This past November I joined 71 prospective MBA students for the 21st annual Diversity Conference at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth University.
Students travel, work, and study in the most interesting and inspiring manner – coming really from all walks of life, to garner a spot in the intimate, team-oriented MBA class of under 500 students from across the country and globe at Tuck. Accepted students to the three-day conference are current applicants, while others seriously favor the Ivy League institution for their future business studies.
In the space of three days, prospective students learn about the academic curriculum, opportunities for personal and professional development, and gain an insider’s look at what makes the community distinctive. Truly the motto of the conference, and I believe a Tuck education as well, “BE. BUILD. BECOME.” could not be more apparent than through the warm and generous invitation to learn and engage indicated by current Tuckies, renowned professors, company sponsors, and leading faculty.
Through the daily breakfast orientation, afternoon small group discussions and panels, and evening special speaker series of alumni and company sponsors, the dynamic high standards of the school’s diversity mission and push for inclusion of unique, varied perspectives comes to light with radiance. The team of committed Diversity Conference Student Organizers personally shook hands with each participant and made genuine effort to know their guests professionally and personally. Professors and faculty shared their infectious passion and pride for Tuck while urging and challenging students to travel the MBA journey alongside with them.
This family like closeness, connection, and access during college years translates into a network of educators, professionals, and leaders for life from which to draw inspiration and support. Undoubtedly, there is a kind of illuminating harmony you will find on the majestic, hunter green Tuck campus where students are bond not just by their studies, but by the two years in which they have the privilege of shaping themselves and others.
Prospective students were able to observe this culture while housed in Tuck dorms, meeting conference participants every morning in Byrne Hall for breakfast and lunch, greeting speakers and professors in Tuck classrooms, and even venturing into the charming downtown of Lebanon, New Hampshire for a taste of urban influence in the college experience – the conference really was a 3-day immersion into the life of an MBA student at Dartmouth.
With its general management focused curriculum and its opportunities for breadth and depth in second year electives, students find themselves soaking in the culture of their surroundings and the multicultural student body at the nation’s first graduate management school. To list a few avenues in which students spend their time, some travel abroad through various initiatives such as the Tuck Global Consultancy, work towards joint-degrees in fields such as medicine and engineering on campus or areas such as law and public policy at other reputable universities, engage in learning expeditions, and expand their horizons with exchange programs, internships, and jobs across borders and state lines.
Certainly, there are MBA programs that may offer some of what Tuck can give a student in terms of variety of study, outside engagement, or professional opportunity – but speaking personally – I find that the family like inclusion of alumni, stemming from a network of more than 8,000 strong, has a resounding effect in the current, past, and even future lives of Tuck scholars.
As the youngest participant in the program, as a current undergraduate still finishing my bachelor’s in business, I was honored at the invitation to attend and have a glimpse of the value of a Tuck MBA. My peers, some ranging from two to five years of professional work experience all echoed the importance of starting the college search early. Preparing a professional profile, seeking letters of reference, and perhaps most important, taking the GMAT, can be mentally draining and incredibly difficult after years away from school.
Starting the search for the right business school during undergrad years can give you several goals to work towards, aspirations to achieve, a vision of your projected future in an MBA environment, and even establish contacts with the very same individuals you may encounter reading your application or conducting your interview.
Regardless of where you set your heart and plant your feet for your MBA experience, I cannot stress the importance enough of starting your search early. Every year business schools across the country host information panels, in person conversations over coffee, webinars, and conferences for prospective students.
For some, tackling the stressful, but irreplaceable measure of your ability in your profile – the GMAT– is the criteria for starting a serious conversation with these schools or attracting their recruitment. Given the fact graduate schools employ vast resources and passionate, professional individuals for the sole effort of attracting talent across the nation and the globe, it is up to you to seize these opportunities to reach out and make an impression.
The frontier of new knowledge is within your grasp, if you ask around, do your homework, and invest early you can earn it readily.
Nicole Chacin will graduate in 2015 from George Washington University with a degree in business economics and public policy with a minor in vocal music. She plans on getting a JD/MBA after college and dreams of working in health policy and administration. She was a part of the first Forté College Leadership Conference and is the creative designer and co-founder of Chicago Boutique.