I spent a few years in a relatively successful career as a software engineer, all the while knowing that I wanted to do much more with my life. Today, as a strategy consultant, I work with Fortune 500 firms helping them think through and solve critical business problems. Some day, I hope to be running my own startup, maybe in India. What enabled me to make the transition from one to the other is the two years I spent at Tuck – where I received a top-notch business education, developed skills that are essential to succeeding in a business career, gained entry into the tightest knit alumni network on the planet and had a great experience in the process.
The coursework at Tuck is rigorous and comprehensive. Tuck offers a challenging curriculum, and also places heavy emphasis on teamwork and leadership skills development, which are excellent preparation not just for a job after school, but for a career. The countless hours in study group provide a rich and diverse learning environment. The school puts a lot of thought into assigning study groups. My first term study group consisted of two bankers, a Canadian biotech entrepreneur, a telecom industry veteran from China, a family business manager who had been a missionary in the Philippines, and me, a woman engineer from Silicon Valley who grew up in India. Similarly, the variety of backgrounds and skills in the classroom is amazing. I benefited immensely from the experience and knowledge my classmates brought to classroom discussions.
Tuck faculty are leading researchers in their respective fields. They are committed to teaching, and weave key insights from their research into classroom discussions. These discussions – lively and animated, but never contentious – are actively encouraged, and contribute to a superior learning experience. At Tuck, the classroom is a place where you are exposed to the latest thinking in any field.
Teaching at Tuck is a combination of case-based discussions and lectures. There is plenty of opportunity to learn from the faculty and from classmates. The professors are friendly and always up for a healthy debate, very often over coffee after class. It is also quite common for faculty to invite groups of students home for dinner. These informal interactions can lead to discussions about their latest book or research, industry perspectives, the latest Red Sox game, or in fact, anything at all.
Many faculty members participate in student club activities. Extra-curricular activities at Tuck are organized by the clubs, and there were over two dozen active student clubs during my two years at Tuck. There are clubs for everything from career interests to wine to rock climbing. For a class of 240 people, already over-committed to classes, coursework, assignments, exams, meetings with faculty or visiting executives, and recruiting, that is a lot of extra-curricular activities to throw into the mix! Even if I had gone entirely without sleep for the two years, there would not have been enough time to sample all the opportunities available.
Tuckies are actively recruited by major investment banks, consulting firms, and blue-chip corporations. Top recruiters at Tuck include Goldman Sachs, McKinsey, Google, Lehman Brothers, PepsiCo, General Electric, Genentech, Procter and Gamble, and Microsoft. Some of my classmates also chose careers like marketing for the U.S. Tennis Association and advocacy at the Gates Foundation.
The Career Development Office (CDO) helps students pick the right career, in areas related to their background or otherwise. They organize workshops and panels on career management, offer individual counseling and collaborate with student clubs to organize Meet the Company trips, such as the annual Asia trek organized by the Asia Business Club.
The strong alumni network means that students have access to career advice from mentors who are at the top of their professions. Recruiters consistently speak highly of Tuck students not only for their business knowledge, but also for their collaborative approach to problem solving and for their leadership skills. It is not surprising then, that Tuck is consistently ranked #1 in terms of return on investment for students.
However, what really differentiates Tuck is the people – administration, alumni, faculty and students. They are friendly, helpful and amazingly loyal to the school, which makes a diverse, warm and tight-knit community. Being part of it means many things:
- Emailing an alum and hearing back from them the same day
- Having dinner or coffee with a professor or a visiting executive and gaining new perspectives on industry
- Getting to know your classmates and their families
- Making time to catch the latest in music, art or film at the Hopkins Center. Or to listen to some of the renowned speakers that the College sponsors each year.
- Spending as much time as possible outdoors with friends. In warm weather, there’s golfing, hiking, kayaking, biking and climbing. And once the snow arrives, the ski slopes beckon.
- Attending as many events as possible on the busy Tuck social calendar.
Would I recommend Tuck? Absolutely. It is a unique experience that has enriched me in so many ways. Having so many opportunities around me was wonderful. Having to choose among them, due to sheer lack of time, taught me to prioritize as well as to manage my time. Memories of some of the opportunities that I had to pass up left me with the determination to keep learning, and to keep seeking out opportunities. I left Tuck armed with a great education, wonderful memories, lifelong friendships and a can-do attitude. That was the prologue to a new journey that I am on – one that would not have been so rich and fulfilling, but for Tuck. I would like to sign off by sharing with you a few memories from my Tuck years.
A few Tuck highlights
- Having lunch with Warren Buffett
- Spending a month in South Africa with 8 classmates, working on a consulting project. Hard work on weekdays. On weekends, we hiked up Table Mountain in Cape Town, went wine tasting across Stellenbosch, attended a football game in Soweto (Indians vs. Chiefs. Crowd: 50,000), took a safari trip outside Joburg, and attended countless braais (barbecues) with new friends
- Asking Ed Zander (CEO of Motorola) to donate a Q to the school’s charity auction, before the phone had been officially released. He did.
- My dad and uncle (business geeks, both) are huge fans of Jack Welch. When Jack visited Tuck, I got signed copies of his book for both of them.
- Mocha, my chocolate lab, was an integral member of the Tuck community. While I am a T’06 (Tuck, class of 2006), he is a Tuck K9’06.
Updated December 2009: Video tour of the campus