The Leading Independent
Resource for Top-tier MBA
Home » Blog » News » Real Humans of the Tuck MBA Class of 2019 » Page 5

Real Humans of the Tuck MBA Class of 2019

Image for Real Humans of the Tuck MBA Class of 2019

Sam Bristol, Tuck MBA Class of 2019

Tuck MBA Class of 2019
Sam Bristol, Tuck MBA Class of 2019

Age: 29

Hometown: New York City, NY

Undergraduate Institution and Major: Hamilton College, Theatre Major, History Minor

Pre-MBA Work Experience: 1 year technology, 4 years advertising

Why business school? Why now? I’m pursuing my MBA to expand on my professional background and develop broader skills as a general manager. I loved working in advertising prior to Tuck, but in the agency world you focus very closely on one facet of your clients’ business. I’ve reached a point in my career where I want to broaden my knowledge of what drives a business to succeed and how I can have this impact.

Why Tuck? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? I was strongly interested in Tuck from the outset of my application process. If you’re considering Tuck, you’ll hear a lot about the tight-knit and supportive community.  It may sound buzzword-y, but this really is woven into the fabric of Tuck’s culture. I have always thrived in smaller, supportive, collaborative environments, so Tuck is a natural fit.

Academically, I wanted a program that would deliver a strong foundation in quantitative analysis and strategy. Tuck’s core curriculum does this through a balance of case discussion and traditional lecture. Other schools might offer greater flexibility, but Tuck’s core ensures all students have the necessary skills to tackle complex questions and challenges in more advanced classes. I was also drawn by the focus on collaboration—you rely on your study group or section for practically every assignment. Yes, “collaborative” is a word you’ll hear uttered about most MBA programs, but I believe it rings particularly true at Tuck. Perhaps the kind of people who want to come to Hanover, NH and share the Tuck experience are just naturally predisposed to collaborate and work well with others.

Location was also a huge factor for me. I love the outdoors. When it comes to that, Tuck cannot be beat.

To share an anecdote: I interviewed on campus in mid-October last year. It was that perfect time in fall when the trees in the Northeast turn brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange, but you still don’t need a jacket. After my interview, I was killing time before my bus and working outside one of the dorms. I can still vividly remember sitting in an Adirondack chair on Raether Deck overlooking this jaw-dropping view– the trees look like they’re on fire, people are canoeing on the Connecticut River in the background, and I’m sitting next to a study group discussing the First-Year Project they want to do in Germany. It was one of those “whoa” moments when I finally grasped what it means that this world class business school is somehow tucked away in this amazing, natural setting.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2019? As a non-traditional candidate, I hope I bring a unique perspective to our class both academically and socially. I was making sneaker commercials 12 months ago, which is quite different from most of my classmates. Whether during case discussions, on study group projects, or while kicking back with a beer at Murphy’s, I like to think my creative background enables me to add a differing point of view to the conversation. Truthfully, our class has such wealth of talents and interesting backgrounds, that it can be a bit humbling.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application? I have a personal rule that I’ll try any type of cuisine or food at least once. I’ve had rattlesnake, gator tail, python, even a rocky mountain oyster. I spent a few months backpacking in Southeast Asia before Tuck and balut tested my resolve a bit, but I got through it.

Post-MBA career interests? Strategy consulting with the long- term goal of starting my own entrepreneurial venture.

Advice to current prospective applicants:

 –One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process? Make sure you come to Tuck to interview. Hanover, NH might not be a direct flight away, but it’s important that you can experience Tuck for yourself and decide if it’s right for you.

 –One thing you would change or do differently? Limit the number of people you take input from on your essays and applications. I’m a big consensus builder, and I asked a lot of people for their thoughts on content, style, etc. At a certain point their well-intentioned advice becomes noise, and your essay gets watered down. Ultimately, you need to make the gut call and write something that’s truly an expression of yourself.

 –Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it? The waiting period between when you hit submit and you receive the decision.  The whole application process is anxiety-provoking, but there’s nothing worse than working to an intense deadline and then having to wait. Try to find an outlet—for me it was playing squash—and use that outlet to get your mind off things.

Greatest highlight so far at Tuck? Scoring my first goals in Tripod hockey. I’ve never skated before, so it’s cool to find myself learning a new sport at 29. Tripod hockey is a great example of how people at Tuck are all fully invested in things on campus. Something like 2/3 of the 2019 Class are playing hockey right now, most for the first time.  Tuck attracts the kind of people who love to try new things and want to experience it with the rest of the community. We’re about halfway through the season so I’m hoping to add to my tally.

One thing about Tuck that you didn’t expect before arriving? There’s an innate ambiguity to things when you start at Tuck. You find yourself facing lots of questions without definite answers. Should I recruit for consulting or general management? If I sign up to play hockey will I do worse in XYZ class because I have less time to study? Which courses and professors will be most instructive for my post MBA career? There are no right or wrong answers, and unlike undergrad it’s really on you and your classmates to make these calls and chart your own course.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year? At the moment, probably recruiting. There’s plenty to be anxious about, but right now that’s top of mind.

Thing you are most excited about in your first year? Electives. Winter Carnival. Tripod hockey playoffs. Building a team for my First-Year Project in the spring. Going to Israel, South Africa, or India for a Global Insight Expedition over spring break. I could go on, but I’ll stop there.