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Fridays from the Frontline: If You Knew Me – Connecting During COVID

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In this edition of Fridays from the Frontline, see what Dartmouth Tuck MBA student, Lia Parker-Belfer T’22, launched during the COVID pandemic to help connect her classmates better.

If You Knew Me: Connecting During COVID

By Lia Parker-Belfer T’22

The Class of 2022 began our first year under unique circumstances: an immediate two-week quarantine, a virtual Tuck Launch, a term of Zoom classes, and vaccines still months away. During Fall A, leaving the classroom meant waving goodbye at your laptop camera. For those living in the dorms, walking to the laundry room was the most social part of our day. It became clear to T’22s that our first year would be unlike any other. Meeting peers and forging friendships would require an extra level of intentionality and creativity.

After many fruitless “how to develop meaningful relationships during a global pandemic” Google searches, the idea for a podcast came to me. The If You Knew Me (IYKM) podcast aims to deepen understandings, broaden perspectives, illuminate surprising connections, and spark meaningful conversation among Tuck’s diverse student body. Each episode starts with a current Tuckie finishing the statement, “If you knew me, you would know…” and involves them sharing something about themselves that their classmates may otherwise never uncover. For example, in Season 1, we learn that Vish Mehta T’22 identifies as a mad scientist, and Guarav Mittal T’21 learned to play bridge to fund his pre-Tuck business venture.

Creating IYKM has been one of the highlights of my time at Tuck, and as I begin to transition the podcast to Tuckies in the Class of 2023, I have taken a moment to reflect on the three seasons and twenty-seven episodes I hosted and produced. I am inspired by my classmates and proud of what IYKM accomplished. The purpose of the podcast is to deepen student connections and foster a culture of belonging at Tuck, and I now regularly hear from classmates who say the podcast helped them connect with other Tuckies, from prospective students who say the podcast served as a way to get to know Tuck, and from other graduate students who say they hope to start similar podcasts at their respective schools.

Most importantly, it took a village to make IYKM a reality, and I am so thankful for everyone who gave their time, support, and expertise. First and foremost, thank you to the IYKM guests who courageously said yes to being on the podcast and shared their stories. Additionally, I am grateful for Roderick Milligan T’21 and Dean Dia Draper, both of whom supported the vision from day one; Tuck Communications’ Rebecca Waters and Justine Crowling, who helped with podcast mechanics and marketing; and my Tuck Partner, Alex Mitko, who edited each episode from Baltimore, Maryland. Last, but certainly not least, thank you to Hanah Bae T’23, Jasmine Joda T’23, and Theresa McCartney T’23, who are taking over the podcast as I prepare to graduate in June. I can’t wait to see how they grow the podcast and increase its impact within the Tuck community and beyond. I look forward to tuning in from afar!

If You Knew Me is available on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Google Podcasts.

Lauren Wakal
Lauren Wakal has been covering the MBA admissions space for more than a decade, from in-depth business school profiles to weekly breaking news and more.