Why MBA:Tuck School of Business
My sister is unimpressed. She’s come to visit me in Hanover, NH and after 20 minutes walking around the town, she’s bored. Very bored. “You mean this place only has two streets?”
“Well, they got some great restaurants here.”
“I guess, but after a while, aren’t you bored? Man, you should have stayed at Harvard – at least you could buy other kinds of clothing aside from North Face stuff.” Little sisters always cut to the chase.
I initially chose Tuck for one simple reason: I fell in love with the campus. I was on the Montreal-Boston coach and was taking advantage of a long weekend to get some real food in Montreal. American cuisine has a taste I had yet to acquire. We stopped right in front of the college-owned Hanover Inn and I was immediately struck by the beauty of the school’s ground.
Dartmouth is centered on the “Big Green”, a large grass lawn marked by crisscrossing gravel roads and wooden benches dotted along the edges. The Big Green is surrounded by Georgian inspired buildings and the mountains of the Upper Valley region, the latter covered in red, orange, and green. Tuck is on the outer edge of the campus, located on a higher level overlooking the Connecticut River. It was November.
Tuck is a big school and a small school. It’s a big school because there’s a tremendous respect for the oldest business school in America by academics, applicants, and recruiters. Tuck alum grace the C-suite in some of the world’s largest corporate and social enterprises. The faculty is world-renowned and is involved in the debates and discussions shaping the business world. And students come out with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in the world: McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, and Apple, the firms of choice for all business students, are regular recruiters on campus.
It’s also a small school. There are only 250 students for each year; the MBA is the only degree that is offered and, in comparison with other schools, it has a smaller alumni base.
The small school part was why I decided to come.
“Tuckies”, as we students are known, are a lot like Mac users: if you’re not one of us, you have no idea why we’re so obsessed with the place. It’s hard to explain except for one thing: at Tuck, we take care of each other.
Zero-sum competition is severely frowned on especially on class work and recruitment. The professors here go out of their way to help students without Teaching Assistants intermediaries. And the alums are tremendously helpful, especially on recruitment questions and giving general encouragement. They do it do a degree that I’ve never seen at any school I’ve been at.
It’s weird seeing how nice everybody is in the beginning. Now I know I’ll miss it when I leave. You work very hard here – the curriculum and is one of the most demanding of the top 10 schools – but it’s easier when you know there’s help, whether you ask for it or not.
There is a catch though and it’s a very big one. In every brochure, news release, or speech, Tuckies emphasize one thing about the school: Tuck has a close-knit community. It’s a source of pride as well as a warning. The school isn’t for everyone. That’s the reason they ask applicants to spend the day when they come up to campus for entrance interviews, especially during the winter. Anonymity doesn’t exist here – you hang out with your classmates a lot. There’s a lot of snow. And the only dance club is located in Lebanon, NH – yes, it’s as gauche as you’re imagining it right now. Caveat emptor.
My sister is rushing to the Dartmouth co-op to get a hoodie. The town is abuzz because the local Quiznos franchise just closed. I have to think of a place for us to get some lunch. At least there are only two streets to look at.
Tom Park is studying for an MBA at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, class of 2010. He studied law at McGill and public policy at Harvard. Between 2004 and 2007 he worked in the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the OSCE Mission in Pristina, Kosovo and the UN Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia. Previously he was an associate at McCarthy Tetrault, Canada's largest law firm. Tom is currently an intern at McKinsey in Toronto
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