Tuck's COVID-19 Response

Rachel Baras T'19

“Tuck’s small community, remote location, and general core curriculum offered a supportive environment where I could take risks, diversify my skills, and regain some perspective.”

Read My Story

I applied to law school and business school in the same year. I knew that I wanted to work on behalf of animal welfare issues, but was torn as to whether I should do so through the courts or the marketplace. After seeking advice from more people, though, I became increasingly drawn toward business: by promoting humane, affordable, and high-quality products, I could work with others to create a market that aligns consumer preferences with animal interests. Law, business, public advocacy, science, engineering, and other disciplines all play crucial roles in improving the lives of animals, humans, and the wider environment. For me and my skillset, business ultimately resonated most.

I came to Tuck intending to make a hard pivot professionally. I worked at Deloitte prior to applying to Tuck. It was a great opportunity to learn about client service, teamwork, analysis, and overall professionalism. With my choice to attend business school, I sought to leverage this platform toward a new field–but knew I would need to work hard to prove that my experience was relevant and that my commitment was strong. Tuck’s small community, remote location, and general core curriculum offered a supportive environment where I could take risks, diversify my skills, and regain some perspective after a lifetime of urban living.

The Venture Capital Fellowship with the Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital has offered a platform for pursuing my interests on campus. When I was discussing potential VC Fellowship projects with Jim Feuille, Executive Director of the CPEVC, he proposed the idea of launching an online, virtual summit focused on agriculture technology. A classmate (who is also my co-lead of the Tuck Food & Ag Club) and I have run with the idea, all with Jim’s support. The summit has enabled us to learn more about agtech, bring speakers to a wider audience, and build connections within and beyond Tuck.

My First-Year Project was with a company developing cultured meat. The FYP was a great opportunity to craft a project that complemented my professional interests. In the fall of my first year, I wrote a cold email to a company developing cultured (“lab-grown”) meat to see if a group of classmates and I could help them with a business problem they were facing. Soon enough, we were scoping an FYP that touched upon marketing research, consumer insights, regulatory conditions, and revenue models. Later on, when I was recruiting for internships, I could point to this FYP as evidence of my interest in cellular agriculture.

I interned with Modern Meadow, a company reimagining animal materials in a lab. My internship enabled me to both draw from my existing skillset and pivot into the very field I most wanted to enter after Tuck. The Center for Entrepreneurship (and, in particular, Daniella Reichstetter T’07) was valuable throughout the off-campus recruiting process. Moreover, Tuck’s remote location turned out to be fine: my interviews were largely done on video, and I could take the Dartmouth Coach down to Boston or New York when I needed to. 

Tuck recognizes the importance of kindness for getting things done. For many here at Tuck, challenge and failure were prerequisites to the success we have found thus far; we can handle directness, harsh feedback, and difficult working conditions when necessary. But Tuck’s culture does not glamorize competition or aggressiveness beyond what is necessary. It is normal here to help each other with interview prep (even when we are competing for the same role), and the administration has been extremely helpful throughout my two years. I do not take this culture for granted. 

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