Colby Students Receive the Gift of a Top-Flight Business Education

Anonymous donors make it possible for students to attend the prestigious Tuck Business Bridge Program at Dartmouth

Student in class
As part of the Tuck Business Bridge Program, Colby students are taking a graduate-level Jan Plan course through the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. The program is administered through DavisConnects and the Halloran Lab for Entrepreneurship thanks to anonymous donors.
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By Bob KeyesPhotography by Ashley Conti
January 9, 2024

Thanks to a generous gift from anonymous donors, 30 Colby students will attend the Tuck Business Bridge Program at the prestigious Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth for a three-week Jan Plan intensive.

Designed for sophomore, junior, and senior liberal arts students and recent graduates, the program prepares future leaders to make a difference in the world of business and beyond by providing essential skills that combine classroom experiences with the hands-on training of an internship.

The Tuck Business Bridge is open to students across the country, and many former Colby students have attended the program during its 27-year history. But the partnership between the College and Tuck means Colby students will earn academic credit in addition to a Tuck-issued certificate. The gift will fund the Colby-Tuck Jan Plan partnership for five years.

Matt Proto, vice president and chief institutional advancement officer, said the partnership provides graduate-level opportunities for Colby students from a range of academic disciplines to engage with a comprehensive business curriculum taught by top-ranked MBA faculty.

“We are grateful to our donors who have made this unique program available to so many of our students,” he said. “Their generosity has created new opportunities and new pathways for current and future Colby students to experience the distinctive and transformative aspects of the Tuck Business Bridge Program. For many of our first-generation and low-income students, this would not have been possible without our donors’ substantial commitment.”

Students listen to a presentation about finance during the Tuck Business Bridge Jan Plan course. The program provides essential skills that combine classroom experiences with the hands-on training of an internship.

Damon Yarnell, dean of student and global advancement, described the Tuck Business Bridge as “a game-changer for those who participate” and akin to an MBA-level course delivered in a compressed time frame.

“It involves practical modules on things like business communications, financial accounting, managerial economics, and marketing, and it culminates with a real-world capstone collaborative project,” he said. “The course is a mix of valuable, pragmatic business-oriented skills and a project-based curriculum. In addition, Tuck gives Colby students, who already have access to one of the best alumni networks in the world, expanded opportunities to connect with Tuck Bridge alumni, along with some career guidance.”

Colby students have pursued the Tuck Business Bridge opportunity on their own and at their own expense in the past, often while sacrificing the possibility of doing a Jan Plan or pursuing other opportunities, including summer internships. “Thanks to the donors and the work of staff and faculty at Colby and at Tuck, Colby students now will not have to make that sacrifice. Just as important, if their financial circumstances would not have allowed them to participate in the program in the past, now they can,” Yarnell said.

Participants gain essential business skills, learn to leverage their education, and explore new career opportunities. The program includes a capstone team project, recruiting services, and one-on-one career guidance.

Lisa F. Tedeschi, executive director of undergraduate programs at the Tuck School of Business, said the partnership formalizes a longstanding relationship between the two institutions. Colby is always among the most-represented colleges or universities with students enrolled in the program, she said.

“We’re very excited about this new partnership with Colby,” she said. “It’s a very nice fit because Bridge is designed for liberal arts students, STEM students, and not business majors. Over the years, a wide range of students have found a lot of value and opportunity with our program.”

Instructor Thom Kennon consults for brands and agencies in search of fresh insights. He has been teaching business, marketing, brand, and startup strategy for the past 15 years.

The Tuck School of Business offers the Bridge program four times a year, including three times in person at the Dartmouth campus in Hanover, N.H. The January session, which evolved with the pandemic, is offered remotely to students around the globe.

The Colby students will attend together from a classroom on Mayflower Hill, joining approximately 50 other students scattered around the country and beyond, Tedeschi said.

“Even though the program is delivered by our faculty on Zoom, the Colby students will participate as a cohort together in person. They will all be together throughout the program, which is very unique,” she said. “It’s a hybrid program, but the faculty deliver the same quality curriculum, career development, and capstone-project experience as in-person programs.”

The capstone requires students to analyze and value an existing business. The Colby students will present their capstones in person before a panel of three evaluators with Colby-Tuck connections.

Globally, admission to the Bridge program is competitive, said Will Conroy, assistant director for business development and recruiting at the Tuck School of Business. Participants are naturally curious with high GPAs with strong test scores who are willing to challenge their assumptions and explore a range of industries, he said.

It was competitive at Colby, too. Approximately 150 students registered interest in the program, which could support the 30 slots, Yarnell said. Staff from DavisConnects, the Halloran Lab for Entrepreneurship, and the Office of the Provost worked together to make the final selections. 

“In terms of majors, we have a pretty good breadth of interests represented,” Yarnell said. “That is part of why I am so enthusiastic about this partnership. The Tuck Business Bridge is such a good fit for the liberal arts—and Colby’s approach to the liberal arts in particular. Colby students can and do just about anything with just about any major. The Colby-Tuck partnership offers the chance to accelerate the transition into real-world applications using the tools of business, but that could mean a student has designs of shepherding an NGO to pursue altruistically the greater good. It does not only mean business.”

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