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Apr 29, 2020

Going “All-in” with a Tuck MBA

Teodoro Gonzalez

This blog originally appeared on MBAschooled.com

After working in management consulting, Teodoro Gonzalez (T’21) decided to get an MBA to develop personally and professionally in his career. He chose Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business because he felt it was a school where he could fully immerse himself in the MBA experience. During this interview, Gonzalez spoke about his reasons for choosing Tuck and how he has been able to go all-in during his Tuck MBA Experience.

MBASchooled: What did you do before business school, and why did you choose to come to business school?

I was working in management consulting at Accenture, where I focused on large-scale implementations in the Health & Public Service practice. Although I loved my time at the firm, I wanted to go to business school for two main reasons. First, I wanted the opportunity to take two years to fully focus on developing myself professionally, academically, and personally while developing my business skills toolkit. Second, I wanted to be in a position where I could integrate myself into a tight-knit community whose members have a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and ambitions, but share a unique common experience.

MBASchooled: What were your big questions coming into making your decision on which school to attend?

The reality is you can unpack so many different factors for any school and analyze them from multiple angles. Do you want a school that does quarters vs. semesters? Does timing for international travel matter? Do I prefer having a core curriculum or electives? These are just some questions that are all super valid and can serve as data points.

For me though, it came down to my most important criteria in considering a school: how immersive is the experience? I felt confident that at all these top schools I’d get a great job, learn a lot, and meet phenomenal people. But I found that the immersive nature of the MBA experience is not the same at all schools. I needed to understand how immersive the experience would be at all the schools I was considering.

MBASchooled: Why did you choose to attend Tuck? 

The opportunity to be “all in” and totally immersed in my experience was my top priority. Here you are a part of a community that is filled with people who are totally focused on the Tuck experience. Professors know you, they know your other professors, and they share a lot of your common interests in the Upper Valley from skiing to stopping by for a beer at Murphy’s. As for your classmates?

There are few times in my life when I’ve spent this much time with the same group of people. Classmates are always together because we live and breathe our experience all the time. You’re likely to find us together with incredible regularity, whether we’re bouncing ideas off each other in class, participating in Tripod hockey, or partaking in any of the social events we put together for ourselves (Pro Tip: never miss a Band Party).

MBASchooled: What about the culture and classmates stood out to you about Tuck?

Amidst the diversity of classmates, there is also a significant consistency: a deep commitment to the Tuck experience and each other. Regardless of where you’re from or what are your interests, our memories of Tuck center on experiences that are relevant to everyone. Whether you have a business background or not, you are going to look back and remember when you worked hard with your classmates to survive Fall A and Fall B. If you’ve never played Tripod Hockey at Tuck, odds are you’ll still find yourself at the arena to catch a game or cheer on classmates. These types of experiences serve as a common denominator for everyone, and, interestingly enough, that goes beyond just the people in your class. Often when I talk to alumni, these experiences are the first things they ask about or bring up.

MBASchooled: What resources, programs or information were helpful to you in making your decision?

I was fortunate enough to be a part of Management Leadership for Tomorrow’s MBA Prep Program. The opportunities to have a coach who had guided so many people through their decisions and to be part of a community that was so supportive and engaging were such a blessing.

MBASchooled: How has Tuck helped you work toward your own career goals and aspirations?

Tuck’s core curriculum has been critical in helping me prepare to take on my summer internship in P&G’s brand management program. Additionally, it’s helped expose me to areas of interest I had never expected, like venture capital. I’m enrolled in an incredible Venture Capital Workshop with the Executive Director for our Center for Private Equity & Venture Capital. I’ve learned significant details about this space and have realized that my passion for developing brands and connecting with the people we serve will evolve throughout my career.

I am so excited for P&G and to soak in as much learning as possible as I contribute to the organization from the traditional brand management perspective, but Tuck has inspired me to bring my learnings from a space like VC to hopefully add value in unique, innovative ways.

MBASchooled: What parts or aspects of the academic experience attracted you to Tuck?

The interconnectedness that a smaller community brings to academia was hugely important to me. This interconnectedness manifests itself in the opportunity to hang out with professors outside of the classroom (whether we’re at the local bar or even playing soccer) and ensures that professors know all of their students well, including the details related to our various academic and professional journeys.

MBASchooled: What has been a surprise, or an unexpected element of your experience at Tuck?

The barrier to entry in terms of building relationships is incredibly low. You will get to know many people, really fast, whether that’s your priority or not. My perspective on it is that if you went to a larger institution and worked extremely diligently at building relationships with a broad array of people, you could successfully meet around 300 people. At Tuck due to the nature of our program, I think knowing that many people is almost a base expectation.

MBASchooled: What’s something you wish you knew more about before starting your MBA at Tuck?

Everyone says this but business school comes at you fast. You always have something going on and something you should be doing. When people talk about the need to understand your priorities, I think there needs to be a follow-up emphasizing that you will have to let things drop that are important to you. It’s not like you’re going to have all your interests in front of you and it’s going to be a clear decision of what’s important and what’s not. There will be a lot of things that matter to you, and the reality is some just won’t be able to get your attention like you wish.

MBASchooled: What advice do you have for those who are evaluating where they want to attend business school?

Be really intentional about what you’re looking for and lock-in on what is most important to you. It’s incredibly easy to get distracted by what you hear from students at schools you’ve been admitted to, alumni, friends, family, and more. While you should definitely do the work to hear a lot of perspectives, you shouldn’t let others’ criteria automatically become yours. You know what you want, whether that’s an experience, a brand, or something else, so go after it.