Kathy Liao T'20

“At Tuck, I’ve had the opportunity to understand what values are most important to me and to become a better version of myself.”

Read My Story

My boss at my first job out of college recommended that I get an MBA. He really believed in me and thought it would be a great opportunity for me to learn and gain confidence in myself.

Business school for me was all about personal growth and this focus led to me directing my efforts on things outside the classroom. For example, as both a first and second year, I was elected to the Student Board as the Quality of Life chair, where I worked on promoting student wellness and happiness through planning fun events and programs, improving facilities, and making sure everyone feels included and part of the Tuck community.

I chose Tuck because of the people. I wanted to go to a school where everyone was “all in” on the experience and wanted to spend time getting to know and learning from each other. As I visited and explored other schools, I noticed that some of the incoming/prospective students I encountered seemed to be more interested in exploring the new city they were moving to than getting to know their new classmates. I was also motivated to find a MBA program that offered a community environment where I would feel safe and comfortable taking risks as I tried to grow. Tuck’s small community meant that I was always surrounded by friends who would support me as I tried out new things.

What really cemented my decision was attending Admit Student Weekend. During that weekend, I had the opportunity to meet current students who were extremely open in sharing their struggles and highlights of being in school. I appreciated their sincerity, and it seemed like they wanted me to walk away from our meeting equipped with the information I needed to make the best decision for myself. I also met prospective students who I immediately felt comfortable with and accepted by.

A major highlight of my Tuck experience was being able to serve as Quality of Life chair on the Student Board, building community, and bringing levity and smiles to people’s faces, even when we were going through tough times during recruiting. Visiting my classmates’ hometown, Salvador, in Brazil, and being welcomed by them as family was also an amazing experience. They introduced me to their culture, food, music, and dance. I can’t wait to return to Brazil for Carnival in the future! Lastly, I’ll never forget the little moments when my classmates took the extra step to help others and the Tuck community as a whole. It’s so inspiring to be surrounded by people who are motivated to make a difference and give back to the communities they are a part of.

The core class curriculum at Tuck really puts you through the ringer, with courses from finance, to modeling, accounting, and communication. You’re learning so many different topics at once that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Thankfully, each study group is thoughtfully put together, with classmates who have varied experience, so any time I had trouble understanding a topic, I had my study group mates to lean on for help!

Coming into Tuck, I wanted to find a small to mid-size tech company on the West Coast and I knew I would need to do a lot of my own legwork. A Tuck alum I spoke to in the fall of my first year provided me with some key insights: That if I was really serious about recruiting for a smaller company on the West Coast, I would need to be really disciplined with my search. He recommended setting aside one hour a day, every weekday, to reach out to alumni who were working at tech companies I would be interested in working for. Ultimately, I decided to try working in big tech, but I learned a lot about different companies from these conversations and the alumni I spoke with provided great advice on how to best spend my time at Tuck.

As a Visiting Executive Fellow, I had the opportunity to host executives who were visiting Tuck to speak in classes and meet with students. Many of these visitors were alumni, and they were always so excited to return to Hanover and catch up with students. Since visiting Hanover is more than a quick trip away from the office, students have the chance to spend time with these alumni in small group settings, usually in the form of a lunch, dinner, or a coffee chat.

I think it’s most important to find a school where you like the current and other prospective students. You’ll be living and learning from these people for the next two years, so make sure they are people you want to learn from and are just as excited to meet you as you are to meet them. Talk to current students and alumni to get a feel for what the community is like and figure out if Tuck is the type of environment you will thrive in.

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