Sep 25, 2013

Tuck Math

As I prepared to attend B-school, I was concerned about my quantitative background. I haven’t taken a math class in almost 10 years! Would I be able to make it? We are now almost done with Fall A- the first four weeks of Tuck when you take nine credits, six of which are from Statistics for Managers and Managerial Economics.

So, how did it go?

Overall, pretty well! First, Tuck courses are much more practical than theoretical. So, you spend some time learning theory but much more time applying it and figuring out how you’d use the information to make decisions in the real world. Second, our professors are great! My mom, a high school math teacher whose love for numbers I did not inherit, is shocked that Statistics for Managers is one of my favorite courses. This is because Professor Neslin makes the material accessible and has a great personality (ask me to tell you a stats joke sometime). Third, your study group time is when it all comes together. Study groups are hand-picked to ensure a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. We learn a lot by discussing cases and teaching one another.

Finals are next week, so I shouldn’t speak too soon, but I do feel good that I am learning and understanding the material. If you’re worried about your quantitative skills, here’s my advice:

- Most importantly, don’t underestimate yourself. Did you do well in college? Do you have a demanding, complex job where you excel? Can you grasp concepts pretty quickly? The answers to these are likely yes, especially if you would be a strong candidate to attend Tuck. These attributes will see you through a rigorous curriculum! Ensure you demonstrate these in your applications also.

- Use your resources. All incoming Tuck students complete online math courses that are refreshers. Many of us also attend “Math Camp” (formally called the Pre-Enrollment Program) which is a week-long refresher of critical concepts. It’s also a great time to make friends! Once classes begin, there are numerous office hours, study sessions, practice problems, TA reviews, and other resources at your disposal.

- Keep your true goals in sight. Is my goal to be a wizard statistician? No. I want to be a great general manager. That means that I need to understand the concepts I learn here and be able to analyze and discuss material in a smart way. Remembering this has helped me to keep my stress level down (ie. Not fretting that I missed number four on last week’s homework) and keep my focus where it should be (ie. Why did I miss number four? Ooohh, I get it now. That makes sense. Let’s move on).