May 08, 2018

Why We Joined the Revers Board Fellowship

By Max Dresser T’18 and Courtney Bragg T’18

Martha Mesna

By Max Dresser T’18 and Courtney Bragg T’18

The T’18s gathered today on the steps of Tuck Hall for our class photo. During the celebration, we took a moment to reflect on our time at Tuck. We have had the privilege of a two-year sabbatical, joining this tight-knit community, and moving to this incredible place. Business school is a time to reflect and recalibrate before re-entering the ‘real world.’ By its very nature, attending business school puts you and your future at the forefront—it’s a conscious decision to invest in personal growth. Coming from backgrounds of service, it was important for us to find ways to give back. Max has a military background and is returning to the U.S. Navy, while Courtney worked in urban education. We both wanted to give back to the community that has given us so much and be better prepared to contribute after Tuck.

Nordic Ski

We each applied to be Revers Board Fellows in spring of our first year and were fortunate Upper Valley Habitat for Humanity chose us to join the board. We had no idea what to expect (or how to be helpful with our partially-complete MBA) when we became Revers Fellows, but we decided early to jump in and ask probing questions at board meetings. We were concerned about overstepping—our questions might be too probing, or as fellows (not full voting board members), we might exceed our role. The board embraced us.

We met regularly with the executive director and became a sounding board as they grappled with tough strategic decisions. When we were asked to facilitate the board’s retreat on strategic vision, we were encouraged by the welcome we had received, but again wondered if we were equipped to facilitate. We researched and brainstormed, interviewing every board member and eventually structured the questions that surfaced into the retreat sessions.

Couple dancing FYPGO

Then, on the first Saturday morning of spring, the board convened to wrestle with questions of how to best serve the community’s multitude of needs with constrained resources. It was fundamentally a strategy and managerial accounting problem—taking stock of capacity and assessing our unique position to add value. While the real world cannot be reduced to case facts, the Tuck core and our Revers Board Fellowship helped us apply our classroom education while learning how to best contribute to our community. 

Max Dresser is a 2010 industrial engineering major from North Carolina State University. He’s also an active duty naval officer. Before Tuck, he served on ships stationed in Japan and Bahrain, and will return to sea duty after graduation. Max loves the Upper Valley and can be found off campus: fishing and hiking in all seasons, attending a local church, voting in town meetings, tending chickens, and (most importantly) roaming the countryside with his wife and one-year-old son.

Courtney Bragg is from South Florida. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, having studied urban studies, education, and English literature. She worked in education in the U.S. and internationally before Tuck. On campus, she is a deanery fellow, Revers board fellow, and undergraduate mentor. You can find her boxing in the alumni gym, searching for flight deals, or joining Max ice fishing (when in the Upper Valley).