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Making the Most of Your Bridge Experience

Making the Most of Your Bridge Experience

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR BRIDGE EXPERIENCE
Reflections and advice on your career and the Tuck Business Bridge program, from long-time Bridge administrator Paul Doscher D’66.

After more than four decades of service to the Tuck School of Business, Paul Doscher D’66 retired on September 30, 2020. A proud alumnus, Doscher started his professional career at Dartmouth in 1974, holding a number of influential positions at Tuck and serving under six deans through periods of considerable growth and transformation for the school.

Since 2003, Doscher served Tuck as business development manager for the Business Bridge Program. He is revered by all for his ability to remember every Tuck and Bridge student and has guided countless students to apply and attend Tuck’s MBA Program. As Doscher embarks on retirement, he shared the following reflection on his involvement with the Business Bridge program over the years.

What does the Bridge program mean to you?

Bridge has always struck a deep cord with me. Over the course of my career, I can pull out a central theme of wanting to help people. The Business Bridge program gave me a tremendous tapestry to help young people develop. It’s always been especially gratifying to see the Bridge alumni who stay in touch after the program and eventually enroll at Tuck. To me, the ultimate payoff has always been helping Bridge students, not only within the program and with their first job opportunity, but also navigating the intense experience of the MBA.

What is your most treasured aspect of the Bridge program?

Early on, we didn’t use the team company valuation as the capstone project. Instead, we had consulting projects that students would create. There was a lot of variance in terms of the requirements and the quality of work. Eventually, Robert Hansen and I made a decision to create the valuation model we use now with students presenting their team projects in front of a panel of industry executives. Over time we built a strong cadre of executives who would come back every year. Some were local to the Upper Valley who had previously worked on Wall Street or in consulting. We would also invite Bridge parents and family members to join the panels. Even if they were based in San Francisco, we would invite them to participate and it would help strengthen our relationship with the families.

You offered career guidance to thousands of Bridge students over the years. What advice would you share the most with students in the program?

When students are in the program, I try to tell them not to have too few eggs in their basket. A student might arrive thinking they want to go into consulting or finance or marketing, but it’s important to have an open mind and to network effectively. This means not simply calling someone up and saying, “Thank you,” but building relationships that last beyond that one encounter. As many of our alumni will attest, you often find yourself running into some of the same people down the road. Another piece of advice I often give is to take good notes and keep them. Like the MBA program, there is a strong emphasis of teamwork at Bridge. I don’t want students to forget the intense team experience which culminates in their capstone project.

In your opinion, how does the program “bridge” a participant’s future?

From a high level, Tuck has been offering Bridge for 23 years, with 7,000 men and women attending during that time, including more than 1,300 from Dartmouth. The Bridge program has earned a quality reputation that is widespread and permeates countless institutions. We are a catalyst for students’ development as they prepare for a career in business. Last year, I talked to a Bridge graduate who is now enrolled at Tuck. He told me that he was recently in his Finance class and noticed that a lot of the material was new to his classmates, but that he had seen it before. So there is this advantage of engaging in pre-work and gaining pre-knowledge that you take with you when you transition into a job or MBA program.

For prospective students, what tips can you share for making the most of their time at Bridge?

I think it’s important to attend all of the career sessions. Even if you think you know which industry sector you are interested in, you will be surprised by the overlap. There are workshops during the first week of the program that cover different topics like resumes and cover letters. Even though they are optional, take full advantage of those. I would also recommend that students maximize their team relationships. You need to look at the experience as a learning laboratory. Whether you like someone or not, there is total interdependency on teams. Working well within teams is one of the essential skills graduates should be carrying with them when they leave Bridge.

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Designed for top liberal arts and STEM undergraduates and recent grads, the Tuck Business Bridge certificate program delivers a comprehensive business curriculum taught by top-ranked MBA faculty from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, a capstone team project, recruiting services, and one-on-one career guidance. Business Bridge provides students with essential business skills by combining an intensive classroom experience at a world-class business school and the hands-on training of an internship–all designed to help launch a rewarding career.

By Adam Sylvain and Paul Doscher D’66
https://www.tuck.dartmouth.edu/mba/blog/making-the-most-of-your-bridge-experience

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Tuck Bridge Stories: Tamara Gomez-Ortigoza

Tuck Bridge Stories: Tamara Gomez-Ortigoza

WHY TUCK BRIDGE WAS ONE OF THE BEST DECISIONS I HAVE EVER MADE
By Tamara Gomez-Ortigoza Dartmouth’21, Bridge ’18

Thinking about finding your first job after college and setting out on your independent adult life can be intimidating. Or at least it was for me, especially because as an immigrant I did not understand the US job market nor the type of opportunities it might hold. I applied to Tuck Bridge before starting my sophomore year—right around the time when I first started to worry about having to find a job in a few years and about not knowing what I wanted that job to be. I had just started to settle into the idea of majoring in economics, so I thought perhaps something in the business world might be a good fit, but the terms so often being thrown around by older students—“private equity,” “consulting,” “venture capital,” etc—were mostly meaningless jargon to me. At least they all just kind of blended into this image of a corporate job taking place in some high-rise building somewhere. I felt confused and overwhelmed, and yet I knew that I wanted to somehow get ahead and start familiarizing myself with a profession that might be a good fit for me, and this was where Bridge seemed to come in, so I decided to take a chance and joined the Bridge 2018 Winter cohort.

I will not lie and tell you it was simple and wonderful, because it was not. Bridge was challenging and stressful, but also life-changing. The three weeks both crawled and flew by, but at the end of it I could hardly believe just how much I had learned and changed in such a short period of time. All these storm clouds of confusion and doubt somehow cleared so that after Bridge I had a good idea of what I wanted and where I wanted to go after graduation. I finally had a clear understanding of all the different career paths I could pursue and how well they fit with my interests and personality. And in addition, through courses with some incredible Tuck faculty, I had also gained valuable skills in subjects like Excel and accounting. Not to mention that throughout the entire program I was able to interact with remarkable Tuck MBA student mentors who would continue to stay in touch with me and to help me when I finally went through the corporate recruiting process.

Looking back, I could not be happier about deciding to be part of Tuck Bridge. It truly was what helped me find my path in many ways and what provided me with the confidence and support to seek out opportunities that I might once have thought inaccessible. If you are on the fence like I once was, take the leap. It will change everything.

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Designed for top liberal arts and STEM undergraduates and recent grads, the Tuck Business Bridge certificate program delivers a comprehensive business curriculum taught by top-ranked MBA faculty from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, a capstone team project, recruiting services, and one-on-one career guidance. Business Bridge provides students with essential business skills by combining an intensive classroom experience at a world-class business school and the hands-on training of an internship–all designed to help launch a rewarding career.

https://www.tuck.dartmouth.edu/mba/blog/why-tuck-bridge-was-one-of-the-best-decisions-i-have-ever-made?utm_source=insta&utm_medium=post&utm_campaign=bridge

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Tuck Bridge Stories: Alec Marchuk

Tuck Bridge Stories: Alec Marchuk

Alec Marchuk attended Tuck Bridge in 2014 and graduated from Dartmouth in 2015. He currently is an MBA Candidate at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Before starting my MBA, I worked at ClearView Healthcare Partners. In this position my key responsibility was to lead the day-to-day efforts of our healthcare projects to success.  That encompassed managing teams of analysts and consultants, overseeing the client experience, driving the thinking behind our problem solving, and shaping how we ultimately presented our findings/recommendations. 

I wanted to attend Bridge because as senior year approached, I had no idea what opportunities existed post-graduation for me to be able to use my science and economics backgrounds meaningfully.  I felt the resources available through Bridge, and Tuck more broadly, would help me find a path forward and build helpful skills along the way.

I think what surprised me most was how invested the Bridge team becomes in those who attend the program, even once it is over.  It has been years since I graduated Bridge, but I am still connected to the program through my relationships with the wonderful team who makes Bridge happen, which I really value and never would have expected.

Tuck Bridge was critical in shaping my career trajectory, as my one-on-one sessions with the Career Development team were what initially introduced me to healthcare-focused consulting.

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Bridge Builders

Bridge Builders

BUSINESS BRIDGE SCHOLARSHIP FUND ENDOWED FOR FIRST-GENERATION DARTMOUTH STUDENTS 
A new scholarship fund endowed by Walter Freedman D’60, T’61 and Karen Harrison will help first-generation Dartmouth students transitioning to business careers.

Walter Freedman D’60, T’61 and his wife Karen Harrison have always looked for ways to maximize the effect of their philanthropy. The key, Freedman says, is to find the places where need and potential intersect. That’s what drew their attention to Business Bridge, a program of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business designed that helps students and new graduates at liberal arts colleges transition to careers in business.

“What we see in the Bridge program is a highly successful program that’s been in existence for more than 20 years,” says Freedman. “It’s the preeminent program of its type in the country and perhaps the world.”

Freedman and Harrison recognized, however, that many excellent candidates couldn’t afford to take advantage of the program. And while some financial aid was available to Bridge students, the program lacked an endowed scholarship fund. It was there that the couple recognized the chance to make a significant and lasting impact. “We saw an opportunity to make that program available to young Dartmouth students who otherwise would not have a prayer of going there,” he says.

The couple will endow a scholarship fund that gives preference to first-generation, low-income Dartmouth students who demonstrate leadership goals and potential. In planning the gift, they were inspired by Dartmouth’s Interim Dean of the College Kathryn Lively, herself a first-generation college graduate and a leader in Dartmouth’s efforts to attract qualified students who are among the first in their families to attend college. The college has worked diligently to welcome these students and remove barriers to their full participation in the Dartmouth experience. 

Opening opportunities in the Bridge program seemed like a logical next step, Freedman says. “I think it’s aptly named because the program can be a bridge to the business world for first-generation and low-income students. And of course I’m a Dartmouth graduate and a Tuck graduate, so this is kind of a bridge for me too,” Freedman says. “Today we talk about One Dartmouth commitment and One Dartmouth community, with a goal of creating a more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming climate. So for me, it all ties together.”

After Tuck, Freedman worked in a variety of executive positions. (“He’s had many, many careers,” Harrison interjects. “You’d think he couldn't keep a job but that's not the case at all.) Through 60 years in business, Freedman has always found an opening, whether in the vanguard of the computer age with IBM or the introduction of a little-known dairy product to the American market; Freedman was an investor and chief executive of the company that brought Yoplait yogurt to this country.

Now that he and his wife are in a position to give back, they’ve applied that entrepreneurial model to their philanthropy, with a particular emphasis on education. Harrison, who worked for 25 years as an educator, has served on the boards of the Chicago Children’s Museum and Facing History and Ourselves, an organization that provides teachers with the training and resources to confront racism, violence, and anti-Semitism.

The Tuck Bridge scholarship fits the goals and philosophy of their philanthropy, and the couple identifies with students who have the talent for a top-notch education but lack the means. Harrison had to take out loans to get through The Ohio State University, at a time when tuition and room and board amounted to about $1,500 a year. The average college graduate in the United States today owes more than $37,000 in student loans.

“That’s just insane for these kids to be burdened with that kind of debt,” Harrison says. “So we want to give our money to education, and we want to give it to the kids that really benefit the most.”

It’s a good feeling, Freedman says. “We’ve been encouraged by what we’ve heard from people at Dartmouth and at Tuck, because they expect a lot of students who could not do it any other way will be able to benefit from the Bridge program.”


By Jeff Moag
http://campaign.tuck.dartmouth.edu/bridge-builders?utm_source=capcamp&utm_medium=ccweb&utm_campaign=capcamp_ccweb_newsroom&utm_content=bridge

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Tuck Bridge Stories: Jamie McLaughlin

Tuck Bridge Stories: Jamie McLaughlin

Jamie McLaughlin graduated from Dartmouth College in 2012 with an Earth Science major and Ecology minor. She attended Tuck Bridge in 2012. Jamie is VP of Marketing Projects, Planning, and Engagement at Synchrony Financial. This is her Bridge story:


What are your primary responsibilities in your current position?
In my current position I support our Chief Marketing Officer and other Marketing leadership in driving operational vision and alignment across the marketing team. I work across our eight marketing teams to execute our annual planning process, support the resulting strategic initiatives, run leadership meetings and insure consistent communication across the organization. My favorite part of my current position is translating leadership direction and decisions into an interesting and motivational format for the rest of the organization through town halls, newsletters and team meetings.


Why did you choose to attend Bridge?
I chose to attend Bridge because I discovered my interest in business late in my college experience. With degrees in geology and ecology, I was sure I wanted to pursue sustainability and conservation work. After many exploratory interviews, I found myself interested in roles positioned at the nexus of sustainability and business – finding solutions with both environmental and capital returns. I quickly realized I was going to be constrained by my lack of business and economic knowledge. When Paul Doscher shared an overview of Tuck Bridge in a class I was taking, I knew immediately Bridge would give me the foundational learning and resources I needed to build out a new network of opportunities in the business world.


How did Bridge prepare you for your current position/career trajectory? How did the program help “Bridge Your Future?”
I vividly remember sitting in Professor Taylor’s Marketing class debating breakfast sausages. Prof. Taylor asked us each to choose the best from a list of potential taglines for an imaginary breakfast sausage company and prepare to defend our choice. As students argued emphatically for tag lines such as ‘quick and easy breakfast’ or ‘bring your family together’, I realized something about the whole exercise: at the core of it, and all the varied business courses we were taking, was the same need to connect with people. Whether customers, clients or shareholders, we were learning how to understand, motivate and influence people toward an outcome, whether it be buying stock or sausages. Understanding that basic concept has empowered me to take on a career path that has hopped from sales to business development to marketing. Each new position has brought a giant new learning curve, but the core of each position has been the same – connecting and influencing people. The Bridge classroom is where I first learned this foundational concept.   

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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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Introducing our new marketing intern: Natalie Cantave

Introducing our new marketing intern: Natalie Cantave

Hi, everyone! My name is Natalie Cantave, and I’m a senior at Dartmouth College. I am a Psychology major who is also pursuing a Certificate in Global Health through the Dickey Center for International Understanding. I am the new Marketing intern for the Tuck Business Bridge Team filling in for Megan while she is abroad. I will be managing social media content and blog posts.

My goal is to create interesting and engaging material and introduce the Tuck Business Bridge Program as the incredible and great opportunity that it is. I hope to inspire future leaders to pursue this program and get the head start they need to be successful.

I wanted to be the Marketing intern for the Tuck Business Bridge Team because I am personally planning to pursue a career in Marketing post-graduation. I have also have had so far a great experience with Tuck professors since I am currently enrolled in an undergraduate course this spring called “Business Management and Strategy” with Tuck professor Giovanni Gavetti. I have enjoyed this class because of the interesting discussions over business case studies as well as the engaging group projects. This course has challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and to think in ways that I never really explored before. This class has also inspired me to be my best and to think outside the box.

Fun Fact: I have never tried chocolate ice cream. 

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