The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (CGSM) is an organization that I admittedly stumbled across through a wayward Google search of MBA scholarship opportunities. My quixotic search terms and errant click-happy ways were a preferred method of claiming that I was making progress on my MBA candidacy while sparing myself the huffing-and-puffing of drilling math problems that all seemed out to get me.
Scrolling down the Consortium’s page was an exercise in increasingly cautious excitement. They claimed to offer a lower-cost common application—one that leveraged common letters of recommendation—a robust job fair with numerous employers that I admired, and the potential for a full-tuition fellowship. Everything I had ever heard about things that are too good to be true was practically being shouted into my mind’s ear by the time I got to the bottom of the screen. Some additional research (more targeted this time) validated that the Consortium’s claims were no exaggeration—there was no catch. Feeling beyond content with the good fortune of this discovery, it never occurred to me that there could still be more in store.
As I got to know schools better, the Tuck CGSM community quickly stood out in so many ways. Cold email outreaches were promptly responded to with videoconference invitations, and off-hand comments immediately triggered a realization of which other Tuckies I should meet. Even my wife got caught up in this web when a T’21 CGSM contact immediately got us in touch with the one T’22 whose wife was also a lawyer, even though this was just a few weeks after the T’22s had come to campus. This conversation helped my wife get a sense of the local legal job market and we as a family became fully comfortable with moving forward with the application to Tuck.
A lot of this can be ascribed to the non-mythical Tuck Nice, but it was still evident that there was a veritable Consortium community within the broader, already tight-knit Tuck community. These were folks who made the most of the fact that they were tightly connected to ~10% of their class more than 2 months before Tuck Launch. And thinking particularly about the T’20s, T’21s, and T’22s that I was looking up to as an applicant to Tuck, it was evident how they made space together, processed together, and acted together with a particular added strength in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.
Going beyond the notion of ‘community within a community,’ it also became clear to see how core Tuck CGSM was to the broader Tuck community. Student government leaders, school spirit champions, and class curve-setters all came from CGSM; you knew without a doubt that they would embody the Consortium’s mission and diversify the ranks of American senior leadership.
Fast forward nearly two years. The T’20s and T’21s from CGSM who had shepherded me from “Tuck might be an interesting option to throw into the mix” to “Tuck better not break my heart” had graduated, and the T’22s who had taken us under their wings through the initially touch-and-go world of a pandemic MBA had started to use terms like “in a few weeks” to describe the timelines for packing up their apartments. Building on our game/trivia nights, Wednesday evenings at Dunk’s, and all of the random coffee chats in between, we knew that our CGSM T’22s had to go out big.
In true Tuck fashion, we chose to love the outdoors and booked a private sunset cruise on the Upper Valley’s nearby Lake Sunapee—just minutes from Mount Sunapee, where we’d held our winter ski weekend only a handful of months prior. And in truer Tuck fashion, the co-creation ethos of the school very much applied here: bring forward an idea and a willingness to execute it, and Tuck will support you in making that happen. Assistant Dean for DEI Dia Draper and Lauren Morse from the MBA Program Office immediately got behind this community-affirming activity.
And perhaps in the truest embodiment of Tuck/Tuck CGSM fashion, Dia met our last-minute amendment for a pre-cruise pizza party with a teasing eye roll, a smile, and wishes of “feed the people; have fun.”
Andrew Key T’23 is from the Washington DC metro area (Maryland side!) and is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He worked in social impact and consulting separately before Tuck, and thanks to his Tuck experience, secured an internship as a social impact consultant. Andrew serves in leadership roles for multiple DEI-focused initiatives at Tuck including the Diversity Conference, Low Income/First Generation at Tuck (LIFT), and Consortium.