This interview is the latest in an Accepted.com blog series featuring interviews with MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at top MBA programs. And now for a chat with Becca Grad, a student at Tuck.
Accepted: We’d like to get to know you! Where are you from? Where and what did you study as an undergrad? Where are you currently in business school? What year?
Becca: I’m originally from Westford, MA, a suburb of Boston. I moved to DC in 2007 to attend the George Washington University where I studied international business. After falling in love with the city while at GW, I accepted a management consulting job in DC, where I worked for 4 years prior to Tuck.
Now I’m at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth (class of 2017) and am thrilled to be back in New England!
Accepted: Can you share three fun facts about yourself?
1. I am a dual citizen, thanks to my mom who is from the English countryside.
2. At a diner in DC, I once got the chance to tell my favorite actor, Ben Affleck, about my love for his first film, Good Will Hunting.
3. In August I survived Outward Bound, a 5-day sailing pre-term program at Tuck, off the coast of Maine with 40+ of my new Tuck classmates.
Accepted: Which business schools did you apply to? Why did you choose Tuck?
Becca: Searching for a small, community-oriented school in a non-urban location, I applied to Darden (UVA), Fuqua (Duke), Yale SOM, and Tuck (Dartmouth). While I loved my visits and interactions at each school, I felt at home at Tuck immediately. A combination of the student body’s warmth and inclusion, the beautiful Upper Valley location, and emphasis on the 24/7 living and learning community made everything feel right. I had a feeling that I would be extremely challenged by my peers and professors in this setting, which has definitely been true.
Accepted: Can you tell us about Forte’s MBALaunch program? Why did you decide to join the program and what did you gain from the experience?
Becca: Forte’s MBALaunch program is a 10-month program pairing MBA-seeking women with a support network and providing a structured roadmap for successfully applying to business school.
In my opinion, it reduces the barriers women face when making such a life-changing decision as earning an MBA, and capitalizes on the power of peer and mentor connections. I applied to the program to help myself stay on track with the many phases of applying to business school and to get connected with other women with similar aspirations.
The two most tangible things I gained from MBALaunch were 1) the confidence to face each b-school application head-on, knowing that I had done everything I could to be successful, from locking down recommendations, to writing a well-structured essay, to nailing the campus visit; and 2) my peer group of four other women in my former city and our peer group advisor. This group was essential to my application process; we relentlessly edited each other’s essays, sent words of encouragement at every step, and kept each other on track. We still email every week, now that we’re enrolled at different schools! (Feel free to check out my blog post that I wrote while applying to schools, “The Value of the MBALaunch Network,” on Forte’s site for more info!)
Accepted: We have some MBALaunch applicants and participants reading this interview — can you share a few tips about how to make the most of the MBALaunch experience? Do you have any other tips for women applying to business school?
1. In addition to participating in the awesome virtual events like webinars, make sure you take advantage of the in-person opportunities if they’re realistic for you location-wise! The two most powerful events during my experience were the Launch event early on, and my monthly peer group meetings.
2. Use your Peer Group Advisors! These advisors are women who attended top-rated business schools and are now in awesome jobs, and they want to help each one of you. Get one-on-one time over the phone or via Skype, and be honest about your fears and questions. They have been in your shoes!
3. In general, I recommend getting the GMAT out of the way as early as possible. This frees you up to focus on your essays, campus visits, and the more fun parts of the process. Don’t get in the downward spiral of taking the test over and over again to earn a few extra points – it is only one of many pieces of the application.
Accepted: Are you involved in any extracurricular activities at Tuck? How central to student life is club activity?
Becca: One unique extracurricular is that I am interning with the management team of a Tuckie-founded food truck called theBOX, which began as a First Year Project and is Hanover’s first food truck. As a food-lover and aspiring brand manager, this has already been so applicable and exciting.
I’m also an active participate in the Marketing club, which has been fantastic in preparing me for my career switch.
One of the special things about Tuck is the opportunity to get involved in extracurricular activities with classmates that reach beyond the classroom and career interests – from cultural clubs to sports and service clubs.
For me, one of the highlights has been playing ice hockey (called “Tripod Hockey” here), an activity you can participate in no matter your skill level. I wasn’t sure I’d participate, but I took the plunge and now I play about twice a week with my team. It has been an absolute blast, and a great way to get to know second-year students.
Accepted: What was your pre-MBA job? Do you plan on staying in that industry post-MBA or moving to something else? What’s your dream job?
Becca: Prior to Tuck I was in management consulting at Deloitte, working with Federal Government clients. I came to business school to use the broad exposure I got in consulting to explore brand management at a consumer packaged goods (CPG) company, ideally in the food and beverage space. My dream job would be managing a food brand that I love, using a mixture of creativity and structured thinking to solve tough problems, while working with inspiring people.
Thank you Becca for sharing your story with us – we wish you loads of luck!
For one-on-one guidance on your b-school application, please see our MBA Application Packages.