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.