End of Week Reflection from Dean Slaughter


September 24, 2021

Dear Students,

With our fall term now hitting its full stride, I want to share a thought with each class about the learning that is the heart of your MBA experience.

Let me start with the T’23s.  With just two weeks to go in Summer term, at a time where many of you may feel stretched I want to put your current learning into the broader Tuck context.  The rigor and structure of the first-year core curriculum has been designed with your success as the highest priority, with care for your needs all along the way, and with every confidence in your abilities.

First, the core has been designed for you to achieve success.  When the Tuck School launched our broad review of the first-year experience three years ago, we surveyed hundreds of alumni.  One clear message that they shared was the concrete marketplace benefits that our core’s renowned rigor has continually delivered: success in interviews for summer internships; success in performing well in and thus gaining full-time offers from those internships; and success in career progression for years beyond Tuck.  This first-year review led to significant refinements to the core curriculum that you are currently benefitting from—such as the creation of Data Analytics and Managing People.  But the overall rigor of the core we maintained, in no small part because of how strongly our alumni believe in how this rigor has contributed to their career success.

Second, the core has been designed with care for your needs all along the way.  The faculty bring great empathy and understanding, not just in delivering each course but also in coordinating across courses important matters such as the timing of exams and other key deliverables.  The School has designed study groups to be dynamic forums of teaching and learning that complement classroom experiences.  And the MBA Program Office always stands ready to support whatever needs you may have for your health and well-being.

Third, the core has been designed with every confidence in your abilities.  Every first-year student earned admission to Tuck with our full expectation that you can navigate our core curriculum.  We are not a school that believes in forced cuts.  We know that you can get this!  This confidence reflects in part the experience of so many Tuck faculty and staff who earlier in life navigated similar rigors in earning our advanced degrees.  In my economics PhD program, for example, I was most definitely a poet, not a quant!

Turning to the T’22s, as you settle into the rhythms of your fall term, let me offer a question to reflect on: how are you crafting your second year to be fully personal, connected, and transformative—and how might Tuck partner with your aspirations here?

Thinking about your Tuck experience, being personal means building on your strengths and interests but recognizing your own individual gaps in capabilities that you aspire to fill and develop.  Being connected means engaging with faculty, classmates, alumni, companies—all to enhance your learning and education, but also to forge meaningful relationships that will last for years or even a lifetime.  It is these personal and connected intentions that will help you make your second year at Tuck a truly transformative experience.  They can guide you as you think about important choices. What classes will you take?  Should you undertake an independent study?  What co-curricular activities will you pursue? Whom in the Tuck community do you want to get to know better?

I acknowledge that in some ways, this second year for T’22s is like a first year all over again.  And yet, second year always tends to whiz by.  Indeed, in kicking off Tuck Recharge two weeks ago, Dean Hall noted that Tuck Investiture is just nine months away.  Our wish for every second-year student is to fully embrace the abundant opportunities of Tuck to build on your accomplishments of first year and summer internships and make second year as additive and rewarding as possible.  Each spring, when I catch up with second-years as graduation beckons, I am always impressed with how many have crafted that sort of a transformational year.  What a unique opportunity there is this year to take full advantage of the Tuck experience and leave a great legacy—with not just traditional activities but new ones as well.

What goals do you want to set? What skills do you want to enhance this year?  What challenges do you want to overcome?  What aspirations do you want to fulfill?  In answering these questions, we faculty and staff are keen to work with you to help you take full advantage of all that Tuck has to offer.

A restful and safe weekend to all!