Addison Lee is a senior at Dartmouth College majoring in Chinese and Economics. She attended the inaugural December Bridge Program in 2014. This past summer, Addison interned at AV&Co., a strategy consulting firm specialized in the TMT (tech, media, telecom) industry. She will be joining AV&Co. full-time after graduation in June. This is her story:
I applied for Bridge as a sophomore, thinking there was nothing to lose and plenty to gain. I knew I wanted try banking or consulting down the line, so the Bridge program was a good opportunity to round out my liberal arts education with business exposure, seek career advice, and gain a boost for future recruitment. As a Dartmouth student, the December timeline was ideal to prevent my mind from completely vegetating during the 6-week winter break and also to leave my summer open for other opportunities.
My Bridge class was the December version “guinea pig”, but in my opinion there were few (if any) kinks that diluted the experience. I won’t deny that it was sometimes depressing to walk across the dead-quiet winter campus at 7:30am for morning classes, but it was hard to stay grumpy given the endless free coffee and snacks so generously provided before, between, and after classes.
One thing I recall in particular was the level of attention from professors. To put this in perspective, consider that the program’s professors are ACTUAL (like, seriously legit and insanely smart) Tuck MBA professors who normally teach students dedicated to learning all that can be academically learned about business. Yet they teach with the upmost patience and with zero assumptions about our background knowledge. In our first spreadsheet modeling class, the professor wholeheartedly taught us: “To copy, you press control-C. Then to paste, you press control-V.” We very quickly became grateful, and at the complete mercy of, such careful guidance as the courses ramped up.
The BAs (Bridge Associates) were absolutely fantastic. They were MBA students who chose, for some miraculous reason, to kindly volunteer their time and energy herding us (quite overwhelmed) Bridge students in the right direction. They worked with us past midnight in the team rooms, helping us figure out how the heck the three accounting statements worked and how to beautify our (initially quite ugly) decks. They also offered close-up career counseling and did not hesitate to hold back on much-needed critique – I fondly remember leaving a one-on-one review session with my resume bleeding red from suggestions and corrections.
Even though I don’t remember every accounting rule and spreadsheet function from that December, without a doubt I went into recruiting significantly more prepared than without the program. In 95% of my interviews I was asked about my Bridge experience – from this program alone, I had interview answers in my back pocket about teamwork, fast-paced deadlines, steep learning curves, company valuation, and more.
But it was not until over a year after my Bridge experience that I really came to appreciate it, when I ran into a professor from Bridge on the Dartmouth Coach. I meekly said hello as we boarded the bus, not expecting her to even remember me, but she enthusiastically greeted me and insisted that we “catch up.” Not knowing what to expect, during the ride I visited her seat, where I remained for over 3 hours talking with her. I was amazed at how she genuinely took interest in my post-Bridge experiences, future aspirations, and even my personal values. She advised me on how to approach interviews and internships (which I still follow today) and sent me off with a book recommendation and a reminder to keep in touch.
After the bus ride, I realized that Bridge truly continues to be a resource long after its “graduation,” whether it’s for mentorship, counseling, or networking. Bridge alumni continue to stay in touch and even come back as Tuck BAs, which I think speaks volumes about the bonds that are fostered even during the short 3-4 weeks. To anyone interested in Bridge, especially in undergrad, I can say they will gain not only basic business knowledge, but also valuable personal and professional connections that will, I’m sure, help out down the road regardless of ultimate career choice.Read More