Tuck MBA Designs Experiential Course to Help Mississippi
Before joining Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business for his MBA, Tom Allin (’17) worked for Teach for America (TFA) in the Mississippi Delta. Through his experiences with TFA, he saw first hand some of the deep economic challenges in the region and became determined to help the area in a more substantive way. What Allin didn’t know at the time was that he was laying the groundwork for what would become the Mississippi Global Insight Expedition (GIX).
GIX is an experiential course at Tuck that aims to help MBA students learn to lead across cultures and countries. During the course, students travel to a new location to interact with corporations, entrepreneurial ventures, non-profits, governments, and local people. In most cases, the expeditions are outside of the United States, but Allin’s idea was to make an expedition to his home state of Mississippi.
In a feature story in Tuck Today magazine, Andrew King, a professor of strategy, recalled the first conversation he had with Allin on the subject. “Tom walked into my office and said ‘I think we should run a trip to Mississippi. It’s got a distinctive economy, and it’s a distinctive region of the United States, and it could be a valuable experience for students.’”
From there, Allin and King then enlisted Emily J. Blanchard, a global economics professor, to help. Blanchard most remembers Allin’s energy, passion, and commitment to the idea. “Tom’s vision for the Mississippi GIX embodies the heart of Tuck’s wide-lens approach to understanding business. I was honored to play a part,” she said.
After that, Allin brought in the Tuck Center for Business, Government & Society and TuckGo, a program dedicated to helping MBAs develop a global mindset, to help handle operations and funding. After nearly a year of organizing visits with manufacturing facilities, farms, and retailers in Mississippi—as well as meetings with Mississippi’s Governor Phil Bryant, other educators, entrepreneurs, and state leaders—Mississippi GIX took place in Jackson last March.
A group of 20 Tuck MBA students and two faculty participated in the expedition, which started with the Mississippi Development Authority and continued throughout the state. During the course, the group learned about the stagnant public education system, the state’s efforts to attract manufacturing facilities, and its struggles with economic development.
Don’t miss the in-depth feature story in the summer 2017 issue of Tuck Today magazine, which formed the basis for this article and goes into much greater detail about the Mississippi GIX experience and Allin’s work to get it off the ground.