Mar 28, 2024

Tuck’s Personal Board of Advisers Program: Adviser and Advisee Weigh In

By Tuck Communications

(Pictured above: Alison Donnally T’18, founder of JoeyCo, and Caitlin Mahoney T’25)

A new program as part of Tuck Compass, Tuck’s Personal Board of Advisers (PBA) is an individual advisory board curated as a collaboration between Tuck and the Tuck student with the goal of offering students holistic advice, expertise, and assistance related to their MBA goals and journey. 

Advisers on students’ personal boards can include Tuck alumni, career services advisers, MBA program advisers, leadership coaches, and other mentors. The PBA has three distinct roles:

  1. Help students align/realign their choices with their desired outcomes as they start their Tuck journey or return to campus after their summer internships.
  2. Help the student with sensemaking, offering opportunities for the student to thoughtfully integrate and make sense of their Tuck experience.
  3. Allow the student an opportunity to more broadly contextualize their Tuck experience as part of their overall purpose.

We checked in with a current MBA student and her alumni adviser to see how the program is going so far.

Caitlin Mahoney T’25

Upcoming internship: Welch’s in Concord, MA

What were some of your goals coming into Tuck?
Coming to Tuck, I was looking for a place to re-immerse myself in a learning environment, build new skills, and self-reflect on where I wanted to make future positive impact. One of my main goals was to have a career pivot from higher education programs to consumer goods products to really understand how companies could be more ethical and sustainable in growth. I knew a Tuck MBA would help me navigate this process and prepare me for a pivot.

What made you opt into the PBA program? What were some of the goals you mapped?
Since I managed a mentor program pre-Tuck, I have a great appreciation for the power of mentorship and how creating a strong network can multiply opportunities. I opted into the PBA program to have a guiding mechanism to build a mentor network to support me through my Tuck journey. My Tuck mentor, Alison, plays many roles, as my designated mentor, sounding board, cheerleader, “Tuck expert,” and advocate. She’s been an integral part of my Tuck experience.

I knew having another set of eyes to complement my own self-awareness would help guide my reflection and support my personal and professional development. Working with Alison as my main PBA mentor, my main goals were to self-reflect and develop my personal brand, improve my narrative and storytelling to translate non-corporate work experience to corporate interviews, and be reflective and intentional about how I continue to engage in everything my time at Tuck has to offer.

Do you remember your first call with Alison? How did it go?
My first call with Alison was amazing. I remember being slightly nervous going into it because I wasn’t sure how she’d worked with mentees in the past and I wanted to make sure I made a good impression. After 2 minutes, all my nerves disappeared. The introduction call was completely about building a relationship and understanding each other’s backgrounds. We started with the basics of who we were, our hobbies and interests, and career history and aspirations. Once we had built energy and created some trust, we went deeper into why we were involved with the PBA and what we each were looking to get out of the experience. From there, we established some next steps for how we’d use our time, and the rest is history!

How have your touchpoints with Alison been thus far?
Thus far, my touchpoints with Alison have been incredible. Each session, we’ve focused on different activities focused on both personal values and professional goals. One of my favorite sessions we did was when I shared my three “alternate five-year plans” that I had developed based on the Designing Your Life book activity. It was a great way to share different versions of where I could envision my career and life going, and the most amazing part was Alison was able to articulate back to me the values and goals that were embedded in the different visions of my life. After this session, she truly understood my guiding principles, how I was seeking to navigate my internship search, and how she could help continue to guide me through the process.

What other resources, whether within Tuck Compass or at Tuck, have you tapped into to help you reach your goals?
Other resources I’ve utilized to work towards my goals include meeting with my Leadership Coach, working with Career Services, engaging with various workshop sessions, and participating in off-campus retreats.

Any advice for prospective MBA students who are considering a career switch, and/or aren’t sure if an MBA is a good fit for them?
My main advice is that it’s worth it! Considering a career switch can be intimidating, but there’s no safer space than Tuck to pursue an MBA and pivot. The students, alumni, staff, faculty, and mentors are an incredibly supportive community.

Caitlin Mahoney is a first-year student at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, pursuing her MBA. At Tuck, Caitlin is involved in Women in Business, Marketing Club, Tripod Hockey, and Ski & Snowboard Club. This summer, she will be the Marketing Innovation Intern at Welch's in Concord, MA. Prior to Tuck, Caitlin worked at Harvard Innovation Labs, where she managed the Mentor and Experts-in-Residence programs, recruited a strong volunteer network, and scaled expert resources. Caitlin has a BSBA from Bucknell University where she studied Markets, Innovation, and Design.

Alison Donnally T’18

Founder, JoeyCo

What made you volunteer to be an adviser for the Tuck Personal Board of Advisers program?
Throughout my life I've found satisfaction by helping people achieve their dreams, however small or big my part might be. I also love finding ways to stay connected to the energy on Tuck campus so this was a great way to meet first year students. 

Do you remember your first call with Caitlin? How did it go?
Yes! Her energy was infectious and her enthusiasm for Tuck was so fun to see. She brought a beautiful blend of clear eyed, organization and planning paired with total open mind, creativity and curiosity to her job search and overall Tuck experience. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with her! 

Do you, or have you had, an adviser or mentor? Why is this kind of mentorship opportunity important?
I have had countless people in my corner helping me gain perspective and achieve success throughout my life and career. It can be invaluable to know someone is invested in your success completely separate from their own professional agenda. 

How would you describe your own Tuck MBA experience?
Tuck is and will always be about the people. Spending those two years with my husband (also a T'18!) in Hanover was irreplaceable. But even beyond graduation, my support system in my personal life and career continue to be profoundly improved by Tuck and Dartmouth people. I hope, through PBA, I can be one factor in that support system for Caitlin and my other mentee Mimi! 

As a Tuck MBA alumna and a founder and CEO, any advice for current and prospective MBAs who want to forge a new path?
I am an entrepreneur because I truly do not understand why what I am building doesn't exist yet. I so deeply believe that JoeyCo will make the world better that I wake up energized to give my customers new affordable, support options every day. Do not found something because it seems "fun" or "newsworthy," it is really really hard! Only jump in if you really can't imagine spending your time on anything else.

Alison Donnally T’18 is the founder of JoeyCo. JoeyCo matches older adult homeowners ('Hosts') who need affordable little help here and there, and students (aka, ‘Joeys’) who need a place to stay and flexible, fulfilling employment. Alison imagines a future where adults live healthier at home, without breaking the bank; where family caregivers are less stressed and have more positive moments with older loved ones; where students graduate with less debt, more opportunity and more community; and where multigenerational, community fabric flourishes. 

Prior to entrepreneurship, Alison led teams at the forefront of healthcare innovation at Amazon Care and Kaiser Permanente. Alison started her career in media and technology at the National Football League. She has an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, and a BS from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.