Tuck Bridge Stories: An Interview with Seema Samawi
Seema Samawi is a 2015 gradaute of Smith College, where she majored in computer science and minored in music. In May of 2015, Seema started her Bridge journey as a part of the first ever Smith-Tuck Business Bridge Program class. Seema now works at MassMutual Financial Group. We sat down with her to discuss her Smith-Tuck experience:
Why did you apply to the Smith-Tuck Bridge Program?
I received an email blast from the Lazarus center informing me of the program.
My mother had completed an MBA herself, and I was considering looking into getting one. I have always been familiar with the Tuck School of business from my father who has had nothing but great experiences working with Tuckies. Having a technical degree and wanting to bridge into the finance world I figured trying the Smith-Tuck Bridge would be a great introduction into the business side of my career and would help me gain new skills and identify if an MBA is truly something I would want to pursue after gaining some work experience. The all female aspect also appealed to me, as a Smithie I was able to see how effective the environment would be. I was excited to also join a program where I would be working with the future female leaders of society!
What is your fondest memory from the program?
While the entire program was wonderful my fondest memory was working with the MarkStrat simulation software with my team. It was the perfect practical application of all our skills we had learnt up to that moment and truly forced us to be a collaborative team, work to produce under a deadline and use our analytical skills to put our best foot forward,
Do you think the all-women environment added value to your experience?
Having had the pleasure of attending Career Day at one of the later Dartmouth sessions I can say it thoroughly did. There is something unique about being surrounded by mainly women with a similar pedigree to yourself. I really enjoyed the environment as in a world where women are outnumbered by men in executive offices it was nice to connect with one another. the Smith-Tuck Bridge program helps build business relationships and friendships that will blossom and connect future executives from a younger age. Picking our team name was a wonderful activity which really showcased this, we were "Team Beyonce" because we felt Beyonce is a strong, powerful successful woman who exhibits traits that many of us aspire to, a family, a successful career and a good head on her shoulders.
The all-women environment also helps as women and men learn differently and in different environments which has been proven scientifically, a large percentage of females are timid in front of members of the opposite sex in an academic situation and are less likely to participate. Having no males meant that those doubts were irrelevant and it truly felt like a safe-space.
What are you doing now?
Thanks to the Bridge Career day I am now happily working as a Quantitative Consultant at MassMutual Financial Group. I work on the Inforce Life Insurance Products team helping to create and test the Dividends Schedule for our Traditional Life Insurance Products.
How did Bridge help?
Spreadsheet modelling definitely comes in handy as well as all the finance and accounting classes. While I perform a lot of quantitative analysis, understanding how to manipulate numbers and finances helps me with my job. Tuck also helped prepare me for my job because of the collaborative aspect being transcended to another level. Academic projects are only collaborative to a certain point but in the workforce you need to know how to lead and follow at the same time. I consistently work with my teammates supporting them and they support me, communication is a key aspect of bridge and an even more crucial aspect at my job.