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in April 2016

Tuck Bridge Stories: An Interview with Peyton Hawkins

Tuck Bridge Stories: An Interview with Peyton Hawkins

"I came out of Bridge not only with an incredible education, but also with a new network of friends. To this day, I still keep in touch with some professors and friends that I met at Bridge."

Peyton Hawkins is a 2012 graduate of Colgate Univeristy where she majored in art history. Peyton attended the Bridge Program in the summer of 2011. Currently, she is Manager of Strategic Partnerships at SinglePlatform. We recently discussed her Tuck Bridge experience. This is Peyton's story:

Why did you attend Bridge?

I studied Art History at a small liberal arts school, so I felt that it was important to take a couple business courses to prepare me for a career after college. I came out of Bridge with a stronger skill set, confidence to enter the workforce and the edge that I needed to stand out in a competitive job market.

After the program, I used the Bridge career site to tap into Tuck’s expansive network.  I found the SinglePlatform job posting through the site and connected with Bridge alum, Abby Fuller, to prepare for the interview. Since accepting the job four years ago, I’ve experienced two exciting acquisitions and now manage sales and marketing for our Partner Program. Thanks Abby (and Bridge)!

What surprised you about Bridge?

I knew that Bridge was going to be a rigorous and challenging program, but I was surprised by how much fun I had! My professors and classmates were eclectic and enthusiastic, which made the work/life balance manageable and invigorating. I came out of Bridge not only with an incredible education, but also with a new network of friends. To this day, I still keep in touch with some professors and friends that I met at Bridge.

What was your favorite moment?

Although there are countless great memories from my time at Bridge, I will never forget when my study group presented our final project on Krispy Kreme. After weeks of preparation, it was an incredible feeling to see what we were able to accomplish. After the presentation, we all jumped into the Connecticut River to celebrate!

Are you considering an MBA? How do you think Bridge contributed to this decision?

Bridge gave me a sneak peek into the life of a business school student and the overall experience made me want to consider an MBA more than ever. I originally thought that an MBA was only beneficial to those looking to pursue a career in finance, but at Bridge I discovered that business school offers an extensive curriculum, with subjects tailored to any students’ specific interests. 

If you are considering Tuck, why?

Tuck is an exceptional school and it would absolutely be my number one choice. Tuck offers students the opportunity to learn from the best professors and to join a network of some of the smartest people in the world. There seems to be a unique camaraderie at Tuck, where professors and students come together to excel and succeed, and I would be honored to be a part of that community (and an intramural sport!). 

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Tuck Bridge Stories: Christina Croak

Tuck Bridge Stories: Christina Croak

Christina Croak is a 2013 graduate of Amherst College, where she majored in psychology. Christina attended session 1 of the 2015 Tuck Business Bridge Program. Prior to Bridge, Christina taught with Teach for America in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This is her story:

I am currently an Analytics Manager for Unilever Shopper Marketing at Kantar Retail. Fun fact - I was recruited for this job at Bridge!

I attended Bridge because I wanted to complement my undergraduate liberal arts education and quite literally "bridge" the gap in my career between teaching and entering the business world.

Interestingly, I was surprised by how hard I wanted to work at Bridge. Some could think of it as a four week summer program for which no official grades or evaluation is given - more or less, a 'break' from a typical college semester despite the jam-packed schedule and course load. For me, though, I saw how much there was for me to learn and how invested the professors and staff members were in students' success during the program and beyond - I put in 110% because I wanted to get everything I possibly could out of Bridge. And it was worth it. Second fun fact - I actually got two jobs out of Bridge! I was recruited for my current position there, and also interned for Dr. Alva Taylor for six weeks after the program, which was a great experience.

One of my favorite parts of Bridge was the relationships I built - I still keep in touch with faculty and staff members as well as other students, and I really value having them as a part of my lifelong network.

I am definitely considering an MBA, and Bridge significantly swayed my decision to pursue one. I was able to experience what it was like to be taught by MBA professors - cold calling and all - and also hear firsthand from my TAs about their experiences and what they planned to do with their degrees. I love Tuck's close-knit community that's committed to extending learning beyond the classroom, and cares about encouraging students to make a meaningful impact on society.

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Tuck Bridge Stories: An Interview with Kevin Schoelzel

Tuck Bridge Stories: An Interview with Kevin Schoelzel

Kevin Schoelzel is a 2014 graduate of Vanderbilt Univeristy where he majored in political science, economics, and history. Kevin attended the Bridge Program in the summer of 2013. Currently, he is a research analyst at Gatemore Capital Management, an investment advisory firm that serves high net worth families and institutional clients in the US and Europe. We recently discussed his Tuck Bridge experience. This is Kevin's story:


What do you do at Gatemore?

I research funds and managers across various asset classes and strategies to find differentiated investments that are uncorrelated to their broader markets. Finding these opportunities entails meeting with managers, attending conferences, researching industries, and learning about many different kinds of business models.

I am part of Gatemore’s research team which works out of New York, Philadelphia, London and Paris. We meet regularly to discuss new ideas and work through our due-diligence process in order to gain a better understanding of each investment. In sum, the process is very intellectually engaging, as we assess the return drivers and risks of various opportunities.  Ultimately we strive to design a portfolio that fulfills the long-term objectives of our clients.

Why did you choose to attend Bridge?

During my junior year, I began to focus on what I wanted to do professionally after college. I had really enjoyed school and wanted to find a job that would continue to fuel my intellectual curiosity. Reflecting on what I liked, I decided to pursue a career in either financial services or consulting.

I graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2014 with degrees in Political Science, Economics and History together with a minor in Engineering Management. This broad liberal arts undergraduate experience taught me to think critically and solve problems. Vanderbilt does not offer an undergraduate business degree and I wanted to augment my majors with a better understanding of business concepts to fill in some of the gaps to become a more competitive candidate in the jobs market. The Bridge program helped me take the tools I had been developing in college and apply them in a business setting.

What surprised you about Bridge?

How fast time flies at Bridge. Looking back at the end of the program, I was amazed at how much I had learned in a relatively short period of time.

What was your favorite moment/thing? 

My favorite moment at Bridge was the final presentation. My team analyzed and prepared a valuation analysis on Crown Castle International (a telecommunications company that builds and operates cell towers). I remember working during the last week with my team as we pulled together everything we had learned to do our analysis of the company. After reading through the SEC filings, learning about the industry from a former CEO of another tower company, and layering in our own analysis, my team had a comprehensive presentation which took an in-depth look at a company, and entire industry, we had known very little about ten days earlier.  We put the finishing touches on the presentation on July 4th and practiced most of the day, finishing in time to catch some of the fireworks.  The final presentation was the next day in front of a panel of Tuck professors, distinguished Tuck Business School alumni, and other leading executives.  It was very rewarding to present our thesis on Crown Castle to the panel and get their feedback on the company.

My favorite thing about Bridge was definitely the people. I made a lot of friends during the program who I have continued to stay in touch with since. Recently, I moved from Denver (my hometown) to New York and it has been great having another group of friends from Bridge already in the city.

Do you think Bridge prepared you for your career?

Most definitely. Along with providing a solid introduction to business disciplines like marketing, accounting, finance, and strategy, the program also helped me refine my focus on what I wanted to do after graduating from college.  

In addition to the formal course work, the Career Bridge lunch sessions on resume writing, interviewing, and cover letters, were all very helpful for conveying what I had learned at Bridge and at school to companies that I wanted to join once I entered the working world.

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