May 03, 2012

Guest Blog: Mike Nowak T14’s ASW Experience

By Blog Guest

Mike Nowak currently resides in Saratoga Springs, NY where he has worked in private wealth management for the past four years.

ASW had been circled on my calendar for a long time now. For me, ASW was the culmination of a long, drawn out, strenuous but successful and rewarding process. Unlike a few of the other admits in attendance, I was not in evaluation mode, I had been committed to Tuck since January when I turned down a scholarship and offer of admission from another school in favor of Tuck. I was in assurance mode. The weekend was all about confirming that I had made the right decision. The “Jump In” theme of the weekend pretty much summed up how I intended to approach things. I was going to relish in all that was Tuck. So much so, that without any travel restrictions (I am only a short drive across Vermont into upstate NY) or any particular reason to head up to Hanover on Thursday, when I saw that some other T14’s would be meeting for dinner at Murphy’s, I decided to take an extra vacation day and book a luxurious highway view room at the Super 8 in White River Junction and head up early.

Fast forward to midnight on Thursday evening. At this point I had already been ASSURED that this was the place for me. I was standing in a bar, packed wall to wall, with a crowd that looked to be made up entirely of current Tuckies and admits. Now I am not saying that seeing a bunch of B-school students packed into a bar having a great time assured me I was headed to the right place (it certainly didn’t hurt). It was the people. I honestly felt like I was in a room full of friends despite not really knowing more than anyone’s name or perhaps where they were from. It was a sense of welcomeness (apparently welcomeness isn’t a word, but it’s definitely a feeling) that I ordinarily do not feel when I am in a bar full of strangers. But as I will explain, there is nothing ordinary about Tuck. It wasn’t T12’s here and T13’s there, and admits over there, it was one group of people, all bound together by the fact that they were a Tuckie or a Tuckie to be!

The rest of the weekend was the perfect blend of school/social activities to give everyone in attendance a perfect glimpse into what Tuck is all about and what life in the Upper Valley entails. Top highlights for me were:

  • The speakers bringing down the house to kick off the Saturday itinerary – these were some of the best speeches I have heard in a longtime. I literally had tears of laughter running down my face at one point. It was inspiring to see their level of commitment to the school. I obviously do not know many of the speakers, but hearing them speak and getting a sense of the type of character they have and seeing how successful they have been really gave me a strong sense of the type of community I was joining.
  • Dancing like a maniac (this had to have been a sore sight) at the Friday night party. Ordinarily I DO NOT dance, at least in public. I do however have a history of dancing in the comfort of my own apartment. At Tuck, you are accompanied by people who will become your best friends, and I am pretty sure none of us are at Tuck because we are phenomenal dancers. So why worry about acting a fool on the dance floor?!
  • Both of my small group dinners on Friday and Saturday nights – Friday the gentleman at “The Hole” (a historically Tuck off-campus house) rolled out the red carpet for myself and five others, these guys know how to entertain! Saturday night I ate at Tip Top Café in White River Junction and I am told that I lucked out in getting one of the best restaurants around. Wasabi encrusted salmon to die for and great company.

To wrap up how I felt about the weekend, the theme would be “Thank You”. So many thank you’s to give out. Thank you to the Tuck community and the current students for running a top notch operation and making the weekend so great. Thank you to the Adcom for two things. The first, offering me admission! The second, for rigorously evaluating more than 2500 apps and offering admission to the candidates who best fit the Tuck profile. I mentioned how the people are amazing. Well it’s no coincidence that everyone you talk to at Tuck, no matter their race, gender, nationality, etc, etc are all bound together by their love of Tuck. It is clear they have the formula down to a science.