When I decided to come to Tuck, I first saw it as an opportunity to have a unique life experience. I used to live in big cities with large populations and skyscrapers. I thought, if I could study for my MBA while living in a unique environment far from crowds with green spaces and snow for two years, wouldn’t that be cool?
As I look back on the past year, I’m glad that I not only decided on Tuck, but I’m also grateful that this experience has come with many surprises. I would describe the Tuck experience with three words: adventure, fun, and love.
Outdoor sports are an exciting adventure at Tuck. I joined a pre-term canoeing trip with 12 classmates last August. We spent a week together rowing boats on the Connecticut River, setting up tents, barbecuing in forests and hiking mountains for hours. It was my first time living in the wild, and I learned the true value of teamwork through this unique outdoor experience. The outdoor trip made us closely bonded. We came from different countries in the world and barely knew each other at the beginning. After the trip, we became best friends on campus and supported each other through the school term.
During the school term, I also played golf at Hanover Country Club and skied in Killington with my classmates. In different seasons, I could always find adventures and felt great doing it.
Studying usually seems boring and stressful. However, the study model at Tuck turned out to be a fun learning process.
For instance, I joined Professor Adam Kleinbaum and 24 classmates on an experiential course to Israel in March. It was one of the GIX courses at Tuck during the spring term. GIX courses give students the opportunity to travel to a new country and explore its politics, history, cultures, and businesses.
During the Israel GIX course, I had deep exposure to Israeli startups, defense systems, politics, history, and local communities. I also had opportunities to talk with local venture capitalists, young entrepreneurs, politicians, and military soldiers. Every day, Tuck students took turns researching the backgrounds of places we would visit and sharing our findings with the group. After each visit, we exchanged ideas on the bus. No doubt, the world is the best classroom to learn in, and GIX is unique way to obtain, exchange, and digest knowledge while traveling the world.
When I came back to the U.S., Professor Kleinbaum and I started a pioneering business buddy program between Palestinian and Tuck students. The program paired ten students together to support one another and achieve mutual professional benefits. I am very proud of initiating the cross-region buddy program to make impact out of the GIX course.
Professor Paul Argenti’s corporate responsibility course was one of my favorite in-class learning experiences. It was inspiring and valuable. I used to think the concept of corporate responsibility was common sense. However Professor Argenti’s lectures challenged and transformed my traditional thinking. Through his vivid illustration of cases on Shell, Walmart, and other well-known corporations, I learned the triple bottom line sustainability system and realized the importance of NGOs. Professor Argenti also invited CEOs to class to share real cases such as a lecture from Neil “Dutch” Kuyper, CEO of Parker Ranch in Hawaii. During my first year project with an Atlanta-based conglomerate on sustainability, Professor Argenti and his lectures greatly helped me to offer valuable analysis and advice to clients. I will carry forward what I learned in his class in my future career and personal development.
When I first came to Hanover, I lived in a farm house in Vermont and didn’t have a car. Several classmates noticed and they spontaneously came to pick me up on campus and gave me a ride to my house 10 miles away. This continued through winter when the weather was extremely cold and days became shorter. Tuck also has the tradition of “safe ride” which gives students free rides home late at night. Though winter in Hanover can be extremely cold, I felt warm in my heart by what my classmates had done to make my life easier.
Tan, along with other Tuck students, joined fellow classmate Adam Koziatek T'18 (left) and his Tuck Partner, Rhea (right), in their home for a small group dinner.
I also found myself often in different homes enjoying wonderful dishes with my classmates and professors, which made me feel at home while being away from home. Adam Koziatek T’18 and his wife Rhea invited me to make dumplings; I cooked Chinese dinner with Anna Macharackova T’17 and friends; Kohei Suwabe T’18 and his wife hosted me to have Japanese cuisine. Professor Sydney Finkelstein and his family opened their house to welcome me and my fellow classmates to cook and enjoy Dutch dishes. These moments built up a sense of family and love during my Tuck experience.
My time on the Tuck campus may be limited, but my Tuck experience has been filled with adventure, fun, and love that will stay with me forever.
Hometown: Shanghai & Hong Kong
Undergraduate school and degree: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Finance
Previous work experience: Associate Director, UBS Private Wealth Management
Summer internship: Google
Leadership Roles in Business School: International Club Chair Entertainment, Sports and Media Chair Representative of Tuck at MBA Case Competition UCLA Entertainment Case Competition in Los Angeles IESE Roland Berger International MBA Case Competition in Barcelona
Advice to applicant for Tuck: Protect your dream and be persistent
Favorite Quote: "Life has no limitations, except the ones you make." –Les Brown