Tuck Welcomes First-Year Students with Innovative Tuck Launch Program

Tuck Launch is a new, expanded orientation program for incoming first-year MBA students that incorporates experiential learning and reflection.

When Tuck’s Curriculum Review Committee sat down last November to reimagine new student orientation, there were many questions to consider.

How can Tuck ensure its students begin their MBA experience with a strong foundation and the confidence to jump head first into their rigorous studies, while also spurring personal growth and transformation? The answer that the committee—composed of faculty, staff, and students—came up with, was Tuck Launch.

Last week, incoming T’21s became the first to experience Tuck Launch, a new two-week program based on three design principles—integrated programming, experiential learning, and reflection—intended to prepare them for the intensity and academic rigor of their first year at Tuck.

Following the August 12 welcome session from Dean Matthew J. Slaughter and Senior Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning Joe Hall, students participated in a number of immersive and integrated sessions led by Tuck staff, faculty, and alumni on topics ranging from how to create high-performing study groups, to telling one’s personal story with Tuck Career Services. This week, first years will also hear a special keynote address from Russell Wolff D’89, T’94, executive vice president and general manager for ESPN.

Sydney Finkelstein, the Steven Roth Professor of Management, led a session on strategic leadership and also walked students through a few lively case studies. Finkelstein was one of many faculty members who voted to approve an enhanced orientation program for first years. An important aspect of Tuck Launch that Finkelstein gravitates towards, and is encouraging first years to take advantage of, is reflection.

The more students practice reflection, the more natural it will feel to them, and the more it will help them during their time at Tuck.

“It’s critical to learning, yet many of us don’t create time for it,” says Finkelstein. A reflection of the day prompt was emailed to students at the end of every day, giving them the chance to step back and carve out space for a quiet moment. “The more students practice reflection, the more natural it will feel to them, and the more it will help them during their time at Tuck,” he says.  

To incorporate experiential learning, improv actors were brought in to roleplay with students and teach them about issues of diversity and inclusion. And instead of formal lectures, professors engaged students with case studies to get them thinking about what they would do in certain situations.

“The energy level among students has been spectacular,” says Finkelstein.

Second-year students returning to Tuck next month will also encounter an updated re-entry into life in Hanover. The class of 2020 will experience Tuck Recharge, an event designed to reinvigorate their return to campus and ready them for all that the second year at Tuck has to offer. The choice of name was purposeful: To take full advantage of the rich content and connections available throughout their second-year experience, students need to be recharged and ready to contribute to the Tuck learning community.