SaaS start-up in New York
Post-Tuck Plans Goldman Sachs, San Francisco
I chose Tuck because I wanted an intimate and tight-knit MBA experience. I was attracted to Tuck’s small class size and remote setting – I loved the idea of all my classmates packing up their lives and relocating to this beautiful place together.
What is the best part about being involved with CDS?
The “learning for learnings sake” mindset of the Fellows group. Sessions are not always about business or recruiting – sometimes the focus is just on developing a deeper understanding of the visible and invisible world of technology that surrounds us. An MBA is an amazing but fundamentally practical degree, and the importance of academic inquiry is alive and well at the center.
What aspect of living in the Upper Valley has surprised you the most since arriving here?
How many activities you can do outside in the winter! Snowshoeing! Cross-country skiing! The possibilities of the winter season open themselves up to you when you can easily slip into the great outdoors.
Hometown I’m a transplanted New Englander and Boston is home these days.
Pre-Tuck Employer Catalant Technologies, Boston
Post-Tuck Plans Toast, Boston
I’ll admit that leaving Catalant for an MBA program was a tough decision for me. I loved my team, loved my work, and wasn’t looking to switch industries or change careers. But I chose to pursue a Tuck MBA (and am beyond glad that I did!) for three reasons:
I’m a MASSIVE business nerd and I wanted to work with specific Tuck professors and Centers to research the forces that drive the B2B SaaS industry (more on that later).
I’d spent the core of my career selling and marketing to senior executives at massive enterprises, but I had one big problem…. I’ve never actually been a senior executive at a massive enterprise! Business school is an incredible way to reverse engineer how executives and the consultants they work with think.
The tech industry is great at growth and innovation, but we are not always good at building companies the right way. I wanted to study how companies across industries have built inclusive and enduring businesses that lift customers, employees, and communities up. From its teaching to its culture, Tuck emphasizes not just what business leaders do, but why they do it.
After two years at Tuck, I can happily confirm that we’re 3 for 3 on these goals
What is the best part of being involved with CDS?
The list is long! But it all comes down to the people and the work. On the people side, my co-Fellows and the faculty and staff at the Center are some of the most diverse, deeply experienced, and thoughtful humans I’ve ever met. Where else can you talk about the future of streaming media with a peer who worked at a major network one day, and dive into digital health with a classmate who helped build the ops team at a major healthcare startup the next?
CDS has also supported the most important research and writing I’ve done at Tuck. During my first year, I did an independent study with CDS Faculty Director Alva Taylor and Professor Steve Kahl, which turned into my first ebook, Forget Frameworks: Why B2B SaaS Needs Product Engines. My second ebook, The PMM Field Guide: 11 Predictions for the Future of B2B Product Marketing would not have happened without support from the CDS team.
You wrote two books in two years–all while pursuing your MBA. How did you find enough time to write?
Writing for me is all about consistency. Waking up every morning and waiting for inspiration to hit usually leads to a lot of waiting and not very much writing, so I push myself to write and revise at least a little bit every day. I’m also a big fan of writing how I talk. It’s easy to assume that great business writing needs to sound like a “business-y” WSJ article or McKinsey white paper. Not true! Most people want to feel like they’re reading unique ideas from a real person who’s passionate about the work they do. There’s no point trying to sound like someone else.
Hometown Old Saybrook, CT
Pre-Tuck Employer athenahealth
Post-Tuck Plans I’m looking for product roles at early stage health tech startups, primarily on the East Coast.
Coming from a small liberal arts school for undergraduate, I knew I thrived in a close-knit atmosphere and community, and I decided to focus my search on business schools of a similar size and ethos. As I learned more about Tuck, I was really excited about the students’ ability to collaborate with faculty and the joint MBA/MPH program offering, which can be completed in the same amount of time as the traditional MBA program. My goals post-business school center around health equity and social justices, so I wanted to find an MBA program that had a strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; Tuck certainly fit the bill.
What made you want to be a part of CDS?
First and foremost: I had an amazing experience in my first year as a CDS Associate. Early on at Tuck I could see from all of the information sessions and meet-and-greets that the CDS just embraced students who were curious about different topics and just as importantly: they know how and where to “meet” students to help them run with topics they’re interested in. As an Associate, I loved bringing ideas or topics to Patrick and Joe that I was excited to share with my peers. They were (and still are!) always encouraging and provided support bringing these ideas to life. Seeing that sort of commitment in action–and being a part of it–inspired me to want to be part of the CDS as a Fellow in my second year. I have very specific interests for my career: I’m interested in the intersection of health care and technology. From an intellectual curiosity standpoint, though, I love being able to learn about things outside of the health tech world, and the CDS Fellows program has allowed me to flex that intellectual curiosity.
What has been the biggest growth moment or moment where you stepped out of your comfort zone?
One of the most transformative moments for me at Tuck was the “Communicating with Presence” class I just completed. I never thought a business school class could actually be so life changing! I walked away from that class so surprised and content that I was able to better know and understand myself as a future leader. It also provided a new lens and insight into my classmates on a much deeper level. I simultaneously dreaded each class and loved it, because it made me so uncomfortable; I came out of it feeling more powerful and confident than ever.
Hometown Wendell, MA.
Pre-Tuck Employer CarGurus
Post-Tuck Plans I’ve been working on a start-up, DYNR, since I started at Tuck. DYNR is a QR-code menu designed to enhance the in-person dining experience.
CarGurus is founded by Tuckie, Langley Steinert T’91. He also co-founded TripAdvisor, and he is so well-known and respected in Boston tech that I figured there must be something special about Tuck. So many leaders at CarGurus have Tuck MBAs. CarGurus’ current CEO, Jason Trevison T’03, convinced me to look at Tuck when I began considering business school. The fact that these leaders would consistently say Tuck was the best two years of their lives really stood out to me. Now having been here myself for two years, I can see why they said that!
What is the best part of being involved with CDS?
It’s the people. Both the fellows and the center team are uniquely supportive of one another. When I’ve talked with CDS alumni, I feel connected to Tuck on an even deeper level. There’s a mutually shared passion for technology and disruptive business models that makes every conversation more exciting and more valuable. It always feels like I’m learning so much from my classmates. I trust everyone from the center in a way that is hard to put into words.
What speaker(s) have you learned the most from in your time at Tuck?
There’s so many. Ed Loh, Editor in Chief of “Motor Trend” helped me understand how close we are to a scalable electric vehicle that can truly hit the masses–even more than what we have right now with Tesla’s Model 3. Niraj Shah, co-founder and CEO of Wayfair, was maybe one of my favorites, too. I learned so much about marketplaces from him. He’s such an inspiring entrepreneur, and he makes it sound so effortless. It’s as if he built a 10-person company when the reality is he built the most disruptive furniture business in the world. Another that sticks out to me was David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-executive chairman of The Carlye Group. I had the opportunity to do breakfast with him one morning, then I went to his speech later in the day. Hearing from him was so powerful. He had so many valid critiques of government, and it was inspiring to me to be more authentic, worry less about offending people, and stand by and defend whatever it is I believe in.
Hometown Taipei, Taiwan. I grew up in Taipei and moved to the United States when I was 14 for high school.
Pre-Tuck Employer Forrester
Post-Tuck Plans I am recruiting now and hoping to find a product marketing or strategy role at a growth-stage consumer or retail tech company.
I chose Tuck because I was really excited about going to a small business school program. I didn’t have any “business” experiences in an academic setting. One of the biggest catalysts for me happened while I was working with a client at Forrester. I was trying to convince them to invest in a technology provider that would improve their loyalty program. I was speaking with the CTO of one company and he said, “I have so many other investments I need to make for this merger to even happen, and this is very low on my list…” Until this point, I was so focused on what I wanted him to do…it just made sense to me that he should focus on this loyalty program, because I knew it had immediate benefits. It was then that I realized I had no idea how the marketing related investment I was pitching to his company fit into the overall business strategy of the organization.
What has been the best part of being involved with cds?
I like being able to take what I’m learning in the classroom and apply it directly to the roles and industries I want to be part of in the future. Every company and industry needs a digital strategy, and the topics we discuss as CDS fellows are a great extension of what I’m learning in the classroom. I’ve made great friends in the center with the staff and my peers, and it is something that just makes me really happy. I love being able to come to a lunchtime meeting, hear from people at different companies, and just learn about topics I had zero familiarity with. I love that through the CDS I can now at least ask intelligent(ish) questions about eSports and I shouldn’t have passed on that opportunity to join Musical.ly (now TikTok) three years ago. The CDS has really helped me learn how to think critically about moonshot technologies.
What other activities are you involved with at tuck?
I am a Tuck Admissions Associate, Visiting Executive Fellow, Wine club co-chair, and Marketing and Retail club co-chair. I was really involved in organizing this past year’s annual Marketing Symposium and got to host some awesome Tuck and Dartmouth alums. Pre-Covid, I played Tripod hockey and loved it!