Real Humans of Dartmouth Tuck’s MBA Class of 2021
Michelle Allum, Tuck’s MBA Class of 2021
Hometown: Santa Cruz, Trinidad and Tobago
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of the West Indies, BSc. Petroleum Geoscience
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 10 years, Oil & Gas Industry
Why business school? Why now?
After spending a number of years in a heavily technical role within the oil and gas industry, I developed a deep desire to expand my expertise beyond my somewhat niche functionality. While I was promoted to Technical Business Manager of Geoscience Operations within my firm based on my industry knowledge and experience, I recognized that in order to function most effectively and be impactful at the managerial and c-suite levels, it would be strategic to broaden my expertise with hard business skills. This was the major catalyst that drove me to pursue my MBA at a top U.S. business school.
Why Tuck? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I was first introduced to Tuck by one of my mentors from Trinidad that had attended Tuck in 2006. He truly embodied Tuck’s spirit of empathy and kindness. I did not have to wonder if all the amazing characteristics highlighted on Tuck’s website were true; I had a personal example of this.
Tuck’s intimate, collaborative culture and dedicated, world-class faculty were also foremost in my decision to apply to and attend Tuck, as this ecosystem would provide the focused atmosphere, support and confidence essential for my career transition.
Tuck’s OnSite Global Consulting offerings, Community Consulting club, long-standing relationships with international consulting firms, and distinctively strong alumni network also proved extremely valuable to my post-MBA consulting goals.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2021?
Having worked in a number of developing countries, both in the Caribbean and Africa, I am able to share experiences and insights with my classmates and faculty that add both color and complexities to the topics being discussed. I enjoy sharing these diverse experiences to enrich the learning environment at Tuck, as it always leads to stimulating discussion and mutual broadening of perspectives.
Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
There’s no safer way to sleep than under the protection of Maasi warriors with poisoned arrows. During my first trip to Africa, I had the opportunity to do just this, while spending a few weeks in rural Kenya engaging in community outreach.
Post-MBA career interests?
Consulting, technology, and energy.
Advice to current prospective applicants:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Visiting the Tuck campus for the student-initiated interview was one of the most important decisions I made during my application process because my choice of school would ultimately determine where I would call home—this being my first time living outside of the Caribbean.
This trip allowed me to connect with current students and the supportive MBAPO staff to experience Tuck’s community firsthand. The cold January weather was definitely dwarfed by the warmth I felt from the people here.
–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would have reached out earlier to more Tuck alumni to learn about different career paths related to my areas of interest and used this information to complement my own self-reflection. This would have provided me with a very broad view of the relevant employment options available to me in the U.S. post-MBA. It pays to think ahead.
–Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Nothing. Each part of the application allowed me to learn more about myself and master new skills.
What is your initial impression of Tuck’s students/culture/community?
“Nice” is a pervasive reality in the Tuck community. A few additional words come to mind when I think about Tuckies: effervescent, humble, brilliant and kind. Tuckies truly value spending time together, whether during an evening of karaoke at Murphy’s, or discussing data analytics homework in the dorm kitchens. Each student brings a unique thread to Tuck’s fabric and is embraced for their individuality.
One thing you have learned about Tuck that has surprised you?
The lengths to which Tuck is willing to go to support its students is unparalleled. The staff and faculty are committed to ensuring that you have everything you need to succeed and to pursue your goals, even if those goals are unconventional.
Thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I am currently working on mastering the art of prioritization while balancing business school curriculum, recruiting events, case preparation, and social and networking activities, long-distance relationships and personal care. I am also learning to leverage support from this resource-rich community if and when I need it.
Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am most excited about my FYPGO project as it will be an opportunity to work with Tuck’s amazing faculty while practically applying the vast knowledge we’ve gained in the classroom to help solve challenges being faced by real international businesses.