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Real Humans of the Dartmouth Tuck MBA Class of 2024

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Katherine Kirby, Dartmouth Tuck MBA Class of 2024

Age: 27
Hometown: Tallahassee, FL
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Vanderbilt University, Economics and Psychology
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 5 years, investment consulting and investment management

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
I spent the past five years in investing, seeing companies from the highest-level view. My work spanned industries and geographies, with a goal of finding the people who were most capable of finding the best founders to build companies. While this was an incredible learning experience, I realized I wanted to learn what it is like to build a company at the ground level. I decided to pursue an MBA with the intention of utilizing the resources to learn how to work on an early-stage company while having the safety net to take risks and develop a skill set that would allow me to add value to an early-stage company post-school. I specifically targeted schools that had entrepreneurial resources and would provide a strong community to learn from and lean on for support. 

Why did you choose Dartmouth Tuck? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I chose Tuck for the community. You will hear this echoed by all Tuckies—the people are what make this school great. Everyone I talked to throughout the application process was incredibly open, friendly, and willing to go the extra mile to help me. I knew I needed a collaborative and supportive culture to become the best version of myself in school, and Tuck has more than provided that. I loved the smaller class size and tight-knit alumni community as well. Tuck’s location was also a positive factor. After five years living in cities and knowing I would return to one post-MBA, I was ready for two years in the woods. I love the outdoors and was excited to be surrounded by nature! 

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024? 
As a woman from the south who has also lived on the west coast, I bring a unique cultural perspective. While efforts to get my northern friends to listen to country music have stalled, I do think my experiences have allowed me to be open to and understanding of others’ life experiences and backgrounds.  

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application: Whataburger taquitos are one of my top five favorite foods. I have one every time I go back to Florida.

Post-MBA career interests:
Early-stage consumer startup

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process?
I spent a lot of time thinking through what I wanted to get out of an MBA program, which helped me narrow down my list considerably. There is a lot of noise in the application process, and it can be easy to get caught up in what you think you should do or what others are telling you to do. At the end of the day, your experience and goals are what matter most, so choose a school that aligns with what you value.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I wish I would have attended one of the conferences offered in the fall, such as the Women in Business Conference. My friends who participated in these had wonderful experiences!

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Writing personal essays was by far the most difficult part for me. I would have loved to jump straight to an interview to talk through my story out loud. I had friends and family who graciously helped me think through and edit my ideas.

What is your initial impression of the Dartmouth Tuck students/culture/community?
Tuck students are compassionate, intelligent, and fun. While I was expecting to like my peers, I have been continually impressed with just how open and engaging they are. 

What is one thing you have learned about Dartmouth Tuck that has surprised you?
Tripod hockey is as fun as they say it is!

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
I am recruiting for startups, which is notably less structured than the more traditional recruiting cycles for consulting, banking, and tech. Facing the prospect of an atypical process is nerve-wracking, but I have been able to find incredible support with other classmates who are also seeking roles at early-stage companies.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I am working on starting my own company, so I am excited to take Entrepreneurial Thinking this winter. The class provides a framework for developing a company idea and is exactly the kind of hands-on experience that I am looking to get out of my MBA. 

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.