Real Humans of the Dartmouth Tuck MBA Class of 2024
Felix Maloba Odanga, Dartmouth Tuck MBA Class of 2024
Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Nairobi, Land Economics.
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Real Estate (4 yrs.) and Asset Management (7 yrs.)
Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I was at a stage in my career where I was confident about my aspirations and that was not going to change. The MBA route was the best because I knew it would enable me to broaden and enhance the skillset I needed to achieve my aspirations while building a collaborative international network of equally ambitious and highly motivated peers.
Why did you choose Dartmouth Tuck? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
Taking two years away from the workforce is a huge sacrifice both from a time and financial perspective. So, when I made the decision to pursue an MBA, it had to be at a place where the payoff was commensurate, and for me, Tuck was that place. I knew that the high resources-to-student ratio would ensure I get as much from the experience as I give to it. And with the small class size, I knew it would be easy to form meaningful long-lasting relationships. These considerations made the decision easy for me.
What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024?
My professional experience in an emerging market enables me to bring a unique lens to all interactions during my time at Tuck.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
I was a fire marshal at my workplace, a skill that came in handy when we had a deadly terror attack at our office complex in 2019.
Post-MBA career interests:
Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
Reaching out. Reaching out to people in spaces I want to occupy to assess whether the MBA is the right next step and reaching out to the schools’ networks—from current students to alumni—to get a sense of fit and advice on navigating the application process. Participating in online forums with other prospective MBAs also made the process easier. Additionally, being candid with self-introspection on where you are in life, the choices and decisions you have made to reach that point, and your aspirations moving forward will enable you to position your candidacy in the most unique and authentic way.
–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I feel I gave my recommenders relatively short notice to do my recommendations because of the urge to have all my ducks in a row before approaching them. I know they did their best to objectively reflect my candidacy but If I were to do I again I would plan well ahead of time and engage them sooner.
–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
In the corner of my mind, before and during the application process, I had this lingering concern on the huge financial commitment of the MBA. However, in time and upon talking to people who have been through it, I realized I was just focusing on one side of this balance sheet while ignoring the lifelong upside that would come with this opportunity.
What is your initial impression of the Dartmouth Tuck students/culture/community?
Tuck does not pay lip service to the tight knit community concept. People are friendly and willing to assist where they can. This culture permeates through the faculty. Professors are willing to connect with students outside the classroom through lunch and coffee chats to discuss issues not necessarily related to studies.
What is one thing you have learned about Dartmouth Tuck that has surprised you?
The level of alumni commitment and attachment to the school is phenomenal. I happened to volunteer during a recent alumni event and was surprised by the level of interest exhibited by the alumni. They want to find out how students are faring, know the future plans of the school, and how they can contribute to these plans to make the institution a success.
What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
After staying away from formal school for a while, I was anxious about the whole classroom and school experience, especially coming from a place where the teaching modality is different. I often pondered how I would bring my individuality to the classroom.
What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am excited about the Finance Club and its initiatives in the midst of a diverse, interesting and accomplished student body where almost all interactions are intellectually stimulating.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
Yes, it did. I gained extra time to work on my application thanks to no longer having to commute to work. It also reinforced my desire to gain global perspectives after seeing how interconnected we are as a planet.