A Summer of On-The-Job Learning for T’21s

The Tuck community leveraged its strengths to ensure a robust summer experience for every T’21.

By Kirk Kardashian

Oct 01, 2020

At the end of February, when summer was easier to plan for than envision, members of the Tuck Class of 2021 were working hard on their summer internship prospects.

The process was going smoothly, as it typically does—just 60 T’21s were still looking for a job. Then the unexpected happened. The Covid-19 pandemic emerged, and workplaces began shutting down or going remote. Staff in the Career Services department started getting word from some companies who had already made internship offers: they couldn’t host Tuck students over the summer. “That was like the disaster moment at the beginning of a movie, where you’re thinking, 'My gosh, what’s going to happen?'” says Stephen Pidgeon T’07, the executive director of Career Services.

Fast forward to the end of the spring term and the career picture is much rosier. All T’21s had internships or fellowships by the time classes finished for the year. And while they weren’t the usual in-person positions the students expected over the winter, employers from every industry made sure students felt connected, challenged, and valued.

Those three months between February and June were busy ones for people in the Tuck community who help students on their career path. Kerry Laufer, the director of OnSite Global Consulting in TuckGO, immediately began contacting alumni to see if they wanted to host T’21s for specially-designed summer internships that aligned with their career goals. “The response we got from alumni was incredible,” Laufer says. With the help of faculty and Career Services staff, Laufer put together 11 summer fellowship projects, with nine of them connected to Tuck alumni. She figured 20 students might need one of these fellowships, but the traditional internship recruiting system was so effective that only five students opted for this path, working on projects for Carl Zeiss Meditec and PayPal France. “That was a big success,” Pidgeon explains. “These were genuinely exciting opportunities that students converted into paid internships.”

We’ve had students really help businesses through the summer, as employee number three or four, and they end up turbocharging the business.


At the Career Services office, career coaches worked more closely with students to understand their career objectives and help them think more broadly about the roles that would serve them well. Sometimes that meant assembling two or three different internships to build a very specific type of experience or expertise. Career Services staff also ramped up their sourcing of internship opportunities, paying particular attention to early-stage companies, or companies who just received funding and perhaps never considered the many ways a Tuck student could be useful to them. “We’ve had students really help businesses through the summer, as employee number three or four, and they end up turbocharging the business,” Pidgeon says.

Tuck also aided students with logistical challenges, such as housing and office space. Many international students stayed on campus over the summer to avoid traveling during the pandemic, and Tuck offered them and others free dorms and their own study rooms. It turned sections of Whittemore and Byrne Halls into something like WeWork, with students safely ensconced in private rooms with air conditioning, printers, wi-fi, and large-screen monitors. At the same time, other schools were locking their doors and telling students to go home.

“Over this period, we found we can work with students very well remotely, and students can network and interview remotely,” says Pidgeon. “It’s not such a disadvantage. In fact, it opens up opportunities quite a bit.”

Here’s a closer look at the summer experiences of eight T’21s.

Ed Beshers T'21



Hancock Natural Resources Group

Prior Work Experience

Director of Grants Administration, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

Beshers came to Tuck to transition from the non-profit sector to a for-profit organization. “I loved NFWF and the work we did there, but one of my biggest takeaways was that government grants and philanthropy are not enough to move the needle for environmental conservation, given the scale of the climate challenge,” he says. “I want to find new, innovative ways to bring profit-seeking capital into environmental conservation.”

Hancock Natural Resources Group, which develops and manages global farmland and timberland assets for institutional investors, hired Beshers this summer to help develop a new line of business in forest carbon. Carbon credits are already traded as commodities, but HNRG wanted to explore something different: owning forestland to manage it for optimal carbon absorption, with side benefits of improved water quality, biodiversity, and recreational opportunities. Institutional investors interested in impact investing or corporations looking to manage their carbon footprint could then own a piece of this asset and create a positive environmental impact while potentially profiting from the removal of carbon from the atmosphere.

“There were many different options for what the product could be, so I was given a lot of autonomy. They really valued my perspective coming from Tuck and having taken courses like Impact Investing with Curt Welling,” Beshers says.

Beshers worked directly with Sydney McConathy T’09, doing research into carbon markets and figuring out who would be likely to invest in this type of asset. He spoke with 25 leaders in the non-profit, corporate and investing worlds about aspects of the carbon removal industry, and read, watched, and listened to a lot of information.

“This was exactly what I wanted to do,” Beshers says. “I was able to contribute to the company in a meaningful way and develop a much deeper understanding of conservation finance. I feel very lucky.”



Sarah Blatt T'21



McKinsey & Company

Prior Work Experience

Military Intelligence Officer, U.S. Army; Wine Consultant, Quigley Fine Wines

After six years of active duty in the Army, and six more years in the wine business, Sarah Blatt applied to Tuck to ratchet her up to her third career. From the beginning, she had her target set on management consulting for one of the top three firms. “Tuck was the way to get there,” she says.

Blatt was hired for the summer by the Boston office of McKinsey & Company, and assigned to a transformation project for a client in the global health industry. Internships with McKinsey are typically fast-paced and team-oriented. Working remotely, Blatt felt connected to the firm’s leadership and the partners who led her study. “We would have multiple check-ins throughout the day on Zoom,” she says. “In the morning, we’d talk about the main objectives, then catch up later in the day so I could ask questions and be sure I was heading in the right direction.”

Blatt’s role on the transformation team was as a coach to the client’s senior administrators tasked with changing their processes. To do this, she drew on lessons from the core courses Management Communications and Managing Organizations. On calls with the client, Blatt sometimes didn’t know all the answers to their questions, and she offered to find out. That built credibility and earned her praise from her manager. “In order to be a good coach, sometimes you have to say your hypothesis and then confirm that it’s accurate,” she says.

“With an Army background and wine sales, it had been 12 years since I touched Excel,” she says. “The core course Analytics was crucial to my success at McKinsey, because it taught me how to build financial models quickly and easily.”



Arleen Chien T'21




Prior Work Experience

Researcher, Forrester Research

As an industry researcher at Forrester Research, Arleen Chien investigated how traditional Fortune 500 companies could use technology to transform their marketing practices. She came to Tuck because she wanted to expand her business knowledge beyond a single function and kick-start a career working directly on the brand side. 

During the recruiting season in the fall and winter, Chien began broadly with traditional companies and firms that came to campus and had structured MBA internship programs. She signed an offer with a big company in February, but the pandemic derailed her plans. So she spent a lot of time in the spring talking to alumni from Dartmouth and Tuck, getting advice and ideas on creative ways to build a meaningful summer experience with smaller companies and start-ups. “In hindsight, it was one of my favorite parts of the Tuck experience this year,” she says, “just because I got to see in full force how responsive the alumni were and how enthusiastic they were about connecting me with their classmates, friends, and colleagues.”

Through Tuck, Chien landed a summer internship at the footwear start-up Allbirds, working in the product strategy group. Chien’s main task was to understand how Allbirds can manage its current product portfolio but also continue to grow and evolve with its customer base. Chien was based in Boston for the summer, not far from an Allbirds retail store on Newbury Street. She took advantage of that and got to run a pilot project studying how consumers were purchasing Allbirds’ products in the store. The project was a component of a larger inquiry into streamlining the gathering and application of consumer insights throughout the organization. “It was really fun to see how a digital-first company has leaned on brick-and-mortar retail and adapted the in-store experience for consumers,” she says.

“The mechanics of my internship were everything I wanted out of a summer experience after my first year at Tuck,” Chien says. “I loved how operational it was, and the ability to see how Allbirds brings an idea to life and turns it into a tangible product sold in the store.”



Howard Fu T'21



Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc.

Prior Work Experience

Assistant Director, Business China; Consul, Singapore Consulate-General in Hong Kong

As a diplomat who also worked in the nonprofit sector, Howard Fu wanted to find a business school where he could effectively leverage his public sector experience, build his business acumen, and prepare for an impactful career in public-private partnership. “Tuck was the ideal location,” he says.

Fu had been in the final stages of recruiting. Then Covid hit and the entire program was canceled. At the end of May, Tuck presented students with the summer fellowship option. Fu chose to work with Carl Zeiss Meditec, a global manufacturer of medical devices for ophthalmology. The project, conducted with T’21s Shiv Bery and Ray Zhang, was to develop a go-to-market strategy for a new medical product. The students had a lot of latitude and acted as consultants to the company. “We conducted comprehensive market research and came up with a segmentation model on the customer front,” Fu says. “Then we developed a value proposition for the product and a sales playbook for the sales team. At the end of the project, we presented to the Zeiss leadership in the U.S. and Germany and they were all very happy with how actionable and comprehensive it was.”

“The Tuck Summer Fellows program was an extraordinary step during an extraordinary time,” Fu says. “It really showed the strength of the Tuck alumni network and its ability to create a wide variety of opportunities for us to get professional experience tailored to our preferences.”



Kristen Hughes T'21




Prior Work Experience

Senior Network Associate, The Achievement Network

Coming from an educational non-profit, Kristen Hughes enrolled at Tuck to do a career switch into consulting or the technology industry. For her summer internship, Hughes was looking for a career pivot she couldn’t have made without an MBA. “Ending up at Microsoft is not something I could have done without Tuck,” she says.

Microsoft hired Hughes to be an intern on its Modern Workplace team in the U.S. education sector. The Modern Workplace specialists work directly with K-12 schools and universities to help them take advantage of all the features and functionalities of the Microsoft Teams platform. The goal is to help schools use the Teams tools and help students learn and enhance their educational experience.

As an online hub for video conferencing, chatting, and file sharing, Teams became an even more crucial platform during the Covid-19 pandemic, when schools were operating remotely. In this context, Hughes’s task was to gather the best-practices for Teams in education. “I interviewed customers and students, learned what they were doing, and put together resources for the Modern Workplace specialists so they could have better conversations with their customers,” Hughes says. Hughes worked closely with David Lopez T’18, and connected virtually with some of the many Tuck alumni at Microsoft. She is returning to the Modern Workplace team full time after she graduates from Tuck.

“Coming from a non-traditional background, the First Year Project I did in the spring was really helpful in giving me a model for scoping a project and refining it to add value, and this was very helpful during my internship this summer.”



Monica McGreal T'21



Akebia Therapeutics

Prior Work Experience

Business Strategy Consultant, Accenture

Monica McGreal has long had an interest in the health care industry, and she got exposed to it a bit in her work as a consultant at Accenture. She came to Tuck to pivot into a management position at a health care firm and wanted to use her summer internship to explore the intersection of biotech and pharmaceuticals.

Coming from a large consulting firm, McGreal was looking for a slightly smaller company for her internship, and for a completely unique experience. That landed her at Akebia Therapeutics, a mid-size biotech firm in Boston that focuses on therapies for chronic kidney diseases. McGreal was assigned to Akebia’s commercial operations and analytics team, which supports the firm’s sales and marketing functions through data analysis.

McGreal’s main project was to do a market assessment, evaluating the trends in the nephrology practice area and how customers are evolving with the health care industry. As a final deliverable, McGreal created a presentation and delivered it to the chief commercial officer and the executive team. As a side project, she studied how Covid impacted the company’s sales and how the pandemic might impact the business in the next year. “I really enjoyed the team and we worked well together,” McGreal says. “They really made an effort to make the virtual experience worthwhile.”

“Working in the sales and marketing area, it was great to use some of the things I learned in the core to shape my analysis and determine the key findings.”



Kelsey Rayher T'21




Prior Work Experience

Lead Analyst, Liberty Mutual Insurance

Rayher came to Tuck with the goal of breaking into the health care field. In her first year, she built up her résumé to make that happen, doing her First Year Project with Parsley Health, getting involved with the Center for Health Care and the Health Care Club, serving on the board of the Public Health Council of the Upper Valley.

With her background at a big company like Liberty Mutual, Rayher was keen to take her skills in working at a large organization to the health care field. She chose CVS for its size and the purpose-driven nature of its business. “They want to help people on their path to better health, and that’s something I can really get behind,” she says. “This industry touches all of us, and I wanted to be a part of helping people live a healthier life.”

Rayher’s experience at CVS was filled with trainings and leadership speakers, and with experiential learning during her work on the durable medical equipment team of the pharmacy growth and innovation department. Her chief responsibility was executing a project focused on the diabetic patient’s journey and whether they could benefit from a continuous glucose monitor. Rayher designed two pilot programs for pharmacies in Michigan: an outreach call from pharmacists to diabetic patients, and a text message campaign with a survey. She analyzed the results of the pilots and built recommendations from them.

“If you’re able to navigate big companies, you can get a lot out of the experience and learn cross-functionally,” Rayher says.



Tiago Rosa T'21



Swift Current Energy and Spruce Finance

Prior Work Experience

Corporate Finance, Petrobras (Brazil)

After working for nine years at Petrobras, the largest oil producer in South America, Tiago Rosa became concerned about the environmental impact of the oil and gas industry. He was curious about renewable energy and the role it could play in serving the world’s energy needs in a sustainable fashion. “I came to Tuck, in part, because of its strong network in the renewables space,” Rosa says.

Rosa worked closely with the Revers Center for Energy and landed two internships at firms specializing in renewable energy. The first was a four-week internship with Jim Marett T’10 at Swift Current Energy. Rosa researched capital partners who would be good candidates to invest in Swift Current’s portfolio. “My background matched exactly what they were looking for,” Rosa says. The second internship was with Christian Fong T’05, the CEO of Spruce Finance, a solar asset manager based in California. This internship was sponsored by the Thad Hill T’95 Energy Career Exploration Fund. At Spruce, Rosa supported the corporate development team in its preparation for the acquisition of two residential solar portfolios.

“Getting these internships was a major purpose of my coming to Tuck,” Rosa says, “because they have given me the experiences I needed in order to make sure a career in renewables is for me. Tuck and the Revers Center were critical to my summer success.”