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written by Mora Cantlin

Tuck Bridge Stories: Jodi Ann Wang

Tuck Bridge Stories: Jodi Ann Wang

Jodi Ann Wang is an International Relations major at Kenyon College. She attended Bridge in summer of 2018.


For a month of my summer this year, I participated in a four-week intensive mini-MBA program at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Here are some reflections on one of the most academically rigorous and intellectually challenging months of my academic career:

As an international studies major, I’ve always underestimated the intersectionality between the world of business and international development. My original goal with coming to Bridge was to be financially literate so I can help those in low-income countries become self-sufficient through entrepreneurship. Yet, Bridge offered me so much more. It opened me up to new possibilities and opportunities to network with like-minded professionals who can provide me with a platform to turn my goals into a reality.

Like most of the home institutions of Bridge participants, Kenyon, as a liberal arts college, is absent from a business program. Just like its name, the Tuck Bridge program helped “bridge” the gap and pave the road between a liberal arts degree and the skills needed to thrive in the business world. Whether it is taking what we learned in classes such as Accounting, Corporate Finance, Marketing Strategy and applying it to our corporate valuation project, or editing and re-editing our resumes so we can better market ourselves to recruiters, Bridge provided us an opportunity to challenge ourselves and discover our inner potential that we may have never realized before.

Each day begins at 8:30 AM and is generally composed of four 80-minute lectures and intersected with 20-minute breaks in between each. Core classes such as Accounting, Spreadsheet Modeling, and Corporate Finance can have up to nine lectures while additional sessions such as Negotiations, Organizational Behavior, and Entrepreneurship occupy one to two classes. In the evening, our schedule is booked for study group sessions. My study group met every night for at least one hour to work through homework assignments, catch up on our day, and plan for the next. While some days are long, the weeks flew by quickly.

I distinctly remember sitting with my fellow group members in our study room during our first study group session, having the same mixed emotions of confusion, excitement, and nervousness as I did during freshman orientation in college. Accounting vocabulary seemed like a foreign language to me, and spreadsheet modeling felt like the struggle to untangle a pair of wired headphones. But as we moved forward with the program, the challenging curriculum became a norm, and most amazingly, I was standing in front of panels of industry professionals before I could even process how I mysteriously understood MarkStrat, the process to do a DCF analysis, or marketing analysis.

The study group format allowed me to actively engage in my learning in the environment of five like-minded individuals, and that maximized the efficiency and results. Each night I returned back to my room feeling accomplished, ready for the next day. This style of absorbing class material is something I can bring back to Kenyon and further incorporate into my studies in the near future.

Bridge was not only a process to absorb knowledge but a multi-channel "bridge" that actively encouraged me to apply such knowledge into the greater space of different areas of business whether through homework of real-life case studies or the final corporate valuation project. Bridge was a challenge and a reward. It is something that has opened my eyes to further possibilities that will assist me in making my academic goals at Kenyon a reality.

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Tuck Bridge Stories: Pierce King

Tuck Bridge Stories: Pierce King

Pierce King is a 2013 graduate of Bowdoin College where he majored in Government and Legal Studies and minored in English. He attended Tuck Bridge in 2013. He currently works as a Senior Investment Associate at Cambridge Associates. This is his Bridge story:


What are your primary responsibilities in your current position?
My primary responsibilities include constructing and managing diversified portfolios for our institutional clients through asset allocation and manager selection. As part of this process, I serve as a thought partner for my Investment Directors when constructing our quarterly client discussion materials and assessing managers in our respective client portfolios. In addition to these core responsibilities, over the past year I have become increasingly involved with our firm’s impact investing efforts, particularly as they relate to researching investment opportunities in the private investment space.

Why did you choose to attend Bridge?
Towards the end of my undergrad experience at Bowdoin, I became interested in pursuing a career in business and began looking for a program that would offer a financial curriculum to complement my liberal arts background. My decision to apply and ultimately attend Bridge was driven by the opportunity to learn these fundamental skills from the Tuck faculty in a unique, career focused setting.

How did Bridge help you in your job search?
First and foremost, Bridge helped me understand the business landscape and the career options I had within it. I knew I was interested in business, but I was not quite sure where to concentrate my effort. Bridge not only provided this guidance, but also a framework for critical aspects of the job search, such as networking and interviewing. When the time came for me to interview at Cambridge Associates, Bridge helped connect me with alumni who were working at the firm, which gave me the confidence and edge I needed to succeed.

What most surprised you about Bridge?
What most surprised me about my Bridge experience was how much I learned in the relatively short time I was on campus. From the classes to the lunch panels and study groups, Bridge’s immersive and multifaceted approach is designed for you to learn from its wealth of resources at all hours of the day.

Do you have a favorite memory from Bridge?
It might sound odd, but my favorite memory from Bridge was the night before the stock valuation pitch. My study group had just spent the final week of the program working tirelessly on our project, but we were still struggling with one critical element of the presentation. Rather than becoming frustrated in a stressful situation, my team came together and worked through the difficulty late into the night. We solved our problem and ended up delivering a great final presentation. I think this anecdote epitomizes the quality and character of the students that Bridge attracts: determined, collaborative, and engaged.

Describe your Bridge experience in one word or phrase.
Transformative.

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Tuck Bridge Stories: Billy and Katie McGahan

Tuck Bridge Stories: Billy and Katie McGahan

Billy (Yale University '20) and Katie (Cornell University '20) McGahan attended Session I of Bridge together this summer. They shared their Bridge experience from a sibling perspective:

Like many other Bridgers, my college does not offer a finance or business major, so Bridge was a unique opportunity for me to immerse myself in a business curriculum taught by some of the best business school professors in the world. I was also lucky enough to receive a raving review from Sara McGahan (Bridge ’17, Dartmouth ’17), that eliminated any doubt in my mind that I wanted to come to Bridge. 

Attending Bridge with my sister Katie has been a blast. Our study groups meet across the hall from each other, so there has been plenty of moments of sibling rivalry. Our competitiveness was especially apparent during the MarkStrat simulation, during which our companies probably targeted each other’s product lines more than two typical companies would have.

The Bridge experience has been incredibly rewarding for me. The classes have been outstanding, the career development opportunities have been incredibly helpful, and the mentorship provided by the Bridge Associates has been enormously valuable. As someone who wanted to go into banking or consulting but was relatively unsure, Bridge allowed me to explore these paths and helped me solidify and have confidence in my career aspirations. The tangible business skillset I have gained and meaningful connections I have made will stick with me for the rest of my life.

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Collaboration Builds the Bridge: Tuck Bridge

American motivational speaker and author Earl Nightingale once tweeted, “Your problem is to bridge the gap which exists between where you are now and the goal you intend to reach.” For many students at Dartmouth, their goals includes a career in business, but the College does not offer a business major. For many students, the Tuck Business Bridge program serves as the “bridge” towards a career in business. 

Tuck Bridge is operated by Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and caters to liberal arts students who wish to develop fundamental business skills. The program is not limited to Dartmouth students — rising juniors through graduating seniors from any college or university are eligible to apply. Tuck Bridge is offered three times a year: as two four-week-long sessions in the summer and one three-week-long session in December. Students accepted to the program live the life of a real MBA student, for a couple weeks at least.

Puja Devi ’19 participated in Tuck Bridge this past December. Devi decided to apply to the program after becoming interested in business during sophomore summer. She looked to Tuck Bridge to equip her with the skills needed to pursue her newfound interests. 

“I thought Tuck Bridge would be a really fantastic way of not only exploring the business field but also getting some credentials and gaining at least some sort of hard skills that would prepare me for internships and a job after graduation,” Devi said.

Tuck Bridge cultivates these business skills among participants by maintaining a busy schedule throughout the program. Participants are enrolled in a total of six core courses and several additional sessions throughout the program. Classes convene six days a week, leaving only Sunday free of activity. 

Rushil Shukla ’20 also participated in Tuck Bridge last December and appreciated the academic rigor the program provided.

“Classes … moved at a really fast pace and I really enjoyed that personally because I think that’s how we got so much out of the program … you are not going to get a ton out of the program if it is not intense because there is just so much to learn,” Shukla said. 

Classes are taught by notable members of the Tuck faculty, including business administration professor Leslie Robinson, who was named one of business news website Poets and Quants’ 40 best business school professors under the age of 40 in 2017. Robinson returned from teaching in France specifically to teach at Tuck Bridge in December. Having courses taught by Tuck professors is one of the key reasons why undergraduates are attracted to the progam.

“I just felt really respected and valued to be given that much time from a professor that teaches MBA students,” Devi said.

In addition to Tuck faculty, Tuck Bridge provides participants with guidance from Tuck MBA student coaches to help participants with their learning experience. Tuck professors and MBA students are available throughout the entire program to answer questions participants may have.

Shukla explained how MBA student coaches were helpful resources for undergraduate students. Tuck faculty and MBA student coaches are especially integral to assisting participants navigate the two culminating components of the program: the multi-round business simulation and the capstone valuation project. The multi-round business simulation challenges participants to compete in teams to grow a business using Markstrat, a digital marketing simulation. The simulation puts what participants learn throughout the program in perspective by testing their abilities to market and target products to consumers. 

The capstone valuation project tasks groups of participants with evaluating a company of their choice. Groups use the skills they learn throughout the program to analyze a company’s income statement, cash flow statement and balance sheet, among other things, and wholly evaluate the company. Each group then presents its findings to a panel of industry executives and Tuck faculty and gets constructive feedback.

“You really … get feedback from the best, and I think that’s what’s really special,” Shukla said. “The capstone project is the culminating experience that shows how far you’ve come.” 

The multi-round business simulation and capstone valuation project are just two aspects of Tuck Bridge that promote personal career development among participants. Tuck Bridge also offers networking opportunities, LinkedIn profile tutorials and résumé reviews throughout the program. 

“As someone who doesn’t know much about the business world, it was important to know how to present [myself] and not only build [an] image, but [know] how to use it to connect with other people,” Devi said.

Natalie Cantave ’16 served as a marketing intern for Tuck Bridge and recalls learning valuable marketing skills during her internship that she applies to her current marketing job in the greater Boston area. Cantave’s internship consisted of research and social media projects geared to market the program to her peers. Of the skills Cantave recalls obtaining through her internship, she flagged gaining a greater sense of confidenc, communication and creative skills as key takeaways from her experience.

Tuck Bridge has many aspects that make it a productive means for students to achieve their business goals, but the one overarching aspect of the program that makes it successful is  an emphasis on collaboration. Tuck Bridge is a collaborative program at its core. The liberal arts and business worlds join forces to develop practical skills in participants, groups of students work together to tackle challenging projects and undergraduate interns, MBA students and Tuck faculty ally to ensure the program runs smoothly. Collaboration builds this bridge. 

“I think after the program I can say with 100 percent certainty that business is definitely in the future for me,” Shukla said. “The kind of collaborative community … [Tuck Bridge] builds is very student-focused, it is really community centric and I think it is a community that really cares about each other. That came across in the program as something I was really attracted to.”

-- Annie Farrell, The Dartmouth
http://www.thedartmouth.com/article/2018/01/collaboration-builds-the-bridge-tuck-bridge
 

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