Tuck School Names New Executive Director of Admissions, Financial Aid

After a three month search, Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business has named Luke Anthony Peña as its new Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, the school announced today.  He succeeds Dawna Clarke, who stepped …

new adcom director at Tuck SchoolAfter a three month search, Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business has named Luke Anthony Peña as its new Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, the school announced today.  He succeeds Dawna Clarke, who stepped down in late 2016 after 11 years as director of admissions.

In this role, Peña will lead the school’s admissions and financial aid teams and develop and implement strategies for recruiting, selecting, and enrolling MBA candidates who will thrive in Tuck’s distinctly immersive learning community.

Peña holds a joint MBA/MA Education degree from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BS in Business Administration and BA in Public Relations from the University of Southern California.

Peña previously served as director of MBA admissions at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where he led its marketing and recruitment teams, and managed all external outreach including events, online programming, and social media.

Luke’s expertise in MBA admissions will ensure Tuck is successful in welcoming even more of best and brightest students into our community, says Tuck School Dean Matthew Slaughter.

At Stanford GSB, he introduced and implemented data analytics to enhance recruitment and yield efforts, and created digital resources to improve relationship management with both alumni ambassadors and prospective students.

A 2012 GSB graduate, Peña was previously associate director of MBA admissions, and also worked as assistant director of admissions at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism prior to joining the Stanford admissions team.

“Tuck is unparalleled in its commitment to creating and cultivating a distinctly immersive, intimate, and collaborative environment for leadership development,” says Peña. “As a community builder, you dream of partnering with alumni, students, staff, and faculty who invest in supporting and challenging one another, and in advancing Tuck’s mission to better the world of business. I am enthusiastically looking forward to deepening relationships with current and future members of this community.”

He begins his new appointment July 18.

Posted in School News | Tagged , , , , ,

Texas MBA Receives $6M Gift to Support Real Estate Program

The UT McCombs School of Business announced it has received a $6 million gift from alum John Goff to support experiential learning initiatives and the real estate program at the Austin campus. The gift will be used for …

Texas MBA major donationThe UT McCombs School of Business announced it has received a $6 million gift from alum John Goff to support experiential learning initiatives and the real estate program at the Austin campus.

The gift will be used for three strategic growth initiatives at McCombs, complementing the activities of the school’s Real Estate Finance and Investment Center and its 250-member council.

First, Goff has donated $2 million to the Real Estate Investment Fund and will match any additional donations up to $2.5 million, for a total gift of $4.5 million. Once completed, this will bring the total value of the fund from its current $3 million to $10 million.

“This gift will catapult forward a real estate program that is already among the world’s elite,” says Jay Hartzell, dean of the McCombs School. “We will be second to none in our ability to provide experiential learning for our undergraduate and graduate students, complementing the analytical foundation we’ve always given them.”

The fund is unique among business schools, as McCombs is the only business school in the country where undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to oversee investments in public and private real estate funds.

Additionally, $1 million of Goff’s donation will fund a new chair in real estate, allowing the hire of an accomplished tenure-track faculty researcher or a professional fellow with significant real estate experience.

Goff’s investment in real estate initiatives at the school will also fund the creation of the John Goff Labs in Robert B. Rowling Hall, the new graduate school for business at UT Austin. These will include a real estate lab to support experiential learning projects, practicums and events, as well as any additional “theory-to-practice” rooms for use by graduate business students, faculty members and corporate partners.

“Being a graduate of the McCombs School of Business has been extremely meaningful to my career,” Goff says. “I am thrilled to make this gift to enhance the real estate program at McCombs. Jay’s personal background and passion for real estate were catalysts in my decision, and collectively we intend to make this the No. 1 ranked real estate program in the country.”

In late spring of 2015, a group of real estate finance Texas MBA candidates approached Goff with a feasibility study to expand the Real Estate Investment Fund. Hartzell accompanied the students to Fort Worth to pitch their idea to Goff directly.

“John is a legend,” says Scott Sowanick, one of the five Texas MBA candidates to pitch the idea. “Meeting and talking with him about our idea was an incredible honor.”

Although the original group of students that helped conceive the idea for the fund has graduated, they remain in contact with the school and Goff.

“John Goff embodies Texas real estate and everything that a student of real estate aspires to be,” Sowanick adds. “To have an individual of his stature and pedigree take the real estate fund to the next level couldn’t have been scripted any better.”

Posted in School News | Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Bigger Picture: Don’t Let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good

Every night, without fail, I map out the following day in my calendar. I block off time for exercise, errands, family responsibilities, seeing friends and working on various projects.  If I want something to happen …

Every night, without fail, I map out the following day in my calendar. I block off time for exercise, errands, family responsibilities, seeing friends and working on various projects.  If I want something to happen on a certain day, I fit it into my calendar.

I like doing this, and the nerd in me likes looking at my calendar the night before. Not yet disturbed by heavier than expected street traffic, an emergency call from the elementary school nurse, a canceled meeting or feelings of laziness and inertia, my day still has the potential to be “perfect.” It’s the fantasy; I am organized, focused, productive, patient and full of energy and drive.

The flip side of this is that the bubble of perfection is popped many times throughout each day. I often end up feeling disappointed in myself, wondering how a given day dissolved into chaos, went off track and became so completely unproductive. Outside events easily interfere with my best laid plans. Internal events do as well; I can be derailed by sleepiness, frustration and a general lack of motivation.

Last night I set my alarm for 5AM so that I could have some quiet time to write this post before the day began. As I sit here writing, I am tempted to crawl back into bed. I am exhausted because I could not fall asleep last night after a Sunday night swim party. I am distracted because a delivery that was supposed to have arrived on my doorstep last night is not here. I keep getting up to check the front door, check my email confirmation of the delivery and check the tracking online. (Postscript: as my perfect day progressed, my daughter called from school to say she had forgotten her volleyball gear at home, my 3PM appointment was canceled, a key member of the SBC team let me know she needs to take a leave due to family health issues and there was fraud on my checking account which resulted in hours on the phone with the bank.)

My fantasy of this morning was a super intense, adrenaline fueled, undistracted work session. The reality is that I wrote a mediocre draft in a tired, distracted state. As for the rest of the day…real life quickly obliterated that perfect schedule.

In truth, this is a typical day: not perfect, rarely productive enough and never, ever unfolding as planned. However, when I reflect on my whole life – I realize that despite daily imperfection, I have built something great. My business, my family, my home, my community: it’s a big, happy life that grew by living and doing with consistency, every day for many years. And of course, it continues to evolve.

It’s refreshing to me to realize that pretty-good is good enough. I want to set the bar high, but perfection isn’t necessary. I love the expression, “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Sometimes, crossing that one tedious task off the list is all we can muster, and that’s ok. It’s something. When we put a lot of something’s together, we get somewhere. We can get somewhere very good.

By the way, here’s a peek at what my fantasy calendar looks like the night before, when it’s still “perfect.”

Stacy Blackman Calendar

Posted in Bigger Picture | Tagged , , , , ,

Ramp Up Extracurriculars Before Round 1 Deadlines

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News. If you’ve been holed up in your office for the past three years, you may not have realized that volunteer experience and extracurricular …

extracurriculars and MBA application

This post originally appeared on Stacy’s “Strictly Business” MBA Blog on U.S.News.

If you’ve been holed up in your office for the past three years, you may not have realized that volunteer experience and extracurricular interests are a crucial aspect of your business school application profile.

Now you might be panicking as to what to do to fill out your application. You may even wonder why the admissions team is so keen on learning about your community service efforts or hobbies.

Top-ranked MBA programs aren’t looking for number-crunching robots to fill their seats – they are seeking multidimensional candidates with interests and passions outside of work who have shown a commitment to serving their community in some meaningful way.

An added bonus: The ability to make time for such endeavors shows that you’re someone capable of juggling academics with clubs, conferences, recruiting and more once at b-school. It also provides insight for the admissions team as to how you might one day contribute to the vitality of a class and the school’s alumni network.

If you’re planning to apply to b-school during the 2017-18 admissions season and don’t have many volunteer experiences or extracurricular interests to speak of, now is the time to start becoming involved – and avoid looking like you did it just for the application.

But there’s more to it than merely adding another line to your resume. Here are two ways to strengthen your MBA application with volunteer work and extracurriculars.

Brainstorm interests and activities: Start by brainstorming things that you enjoy doing in your personal life and seek out related organizations. Your extracurricular activities should be things that resonate with you and don’t have to include saving the whole world.

Perhaps you can expand one of your lifelong hobbies within a group setting. Are you a cycling enthusiast? Consider volunteering at an advocacy organization working to improve the cycling environment in your city.

Or do you love food and feel passionate about sustainability or the fight against hunger? Start a community garden or become involved with a food bank. The possibilities are endless, and any meaningful involvement can give you the opportunity to exercise your leadership and management skills in a low-risk, high-responsibility situation.

One client we worked with, Ali, had a strong applicant profile, complete with stellar undergraduate GPA, a high GMAT score and impressive work experience at a prestigious investment bank. Admissions committee members know that most investment bankers have little spare time to devote to community service, but we felt it would further bolster his candidacy if we could show Ali had an interest in helping others.

Ali and his consultant mined his background for relevant activities that would not seem abrupt if he became involved just six months before his MBA application deadlines. Inspired by his sister’s work with nonprofit organizations related to girls’ education in the Middle East, Ali had an idea to have young professionals in New York sponsor a high school-aged girl in a Middle Eastern country and mentor her in terms of possible postgraduation career paths.

Ali enlisted friends and colleagues to recruit mentors, and he launched the first year of the program in the spring before his application deadlines. In his MBA applications, Ali discussed how he had recruited six mentor-mentee pairs for the program and raised a meaningful amount of money to support it.

While low in time commitment for Ali, this activity had high impact and assisted him in his successful applications to Columbia Business School, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Harvard Business School.

Think about activities that you participated in as an undergrad and become re-engaged. It’s ideal to be able to show continuity in your interests and goals. Even impacting your alumni organization in a positive way can be as impressive as engaging in charity work.

If you are a career-changer, your extracurricular activities may be a great introduction to your new target industry or function. Think about how you can demonstrate knowledge of your newly chosen career path through volunteer and community activities.

Focus on quality: If you’re already involved in a volunteer activity, that’s great, but that means that the quality of your contributions is most important.

Seek out leadership opportunities in your existing activities or find an organization that can benefit from your management skills. Taking charge in your extracurricular interests is great material for any leadership, management or teamwork-themed essay.

Business schools pride themselves in training future leaders and look for individuals who are concerned about doing great work and improving the world around them. Having interesting hobbies and community involvement shows that you have a larger view of the world and that you see what’s happening outside of your office and are motivated to become involved and contribute in some way.

These activities can also show self-awareness about your own role as a leader and your ability to leverage your position. You still have several months to create a meaningful impact before the first-round application deadlines, even if your free time is limited. But the time to get started is today.

Posted in Application Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

A Look at One Successful HBS Applicant

Prospective applicants always wants to know how to land a seat at the (usually) top-ranked MBA program in the land, Harvard Business School. If that sounds like you, then check out the recent piece in …

successful HBS applicantProspective applicants always wants to know how to land a seat at the (usually) top-ranked MBA program in the land, Harvard Business School. If that sounds like you, then check out the recent piece in BusinessInsider profiling first-year MBA student Ayse Baybars and her journey to HBS.

Baybars graduated from Harvard University in 2012 with a major in human evolutionary biology and minor in English. Her work experience prior to applying to business school included a stint at a small nonprofit focused on STEM, and a role at the lingerie startup Peach.

“I am one of the only students with a science background who also has significant startup experience, so I think that brings a very different view to our case discussions when we talk about making decisions using very little data,” she said of her contributions to the class.

Her best advice to MBA hopefuls is, “Be true to who you are. Don’t try to craft the story before you’ve lived it. The story and the narrative will come as long as you pick steps with authenticity that speak to what you want to do.”

Click on over to the original article for more details on how Baybars’s non-traditional background, coupled with an adroit packaging of her story for the admissions team,  helped her gain admission to this elite business school.

Image credit: Michael A. Herzog (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Posted in Application Tips | Tagged , , , ,