Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Tuck Tuck Tuck

It's been a while since I've seen a shooting star. As I was speeding along a dark, desolate stretch of I-89N towards Hanover, I saw one. And I made my wish ;-)

As I got to the Tuck campus in the middle of a cold night, I realized I should have wished for GSM service ! My cell phone would not work and I was supposed to call the person I was supposed to stay with. Things worked out though and I found my way to a warm bed.

Tuck is beautiful. Located at a cul-de-sac at the end of a longish drive, it is a mini-campus of a few buildings which are all interconnected with tunnels. The dorms are part of this complex also. Buchanan is the older dorm and is OK but the newer one, the 'crate-and-barrel' dorm, is awesome. Wow. Nice infrastructure, the class rooms are big enough, they have their own separate library and the lunch in the caf is actually good. Tuck is all about community. Everyone seems to know everyone else there. There is a sense of camaraderie there that I have not seen in any other school I've visited (which, of course, isn't saying much). All the students I talked with said they loved the place.

My day started with breakfast and a class visit. I sat in on a statistics class, which for the most part was - statistics. I have no knowledge of stats and it was a pretty advanced class, so it was hard to follow anything to start with since there were formulas and numbers all over the blackboards. But, pretty soon the professor got the class involved by talking to real world applications of the stuff he was teaching as well as opening it up for discussions and it ended up being a pretty interesting class. Here too, like MIT, the students don't go to the same class room and have to carry their nameboards with them. But, unlike MIT, I was able to sit at a desk and not at the back of the class by the wall ! Also, we got to introduce ourselves before class and got a round of applause.

After class, it was time for my interview. Everyone who interviewed wore business attire, and I was interviewed by a second year student. I thought they did a great job selecting the interviewer. He laid out the format of the interview first, and then started out with reasons for my wanting an MBA. We then talked more specifically about one of my reasons. The discussion then veered towards teamwork and we actually spent quite a bit of time on that - how teams work, how conflict is handled in teams, how teams are selected etc. My use of actual world examples even for general questions was complimented upon by my interviewer - I should try to get that into my system for any future interviews. We then talked about why Tuck and what i bring to the table. Ended by my asking him a few questions about Tuck and his experience there. This is supposed to be a 'fit' interview and I thought it went well. This is my first interview after about 3 1/2 years so I wasn't all that smooth and had to stop myself a couple of times to correct my sentences. But, there were no awkward silences at all and the conversation was great. I thought I gave honest and heartfelt answers to the questions and I feel good. Will have to wait and see how it played out to my interviewer.

We (the other applicants and I) then spent some time in a Q&A with an AdComm member and a 2nd year, were taken for lunch where we chatted with some other students and then walked around the place a bit. My biggest take-away is that Tuck is honest about who they say they are. It is a fantastic general management program in a unique location with a great emphasis on teamwork. If you are going to miss your jazz clubs and sashimi bars, you may not be happy here. But if knocking off the 48 4k-ers is your idea of time well spent, I would recommend you drive up I-89 for a dekho. I suspect you will not be disappointed.

Pretty soon it was time to go and as I was about to step out I looked through the windows and lo and behold - it was my first snow of this winter ! A very nice end to a very nice visit, though the drive back in the snow wasn't all that fun.
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