Alison Tilson T'24

“Leaving Tuck, I am a more confident, aware, engaged, understanding, and kind person than I was when I walked in two years ago.”

Read My Story

As a graduate of Carleton College, a liberal arts school, I realized there were gaps in my business knowledge that could be addressed by pursuing an MBA. My primary motivation for pursuing this degree was to acquire a strong foundation in business principles. However, I also sought to create genuine connections within a community of peers who were navigating similar stages of life. The Tuck School of Business offered me both. After spending the last two years at Tuck, I am confident that there could not have been a better place to accelerate my career and cultivate a network that will support me for a lifetime.

I chose Tuck because it offered the immersive MBA experience I was seeking. Upon visiting the campus, I felt immediately at ease with the welcoming community and kind people. I admired how Tuck students’ interests extended beyond academic achievement; they seemed genuinely dedicated to getting to know one another on a personal level and contributing to the close-knit community Tuck is known for. As I considered which institution would be the right fit for me, I knew that at Tuck, I would be joining a community that cares about my personal and professional development. At that point, the choice seemed obvious, and I haven’t regretted it since. I am excited that the mentors and friends I’ve made here will be a part of my network for the rest of my life.

Among the many memorable moments of my Tuck journey, spending time with my original study group stands out as my favorite. Upon arriving at Tuck, I was fortunate to be grouped with five individuals who quickly became my closest friends and dependable constants. We worked incredibly well together. After the work stopped, we’d spend hours together, long after most study groups stopped meeting. The small community and comradery that they gave me was indispensable during what was an uneasy, transitional time at Tuck. This early experience highlighted what Tuck is all about and provided me with an outlet to meet my first real friends whom I know will always be there for me.

During my first year, a pilot program for Tuck Compass was announced with a component called the Personal Board of Advisers (PBA). The PBA is, as its name indicates, a program in which students assemble a personal board of advisors consisting of 4-6 people who offer guidance and advice during a time of immense career and life development. I was assigned four advisors from Tuck—Andy Kaestle from Career Services, Vincent Mack from the MBAPO, Jen Tietz from the leadership coaching program, and an alumna. I then added two board members from my job before Tuck. 

One of my most fulfilling moments at Tuck was assembling my board and creating relationships with each member. The experience allowed me to practice meaningful reflection, gain leadership skills and confidence, receive consistent support, and obtain invaluable insights. Each person brought something unique to the table, and I know that I have benefited greatly from their feedback. It was a privilege to learn from them, and I feel grateful knowing that they’re willing to lend an ear and offer advice when needed, even after I graduate from Tuck. This experience is something that I will never take for granted and I truly don’t think I would have gotten it anywhere else. 

The most valuable advice I can offer to prospective MBA students is what a T’22 shared with me during admitted students’ weekend when I was in their shoes: Trust your gut when deciding which school to attend. By learning to listen to that inner voice and following your intuition, you will end up where you’re meant to be. Research, conversations with current students, and attending events at different institutions are key steps in this process.

Tuck is special because of everything it offers, especially its community. Visiting campus and meeting people who would be in my class gave me the feeling that it was the right place for me.  Also, I knew that I would love being out of a city for two years and having access to the people and outdoors that I do here. I trusted my gut and have not regretted that decision for a single moment. If you have that gut feeling, I recommend trusting it because it often leads you to an environment where you can thrive, with everything else generally falling into place. 

It is so hard for me to put into words what I will miss most about Tuck because I will truly miss everything about my life here. I will miss the fact that there are so many people that I want to spend time with, and they all live within a five-minute drive of me. I will miss the access to the outdoors and the incredible scenery of the Upper Valley. I will miss my professors, I will miss being a student and focusing on my learning, I will miss the comradery of tripod, and the hoard of people to go skiing with any day of the week. I will miss study group dinners, weekly Survivor screenings at Summer’s, and planning my social calendar with all my friends. I will miss when it finally gets nice out and we can work outside, I will miss the beauty of the snow, and I will miss quiet mornings at the Nest with my green heron breakfast sandwich. Most of all, I will miss my friends who have become family and the incredible times that we have shared over the last two years.

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