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Real Humans of the Dartmouth Tuck MBA Class of 2024

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Ben Marshall, Dartmouth Tuck MBA Class of 2024

Age: 31
Hometown: Bournemouth, UK
Undergraduate Institution and Major: University of Oxford, Biological Sciences
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 8 years, mainly in Consulting

Why did you make the decision to attend business school? Why now?
The main reason was the people. Some of the most interesting, impressive people I know had gone to grad school, and I wanted to be around (and learn from) folks like them. I also wanted to formalize my business education, explore other career options, and live in another country. Being a little older when I applied made personal sense and gave me enough professional experience to feel like I could make the most out of an MBA.

Why did you choose Dartmouth Tuck? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
I was looking for a school that offered an intense experience—where living and learning would be fully immersive (rather than an MBA that felt like a job). The location, class size, and culture of Tuck promised that. Doing campus visits, I also realized that while I could build a valuable network at other schools, Tuck was the place I could see myself making friends for life.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2024? 
I have learned a little about a lot. Working in private sector consulting, tech startups, government, and impact investing has helped me develop a wide-angle lens. While there are still functional areas and skills I want to deepen, I enjoy being able to find the connections between systems.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself that didn’t get included on your application:
As a kid, I wanted to be (in the order I discovered them) a garbage man, a firefighter, a hairdresser, a geology teacher, a marine biologist, a pharmacist, an architect, and a travel writer.

Post-MBA career interests: Working on social impact in an organization at the intersection of public and private sectors (either as an advisor, investor, or policymaker).

Advice for Current Prospective Applicants:
–What is one thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process? 
Use an admissions consultant. They’re not common in the UK and I was skeptical, but it was invaluable— especially in helping me find “my story” for the essays.

–What is one thing you would change or do differently?
I would have started earlier. I’m a slow writer and everything took longer than I expected; I ended up sacrificing some Round 1 submissions because I hadn’t done all the research or coffee chats that I wanted to.

–What is one part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
Honestly, nothing. I’m a bit of a nerd, and actually enjoyed the GRE. The rest of the process was hard but worth going through.

What is your initial impression of the Dartmouth Tuck students/culture/community?
Humble, supportive, friendly, but still just as driven and intelligent as you’d expect from an Ivy League business school.

What is one thing you have learned about Dartmouth Tuck that has surprised you?
How tiring it can be. It’s not that every hour is accounted for like in some jobs. More that there’s an awful lot of critical thinking, context switching, networking, and generally being “on.” Napping has become crucial!

What is one thing you are most anxious about in your first year?
Balancing all the competing priorities: not just figuring out what weight to put on academics vs. extra-curriculars vs. recruiting, but also how to balance getting to know more of my class and developing deep and meaningful relationships. The blessing (and curse) is that there’s no right answer: however you prioritize, there’ll always be more that you wish you could do.

What is one thing you are most excited about in your first year?
There are lots of new things I’m excited for (getting better at ice hockey, learning completely new things, traveling with friends…). If I had to pick one, it would be going to my first American Thanksgiving.

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your personal application or admissions process in any way? If so, how?
It actually made it easier. As an international student, I would have had to take multiple transatlantic flights to interview in person, and the time and cost would have been a real challenge. Remote interviews made the admissions process much more accessible.

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.