Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Spotlight on the Best Professors at Tuck: Ron Adner

Ron Adner - Innovation Genius
Out of all the classes I've taken at Tuck, one of my all time favorites is Ron Adner's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Strategy class. In the class, Adner focuses on examining the challenges of entrepreneurial innovation and how one should approach the challenge of picking the right opportunity, aligning the right partners, and targeting the right market and, perhaps most importantly, setting the right expectations for a new venture. If you have any interest in innovation, I HIGHLY recommend this class for two reasons: #1 - Adner will rock your world, #2 Adner's frameworks will totally change the way you think about innovation strategy.

Adner has also just come out with a new book The Wide Lens: A New Strategy for Innovation, which covers a lot of the topics we discussed in class such as:
— How to see and manage the hidden risks in your ecosystem
— How to assess alternatives and establish leadership in collaborative settings
— How to reconfigure your ecosystem to create and leverage success

I can't wait to read his new book and would definitely recommend both his book and his class(es) to anyone interested in innovation or business strategy!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tuck Scores a #2 Ranking for Best MBA Teaching Faculty

In a recent survey BusinessWeek asked graduates at America's Top Business Schools to rate the quality of teaching on several dimensions. I'm proud to say Tuck came in #2 for the Best MBA Teaching Faculty!

In my opinion, one of the many great things about Tuck is that professors tend to be more accountable and accessible to students because of the school's culture and location. Similar to the alumni network, it's incredibly easy to reach out to the faculty and connect with them on a personal or professional level. Feedback is highly valued and used by professors to improve their classroom performance. And, of course, there are some faculty such as Ron Adner and Matt Slaughter that have truly blown my mind!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Question: Do I need to do a self-initiated interview at Tuck?

Answer: Yes - a self-initiated interview is critical to your candidacy. The admissions office uses the self-initiated interview process as a way to #1 - gauge your interest in Tuck and #2 - evaluate your interpersonal skills.

If you're a domestic applicant, you absolutely must visit Tuck and schedule a self-initiated interview before your application deadline. If you don't visit Tuck, the odds of getting invited to interview are extremely low (<5%). Not visiting Tuck essentially tells admissions that you're not that interested in attending the program.

If you're an international applicant, it is understandable that you may not be able to travel to Tuck for a self-initiated interview.  If you can't visit Tuck before your application is due, make sure that you attend an admissions event in your home country or connect with some current students or alumni so that you can show sincere enthusiasm for the school.

For more information on the interview process and questions, check out the links below:
Tuck Interview Insights & Questions
The Tuck Interview: What to Wear and Other Common Questions
Connect with a Tuck Alum

Life in Hanover

Often times when I host prospective student visits at Tuck, at least one student gets up the courage to ask, so what is there to do in Hanover? Understandably, this is a fair question to ask. Hanover is a small New England town of roughly 10,000 people after all. 

The short answer is, life in Hanover is exactly the same as life in any other city, just minus the hot night clubs and with a smaller variety of restaurants and bars. As a former Manhattanite, I've actually been quite impressed with the number of activities and events in the Upper Valley. 

Here's a glimpse of a few of my favorite aspects of life at Tuck:

The Upper Valley now has roughly one night club so to compensate for the lack of local night life, Tuck sponsors at a weekday cocktail party (Tuck Tails) and at least one big party each weekend (translation: great parties with free food and alcohol!). Dartmouth also has a love for themed, costume parties so needless to say, by the end of second year most students have a treasure trove of costumes and crazy outfits.

Scavenger Hunt - Team Scooby Doo
 Party like a Rock Star

Lady Gaga Party
Proof that not all our parties involve costumes

Sports & Outdoor Activities
There are literally a million different sport-oriented activities you can get involved with ranging from hockey to golf or even triathalon training.

Intramural Hockey - The Official Sport of Tuck
 Great Skiing in Killington, VT
Men's Soccer Team

Culture & The Arts
In spite of the small town location, we get a surprising number of great threatre shows and musical performances in the Upper Valley. The Dartmouth HOP sources and subsidizes a number of great musical performances and theater acts. Northern Stage, a theatre located in neighboring Vermont, also brings a number of NYC quality acts to the Upper Valley.

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers @ the HOP
Evita @ Northern Stage Theatre - An amazing performance!
Our very own Dartmouth Aires

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tuck '11 MBA Reports $863K Pay Package

As some of you may know, MBA programs just publicly released total compensation figures for their 2011 graduates. To my astonishment, one of my T'11 classmates earned the highest total compensation out of any 2011 MBA graduate with a total pay package of $863,000. Holy moly! Not even in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that an MBA graduate (anywhere) could earn that much money their first year out of school.

On that note, if you're reading this Mr. or Ms. Anonymous High Rolling Graduate, you'll be happy to know I'm still considering full-time employment options and would even be willing to settle for a measly $500,000 in annual total compensation. Hit me up!

Poets & Quants: Tuck MBA Reports $863K Pay Package

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Do Women Suffer from an 'Ambition Gap'?

Recently Sheryl Sandberg has taken a lot of heat for claiming that women suffer from an 'ambition gap'. While speaking at the World Economic Forum on January 27th, Sandberg cited a study by the Economist that only 36% of American women self-identify as 'very ambitious.' Why aren't there more very ambitious women in the USA?

Sandberg argued that the “ambition gap” is due to the fact that achievement and likability are negatively correlated for girls. “No one calls little boys bossy,” she quipped. Sandberg goes on to point out that our societal norms teach girls to value themselves based on looks and 'playing nice' whereas boys are taught to value themselves based on their intelligence and ambition. For example, while Sandberg was at a Gymboree last month there were two children's t-shirts for sale that caught her eye. The t-shirt for girls said "Pretty like Mommy"; the t-shirt for boys said "Smart like Dad". What gives? What does our society think its OK to value girls based on looks and not on intelligence?

Gymboree T's -Gender Stereotypes at Its Finest

Sandberg, a Harvard MBA, also points out that "It's now been 15 years (since she graduated), and of the people I know every single man is working full-time and almost none of my female friends." As a female MBA student, I can relate to what she's saying. Over my year and a half at Tuck, I've met so many male CEOs, VPs...etc. However, I'm pretty sure I can count the number of female senior executives I've met on one hand. Personally, I find that a little depressing. My hope for my MBA class, is that we women will pour ourselves into our careers for as long as we chose to work, instead of holding back out of deference to social norms, or in anticipation of “starting a family one day.” If we can do that, I'm confident we can close the ambition gap for future generations and finally bring more female leaders into the C-Suite.

To see Sandburg's full commentary go here: WEF - Sandberg Sees Global 'Ambition Gap' for Women

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

International Learning Opportunties

One month from today I will be in South Africa. I am so excited I can hardly control myself! No, this isn't a spring break trip. I'm actually going to South Africa on a Tuck sponsored learning expedition with 20 of my classmates. Although I've travelled extensively, I never been to any of the countries in Africa, so I am very excited to learn more about SA's economy and what it takes to successfully do business there. While we're in South Africa we'll be meeting with some incredibly interesting and diverse companies such as: Standard Bank, McKinsey South Africa, MassMart, Eskom, Streetwires, SafMarine, Grassroots Soccer (a really cool non-profit that leverages soccer as a vehicle to teach HIV prevention) and Pilanesburg Game Reserve. It should make for an amazing experience - details to come!

One of the great things about Tuck, is that it provides a number of excellent opportunities to further develop your global mindset as a future business leader. Like many schools, there are a variety of internationally focused electives, exchange programs and other international business learning opportunities. However, there are a few opportunities that I think are really special:

Second-year students have the opportunity to participate in on-site corporate consulting projects in international venues. This year projects ranged from a Swiss brewery start up (market assessment and feasibility study for an established brewer) to developing a market-entry strategy for a manufacturer in India.

An experiential course that helps students understand political, social, and economic developments in a specific country. The course focuses on the country’s historical antecedents giving rise to the economic, political, and social structures in the country and the key local and global forces that are likely to affect future development. It also exposes students to some of the leading companies in the country to illustrate some of the core management principles studied at the Tuck School.

Case Writing Opportunities
My good friend Shavonne got involved with business case writing this year at Tuck. Over winter break, she flew to China to meet the key executives (for the case at hand) and gather material. She said the experience she had with the Chinese executives was one of her more influential and rewarding learning experiences at Tuck.