As I began the process of applying to business schools, Tuck’s Women in Business Conference was recommended as a way to experience firsthand what an MBA would be like, and to gauge whether Tuck would be good fit for me. I applied, signed up for a night in a dorm (!), and drove up from New York City to Hanover to see for myself what business school could look like for me. I couldn’t have anticipated the impact of that weekend as Manhattan’s skyscrapers turned into New England’s picturesque fall foliage. My experience that weekend exceeded all my expectations—conversation and debate with like-minded women, career path advice and guidance, new friends, and a real understanding of the Tuck community. I left my brief weekend at Tuck in awe of a community that effortlessly embraced dozens of strangers as if they were fellow classmates and friends. It was the shock at how genuine and forthcoming an entire organization could be that cemented in my mind that Tuck was the right place for me.
As I reflect back on that weekend after having completed my first year at Tuck, I can say that my first impressions and instincts were spot on. One of my favorite events during the conference was the small group dinner, where I met women from all over the country and from a wide array of professional backgrounds. Over homemade lasagna and red wine we swapped ideas—career ambitions, travel plans, our must-visit restaurants in each of our respective cities. It was the type of intimate setting generally reserved for dear friends, but the small group dinner made quick friends out of strangers. I learned that these dinners with a handful of randomly selected students are a regular fixture throughout the year at Tuck, and they remain among my favorite ways to get to know people across both classes. Throughout the conference, I was awed by how tight-knit and supportive the Tuck community appeared, and my first year at Tuck has definitely exceeded the expectations set by the conference weekend.
Beyond the personal connections I made throughout the weekend, I found the professional development programming to be equally valuable. At the time, I knew I wanted a career change post-business school but was unsure what the options even were. The breakout sessions helped me explore potential career paths, answering my questions and opening doors I didn’t know existed, and ultimately informed my decision to pursue consulting post-Tuck. I traded best practices with fellow conferees and came away from the weekend with tools that have proven useful in structuring and driving my overall career.
With this in mind, my fellow co-chairs and I have put a focus on professional development for this year’s conference, as we celebrate the milestone of 50 years of women at Tuck. This year’s conference strives to help women think critically about their careers and to allow attendees to get to know Tuck. Breakout sessions will delve into topics such as creating a personal brand and industry briefings. Each of the sessions will be strongly aligned with Tuck’s values of being personal and collaborative. We’ve planned many small group activities to help you meet each other and experience life in the Upper Valley.
As a co-chair for this year’s Women in Business Conference, I hope to deliver that same welcome that I received a few years back and to equip you with tools to carry with you throughout your career. I hope that you’ll join us in October!
For more information on the WIB Conference, and to apply, visit: http://conferences.tuck.dartmouth.edu/wib/