Linda Horner T'20

“At Tuck, I have witnessed the power that comes when you commit to finding your purpose.”

Read My Story

I pursued an MBA because I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of business strategy, develop my leadership repertoire, grow my professional network, and have a greater impact on my community. I am passionate about solving global health problems and am fascinated by the role of business in providing out-of-the box, low-cost innovations to meet these problems for example, franchising health or leveraging ubiquitous mobile technology. Reflecting on personal experiences, such as the death of my cousin in Uganda from an undiagnosed disease or the high rate of maternal mortality in my community, instilled in me a yearning to make a difference. I knew that the toolkit and leadership development I would gain from the MBA would help me do just that.

I chose Tuck, because of its world-class professors and industry leaders, its tight-knit community, and its wonderful opportunities for my family living in Sachem Village. Even knowing this going in,Tuck has far exceeded my expectations. The willingness of this community to pour into one another has astounded me. For example, I recall one coffee chat with Prof. Peter Fisher, Prof. of Arrhythmia of Finance and former Head of Fixed Income at BlackRock. What started off as a half-hour coffee chat turned into a three-hour conversation, where we chatted about everything from how to determine if an M&A deal is value-add to how to choose a career to parenting. In another of these great conversations, which occur all the time at Tuck, I was sitting across from Tom Linebarger, chair and CEO of Cummins, at dinner as he gave a very vulnerable account of his leadership journey. There is no other school that could have given me these opportunities to connect with world-class leaders in such an intimate setting.

There have been many highlights of my Tuck experience, but the most indelible are first, representing the “Tuck Woman of Today” at the launch of the ‘Fifty Years of Women at Tuck’ year-long celebration. It was awe-inspiring for me to take the stage in front of the women and men who paved the way and removed the obstacles for what it took for me, an African immigrant, first generation college student and mother of two, to attend Tuck. Second, giving a Tuck Talk. I had always struggled with being vulnerable in front of a large group of people. Going through the exercise of understanding my journey, articulating what has made me who I am, and then sharing that with the Tuck community was a powerful revelation of my transformation. The many hours preparing for the fifteen-minute speech, which involved a deep self-reflection of who I am and how I relate to the world, have been some of the most transformative of my life. Third, participating in an outdoors leadership challenge where I guided my classmates through obstacle challenges, including a canoe race down a river to fill cans of water—my very first time being on the water. It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, and yet I got through it with the trust and support of my classmates. To top it all off, we won!

The academic experience and learning environment at Tuck is both rigorous and highly collaborative. The faculty challenged me to step out of my comfort zone in a supportive learning environment, and it has paid off big time. When I left Tuck for my summer internship, I was astonished to realize how much I had learned. Collaborating with and learning from classmates is also so fundamental to Tuck’s academic experience. The faculty encourage dialogue in a manner that allows us to learn from our smart wise classmates who come in with an average of about five years of experience—that is a total 1,500+ years of combined diverse professional and personal experiences to share with one another in this tight-knit setting.

I came to Tuck to develop my leadership skills, and it was here that I truly found my voice. Tuck provided several opportunities for this journey: the well-rounded general management curriculum gave me the intellectual growth and confidence to speak up and articulate my perspective on issues. The Tuck faculty taught me to think critically and to create clarity out of ambiguity in decision making and to approach decisions with humility. I learned to pause and ask myself, “why might I be wrong?” Self-reflection in courses like Personal Leadership, Leadership Out of the Box, and Communicating with Presence, led me to realize that leadership is an affair of the heart, and that I must lead from a place of authenticity. Outside the classroom, I profited greatly from Tuck’s personal leadership coaching to understand the experiences that have shaped me, articulate my values, and develop leadership goals for the impact I desire to make. From the openness of Dean Slaughter and the accessibility of Tuck faculty and staff, I gleaned insights for my emotional growth. Finally, my classmates’ willingness to be vulnerable and “dig deeper” in sharing their diverse personal and professional experiences expanded my worldview. Then it was time to implement. Opportunities such as leading a club, working on peer-led teams to plan events, and working on real client projects helped me to concretize my goals and “try them on for size” in a setting where I received immediate, genuine feedback from classmates  who truly cared for my growth as a leader.

If you are considering applying to Tuck, reach out to current students and alumni and hear first-hand why Tuck was the best school for them. Ask a lot of questions, both big and small, and carefully listen to their candid responses. I strongly advise you to also visit Tuck- I know that for myself, attending the Diversity Conference and later the Admitted Students Weekend really solidified in my mind that this was the community I needed in order to grow in the ways I wanted to grow and achieve the goals I wanted to achieve. When you make the decision to attend Tuck, lean into Tuck—be authentic and share your perspective, your experiences, your stories, your energy, and your unique presence. Then, you will see this community give back to you enduring friendships, life-long memories, greater self-confidence, and clarity on how to think about your purpose in life. It is truly transformative.

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