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in May 2016

Tuck Bridge Stories: Delanyo “Dela” Kpo

Tuck Bridge Stories: Delanyo “Dela” Kpo

"I left Bridge with a strong sense of confidence and complete faith that I could handle whatever came my way."

Delanyo "Dela" Kpo is a 2014 graduate of Dartmouth College where she studied geography and international development. Dela has been at MBI, Inc, a $350 million consumer products company, since 2014 and is currently an Assistant Program Manager in the publishing division. Dela completed the Bridge Program the summer after her senior year. This is her story:                                     

At least five of my friends from Dartmouth College had gone through Bridge, and every single one of them had something positive to say about the program. I didn’t come from a “traditional” business background. I spent most of my summers volunteering or conducting research, so when I got my job at MBI, I felt quite unprepared. As I spoke to various Bridge alums I realized the program would be the best way to bridge the gap (pun intended).

I couldn’t get over how much information we learned in such a short amount of time. People told me Bridge was rigorous, but I didn’t truly understand what they meant till I was there. As someone who came to Bridge with very little business experience, or acumen, it was empowering to grasp the information as quickly and as successfully as I did, and to be able to speak somewhat intelligently with experts about financial accounting, discounted cash flows, valuations, marketing strategies, and managerial economics.

While I had a job before I came to Bridge, I was pretty anxious about how effective I would be as a manager right out of undergrad. I left Bridge with a strong sense of confidence and complete faith that I could handle whatever came my way. Aside from the hard skills and knowledge I took from Bridge, I now have a powerful network of friends, and amazing mentors, who continue to shape my career—Bridge has been transformative for me. I became a Kemp Fellow because of Bridge, got to attend the annual PhD Project conference, and I have been recruited by multiple firms that cite Bridge as one of the attractive parts of my candidacy. 

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Tuck Bridge Stories: Ryan Breen

Tuck Bridge Stories: Ryan Breen

Ryan Breen is a 2015 graduate of the University of Michigan and attended the Bridge program the summer after his senior year. Currently, he is a Management Consulting Analyst at Accenture. This is his story:

As a senior at the University of Michigan, having already accepted a return offer from Accenture, I decided to apply to Business Bridge because of the reviews I had heard from former attendees as well as my general proximity to Dartmouth and Tuck in general (I went to Phillips Exeter Academy right down the road, and always admired Dartmouth as a school).  For me, my choice to attend Business Bridge was not about adding a venerable name to my resume or substantiating my application to companies or business schools.  Though it may sound cliché,  it was much more than that.  

Over the course of my years at Michigan, I really came into my own intellectually.  I developed a deep understanding of economic theory and accounting principles, not just as academic fields of study, but as concepts that have direct applicability to management practices and business in general.  This led to my decision to enter the management consulting industry, as problem solving and "corporate innovation" were both very interesting.  MECE segmentation models, data driven analysis, technology integration - these are all important components of organizational efficiency and operational effectiveness in this day and age, and I believe that my experience at Business Bridge reinforced and firmly ingrained these concepts in my mind, which have helped me excel in my first year as a management consultant.

Business Bridge is very management-focused, just as Tuck is as a school.  The best part of the program is the team-oriented structure. As a group, we would leverage the knowledge and insight gained from the seminars and work collaboratively each day and night, just as I do now as a management consultant.  The whiteboarding sessions, analytical discussions, and cross-team work were all beneficial and provided us each with opportunities to develop our leadership skills, interpersonal interactions, and analytical approach to solving business problems.

However, perhaps the most important aspect of the program, one that I cannot emphasize enough, is the truly comprehensive/all-encompassing approach that is used to learning and professional development.  We all ate meals together, attended seminars together, worked on assignments together, and, when the work was done, socialized together. This both directly taught us the importance of prioritization, time management, and work-life balance as well as indirectly showed us the value of both team-based analysis and the importance of building bonds and personal relationships in a professional setting, something that is absolutely invaluable in management consulting and investment banking, the two industries that attract the bulk of Business Bridge and Tuck graduates.

My decision to attend Business Bridge provided me with fantastic career preparation and a network of smart, savvy, personable people.  It honestly felt like home for me.  Granted, each student enters the program at a different age and with varying levels of business acumen.  But after four short weeks, all leave with an arsenal of both hard and soft professional skills and the memory of an unforgettable experience.

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Stress-Free Networking

Stress-Free Networking

This is the first in a series of career-oriented posts from Deirdre O'Donnell, Director of Career Services for the Bridge Program and Associate Director of the Tuck Career Development Office. Deirdre began her career in 1982 as a corporate finance intern at American Express. She joined Lehman Brothers in 1984 and spent the majority of her career within the Fixed Income division. Over the years she was very involved in Lehman’s campus recruiting effort at colleges and universities and ultimately became Global Head of Diversity Recruiting for the firm in 2004. After leaving Lehman in 2008 she joined the Tuck School of Business as an Associate Director of the Career Development Office, focusing on the financial services industry. 

We have all been told that “networking” effectively can get us a job. But the process can feel so painful- even insincere and phony. See if you can find something you have in common with the person before an informational call (shared acquaintance, interests, schools, as examples) and it will feel more authentic. LinkedIn is one way to identify some commonalities.

Ask yourself what you are trying to gain from a networking conversation. The honest answer is probably a job lead, but approach it with the thought that every call or meeting benefits you in some way. Use informational calls/meetings as an opportunity to find information that you won’t find on-line. Ask thoughtful questions and you will be smarter and even more prepared for the next call that you make. Focus on learning, not asking for a job, and you will be more comfortable.

Most people are flattered to be asked about themselves and most people are willing to give advice - you are just giving them a platform to do that. As long as you are prepared with questions it will not be a waste of their time. You will find that you come away from a conversation knowing more about what their job entails, having a better understanding of their company and industry, and potentially gaining an advocate. In addition, you get to practice having professional conversations. All of these will make you stronger in interviews going forward.

What is in it for them? They feel good that they have helped you – it’s a way of “paying it forward”. Think of it this way…if someone from your college called one of your parents to ask for some career guidance, would they speak with them? Likely they would. You are that person.

And don’t forget to offer something in return at the end of the meeting. Maybe offer to be a contact for anyone they might know who is thinking about applying to your college….

As Nike says – Just Do It.

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Tuck Bridge Stories: Laura Vang

Tuck Bridge Stories: Laura Vang

Laura Vang is a 2015 graduate of Dartmouth College, where she majored in engineering. Laura was a member of the inaugural December Bridge class in 2014. This is her story:

I work at IBM; I'm a part of Watson Health BlueSpark Leadership Development Program. We spend our first year at IBM rotating through different business teams within the Watson Health business unit, gaining skills and exposure to company leaders. Currently I'm a member of the Implementations Solutions team, delivering Watson technologies to our clients in life sciences.

I studied engineering at Dartmouth and regretted that my exposure to strategy and business was limited to the engineering/startup scope of things. I knew I wanted to cultivate an understanding of marketing, finance, and economics before entering the working world and Bridge gave me the tools to do that. 

I surprised myself at Bridge. I had accepted my offer from IBM just a week before my December Bridge session began; all the energy I had devoted to the job search was now free to take advantage of the weeks I had in Hanover with the amazing, awesome, dedicated professors, TAs, and Bridge staff. As part of the guinea-pig December 2014 class, most of my fellow classmates were (mostly) other Dartmouth students taking advantage of winterim to devote free brainpower to ...more learning. Despite all being from the same school, I knew very few of them coming in. We were a smaller group and on a more accelerated time scale. We were also enjoying Hanover in the dark depths of December (which made for an interesting first team building activity!) 

Academically, I was in the midst of my culminating engineering project and was looking forward to eating at Byrne by choice and not because I was too busy to leave Thayer. I didn't expect to have so much fun working so hard at Bridge.

Friends who had gone through the program had only positive things to say, and it's true - something magical happens when 50-odd future business leaders subject themselves to nerd camp. Whether it was debating MarkStrat team names (or strategies) or trying to figure out that night's accounting homework, consistently, everyone was awesome. 

My Bridge class was more insular than summer sessions usually are - there were fewer of us total and we were from a less diverse set of schools than is the norm. However, we have the Bridge community - in fact, in my starting class at IBM are two other Bridge alums from different sessions from different schools. We all chose to come to this program which is almost an extension of Bridge - we're honing a wide range of business skills on real clients (trying to take in all these new ideas and skills is not dissimilar to drinking from a firehose or attending Tuck Bridge.) I feel that Bridge very well prepared me for these experiences - I learned business basics that helped me quickly understand the world around me, I learned fearlessness in expressing my desire for mentorship from the incredibly capable minds around me, and I came to believe in my ability to take on any challenge set in front of me, having proven that even an engineer/business novice can take Bridge by storm.

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