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The World Needs More Tuck

Inside the Impact of Fiscal Year 2020 and the Alumni Donors Rising to Make the Tuck Difference

By Adam Sylvain

Mar 24, 2021

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When Tuck was founded over a century ago, the idea of establishing a graduate school of management was bold, audacious even, but the wisdom of that plan prevailed. For 120 years, Tuck has paved the way for graduate business education throughout the world. By building a top-ranked MBA program, Tuck secured its reputation as a preeminent business school and further expanded its reach and impact through a growing portfolio of business education programs for pre- and post-MBA learners. The complex, global challenges facing leaders today affirm the Tuck School’s commitment to innovation—to dynamic change rooted in historic strength—and reinforce the salience of its mission to develop wise, decisive leaders who better the world through business.

“Throughout this historic last year, time and again, Tuck alumni, students, faculty, and staff have risen to meet unprecedented challenges,” reflects Dean Matthew Slaughter. “Amidst the strife and tragedy of a global pandemic, rising inequality and racial tensions, sharp political and social divides, the aspiration of our mission is more valuable than ever before. The world needs more Tuck. I am convinced of this now more than ever.”

Slaughter and colleagues in the Deans’ Office are approaching the future with a renewed sense of purpose and alacrity. “The Tuck School cannot stand still,” he says. “We must invest in ways that strengthen our strategic capabilities—the qualities that distinguish Tuck and the qualities that our students, employers, and dedicated alumni care about most deeply.”

It was with this in mind that the Dean’s Office sought to refine the campaign’s priorities to reflect the historic moment we find ourselves in. Now entering the third year since the formal launch of the Tuck Difference campaign, a $250 million investment in the capabilities that make Tuck distinct and valued in the world of graduate management education, three investment priorities and eight related initiatives reveal this sharpened strategic clarity.

Tuck Strategic Initiatives

Graduates at Investiture

Expanding Access to Business Education

Supporting talent and diversity throughout all of Tuck’s programs and opening new avenues to business education, this investment priority includes three major initiatives: Student Scholarships, Tuck-Dartmouth Joint Programs, and Tuck Minority Business & Next Step Programs.

Joe Hall teaching

Building Capabilities of Tomorrow’s Leaders

Finding the most impactful ways to endow students with the necessary soft and hard skills to solve critical societal and business challenges, this investment priority includes three major initiatives: Inclusive Leadership, Tuck Data Analytics Initiative, and Tuck Teaching & Learning Initiative.

Bridge participant

Guiding Career Journeys

Cultivating a rich learning environment to enable rewarding career opportunities and ensuring the life-spanning value of a Tuck education, this investment priority includes two major initiatives: Tuck Centers and Tuck Alumni Lifelong Learning.

 

“These initiatives integrate the heart of the Tuck experience—the people, programs, and places that set our school apart—into a focused set of investment priorities that will empower Tuck graduates to excel in addressing critical business challenges today and in the decades to come,” says Punam Anand Keller, Senior Associate Dean of Innovation and Growth.

Investments in people remain a focus across the initiatives, including a commitment to increasing Tuck’s scholarship endowment. Scholarship funding plays a vital role in Tuck’s ability to enroll top talent and to build a dynamic and diverse community of learners. Its impact is measurable as the school sets new records for class composition and performance. Focused investments in inclusive leadership will prepare students to become the empathetic, wise, and decisive leaders our world needs—leaders who possess the knowledge, analytical skills, and self-awareness to deftly navigate today’s societal and business challenges. And increased support for Tuck’s six Centers will broaden pathways of learning and application that help students envision and launch successful careers across industries.

Inspired by the strategic direction of the school, the alumni profiled here are among those who made a leadership gift to support Tuck during fiscal year 2020. Their generous investment through these initiatives helps to ensure a distinctly personal, connected, and transformative experience for every student.

 

Yuko & Brad Hu T’89

FORMER CHIEF RISK OFFICER, CITIGROUP

GIFT

 $1 million / Tuck Teaching & Learning Initiative

"A big part of my positive experience at Tuck was the incredible teaching of our faculty."

 

Tuck’s three investment priorities and eight strategic initiatives make clear there is no shortage of ways to support the school. As Brad Hu T’89 prepared to make a significant leadership gift to Tuck, he thought about the aspects of his own Tuck experience that were transformative.

“A big part of my positive experience at Tuck was the strong and committed focus on teaching,” shares Hu. “I want to make sure Tuck is even more competitive in attracting top faculty.”

Leadership giving is always needed to ensure a superior faculty, rigorous curriculum, and phenomenal environment that attracts students, says Hu. But with the financial impact of COVID-19 putting even more pressure on the higher education business model, Hu says it is even more important for alumni to step up and demonstrate their commitment to the school.

“As alumni, we all have an interest in ensuring the brand value for Tuck continues to be strong and that Tuck remains a preeminent institution to pursue an MBA.” Hu continues to increase his support for Tuck, both in philanthropic giving and through his service on Tuck’s Board of Advisors. He has especially enjoyed the opportunities to connect with other board members and with both current and prospective students. Hu recently joined a panel discussion for Tuck students on the topic of global risk management and during the last admission cycle, he made phone calls to prospective students.

 

Maria & Bernt Killingstad T’86

OWNER AND FOUNDER, KILLINGSTAD INVESTMENTS, LLC

GIFT

 $500,000 / Deans’ Strategic Priorities

"I invest in a lot of startups, but it’s important to me that I also support Tuck because Tuck is putting the wise, decisive leaders into the workforce who I would like to see running these companies."

Bernt Killingstad T’86
 

Bernt Killingstad T’86 credits the education he received at Tuck for giving him the tools and knowledge he needed to launch a successful business career in Europe.

After graduating from Tuck, Killingstad worked as a Marketing Principal at the Trammell Crow Company, which specializes in commercial real estate. He then joined Lincoln Property, helping to establish Lincoln Europe in 1992, which later became AIG/Lincoln Europe. During his tenure as managing director, AIG/ Lincoln Europe managed real estate holdings in 10 European countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Russia.

Now as founder and owner of Killingstad Investments, LLC, Killingstad says he believes in “putting his wealth to work” by investing in the people and the ideas that drive business forward while making the world a better place.

“I invest in a lot of startups, but it’s important to me that I also support Tuck because Tuck is putting the wise, decisive leaders into the workforce who I would like to see running these companies,” he says.

Killingstad was energized to see the ways Tuck is leveraging these strategic priorities to invest in areas like health care, energy, and joint programming with Dartmouth. The passion and vision Dean Slaughter demonstrated in articulating this vision also resonated with Killingstad. He decided to give $500,000 to the Deans’ Strategic Priorities with the hope that his gift will be matched with another donor to amplify their investment.

“I welcome some of my classmates who have the interest and the means to join me,” says Killingstad. “I’ll let them take the lead with where they want to put the money to work.”

 

 

 
Gio Cutaia

Maree & Gio Cutaia T’99

SENIOR MANAGING DIRECTOR, BLACKSTONE

GIFT

$250,000 / Tuck Data Analytics Initiative

"I see a growing reliance on data to not only understand what’s happening, but also to make informed investment and business decisions. This is an opportunity for Tuck to differentiate itself from other top programs."

 

As a member of Tuck’s MBA Council, Gio Cutaia has had a front row seat in discussions about the strategic direction of the school. Cutaia says the newly articulated investment priorities lay out a clear vision of not only what Tuck aspires to be, but also how to get there.

Cutaia chose to give $250,000 to support the Tuck Data Analytics Initiative, which he says will improve opportunities for students to develop a valued skill, while also strengthening Tuck’s position in a competitive MBA market.

“Today’s leaders are increasingly relying on data analytics to better understand not only what’s happening in business, but also in the world,” says Cutaia. “This is an opportunity for Tuck to differentiate itself from other top programs.”

After more than 12 years at Goldman Sachs, where he served as managing director in the firm’s New York and London offices, Cutaia is now a senior managing director at Blackstone in the real estate group. Cutaia says his Tuck experience built a great foundation as he transitioned into his career and he hopes his gift will enable the same for future generations of Tuck students. “I was the beneficiary of alumni giving when I was at Tuck. We all benefit from the foundation laid before us,” Cutaia says. “So I had to ask, ‘How can I continue in that tradition?’”

 

Blair T’90 & Salina Whitaker T’89

GIFT

$100,000 to establish the Sabina A. Wu T’84 Memorial Scholarship Fund

"I was trying to figure out a way to honor Sabina and I knew it had to be Tuck related. A scholarship fund is a long-lasting gift that will continue to give back to a community we all loved."

Sabina Wu
 
 

When Salina Whitaker’s sister and fellow alumnae Sabina Wu T’84 passed away following a brief battle with pancreatic cancer two and a half years ago, she and her husband Blair Whitaker T’90 began thinking about ways to give back in her memory.

“Tuck was transforming for Sabina,” says Salina Whitaker. “The experience of being in this intellectually stimulating environment and the exposure to so many different people, many of whom became lifelong friends—Tuck opened her eyes to so many things.”

After graduation, Sabina remained heavily involved at Tuck, serving as a long-time officer of Tuck’s New York alumni chapter. Her daughter, Chandler Lusardi T’21, is a current second-year student at Tuck. In determining how they could give back in a way that honors Sabina’s memory, the answer for the Whitakers became clear.

“I knew it had to be Tuck related,” Whitaker says. “So the question was, ‘What form should that take?’ A scholarship fund is a long-lasting gift that will continue to give back to a community we all loved.”

In addition to supporting the Tuck experience that meant so much to Sabina, Blair Whitaker says the practical need of scholarship made it a compelling opportunity to focus their gift.

“Our success is tied back to the opportunities that Tuck created for us,” he says. “We all had scholarships that had someone’s family name on it. This is our chance to pay it forward.”

 
Phil Bell

Lydia & Phil Bell D'58 T'62

FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN OF P.B. BELL AND ASSOCIATES, INC. (1976-2018)

GIFT

$1 million / Scholarship Support Tuck-Dartmouth Joint Programs Initiative

"Education is a foundation. It’s important that we encourage young people to pursue an exceptional education and give them the capacity to see it through."

 

After Phil Bell graduated from Dartmouth in 1958 with an undergraduate degree in economics, he served as a captain in the Marines before returning to Hanover to complete his 3-2 MBA at Tuck. Bell went on to become founder and chairman of P.B. Bell, a Scottsdale-based company that specializes in the development, management, and acquisition of multifamily properties.

Bell retired in 2018, with his son, R. Chapin Bell now serving as president and CEO of the company. His experiences at Tuck and Dartmouth gave Bell an appreciation for the challenges the current generation of students face in financing their education.

“Education is a foundation,” says Bell. “It’s important that we encourage young people to pursue an exceptional education and give them the capacity to see it through.”

Acknowledging the rising student debt burden as a significant concern, Bell recently pledged $1 million in scholarship support, split between Tuck and Dartmouth. He hopes the scholarship resources will help future generations experience the same educational benefits Bell received. When Bell returned to Tuck after his military service, he was recently married and confronting new financial pressures. Completing his MBA opened up new opportunities that Bell says may not have been possible otherwise.

“There is no question that a Tuck MBA degree gives you a leg up in the interview process and helps you throughout your career.”

 

‘Personalized, Grassroots’ Approach Drives T’07’s Exceptional Participation
 

Among the world’s leading business schools, Tuck has long excelled in alumni participation, but the Class of 2007 is setting a new standard with giving rates of more than 80% in consecutive years.

Benjamin Flaim

TAG Head Agent Benjamin Flaim T’07 says his class’s excellent record of participation is the product of several factors, including a commitment to personalized, grassroots outreach. “A lot of classes have head agents and assistant head agents and a list of classmates who they will reach out to each year,” explains Flaim. “We have a lot of people in the class who will contact classmates and encourage them to give, whether they are an official TAG volunteer or not.” In addition to this broad outreach, it was critical to acknowledge the difficult circumstances of the past year and the many challenges alumni are facing. “There is an ongoing pandemic. There are race relations that are open and raw and we needed to acknowledge that,” explains Flaim. “There are a lot of people and organizations who need our help.”

Another important message to communicate to alumni, says Flaim, is the value of alumni support that extends beyond the monetary value of their gift. “Annual giving is more than just dollars, which are important. It’s a demonstration of our faith and our conviction in the value of the Tuck School and its mission.”

 

T’84s Establish Scholarship Fund in Memory of Their Classmates
 

After three T’84 classmates, Mac Watanabe, Sarah Miller, and Sabina Wu, passed away within three years, TAG Head Agents Jennie Martzloff, Lincoln Spoor, and Jan Rosenfeld began thinking of ways their class could band together and honor their memory.

Class of 1984 at reunion

To determine their options, the group started a conversation with Tuck Director of Annual Giving Heather Ermarth. “Everybody wants to find a way to channel their grief and do something meaningful,” shares Martzloff. “After talking with Heather, we decided we could create a Class of 1984 TAG scholarship.”

They far exceeded that goal, raising more than $59,000, enough funding to support not one, but two scholarship recipients—Teo Gonzalez T’21 and Sarah Blatt T’21.

“The scholarships formed a permanent bond between our class and both of these scholars,” says Martzloff. “It made us all feel good that these students are just starting out and we are able to help them on their journey.” For Gonzalez, that journey includes serving as T’21 student body president and playing a prominent role in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts throughout the Tuck community. Blatt, an intelligence officer with the United States Army Reserve, enrolled in the MBA program after attending Tuck’s Next Step transition program for military veterans and elite athletes. During the 35th Reunion dinner, which Blatt attended with her husband, Mike, she read a letter to the T’84 class, explaining what their generosity meant to her and her family.

“As a wife and mother, I am not bearing the expense of this dream alone,” shared Blatt. “My daughter watches me study and grow every day and I am so honored to be my best self with her in the front row. You made that possible.”

 

Gratitude and ‘The Golden Rule’ Inspire Andres Bayly T’10 to Give Back Each Year
 

When asked why he chose Tuck, Andres Bayly T’10 can list several reasons. The strength of Tuck’s curriculum and an excellent brand reputation that extends to his native Peru are two of them. But Bayly says the most important reason is the sense of belonging he developed after getting to know Tuck’s community.

Benjamin Flaim

“Every time I interacted with a Tuckie, a current student, or a member of the Admissions staff, I always felt this immediate sense of belonging,” he says. “That feeling grew stronger and stronger. By the time I made my decision, it was a clear and easy choice.”

Bayly was a career switcher when he arrived at Tuck. He worked at a law fi rm in Lima before joining the Institute for Liberty and Democracy, a consultancy firm where he worked on improving economic and legal frameworks in developing nations. His Tuck education smoothed Bayly’s next transition to investment banking. After graduation, he joined Morgan Stanley in the U.S. before returning to Peru where he is now partner at Allié Family Office, an independent investment firm focused on managing family wealth.

Since joining the alumni ranks, Bayly has been a loyal supporter of Tuck Annual Giving. He says the inclination to make his gift each year is an extension of the Golden Rule—treat others as you want to be treated.

“Attending Tuck was a critical moment in my life,” says Bayly. “No other decision has impacted me more, both personally and professionally, and I couldn’t have done it without contributions from many people over the years. When I graduated, I felt it was my time to give back.”

 

Learn more about the Tuck Difference campaign