Meet our Fellows: Emma Sapat T’21January 5th, 2021
What did you do prior to Tuck?
I worked in government at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an agency that regulates the financial services industry. In this role, I enjoyed analyzing customer complaints and exploring the impact regulatory changes could have on the broader industry. One of my favorite parts of working for the CFPB was knowing that my work made a difference, particularly for Americans struggling with debt. At the CFPB, I saw how financial services can empower people to make a better life for themselves.
Why did you choose Tuck?
Since I came into business school a bit younger than my classmates, I found Tuck attractive for a number of reasons. First, I wanted a program that used the case method, but was also known for being an outstanding place to learn general management fundamentals, especially in areas like corporate finance. Because of my government background, I knew that a strong core foundation of knowledge from Tuck would put me on the right course. Second, Tuck’s strong community was a huge draw for me. I knew I would benefit from a smaller, more tight-knit community where I could develop close relationships with my peers and professors. Finally, being from Maine, I wanted to get back to New England for a bit after spending a few years further south in DC!
Do you have any post-Tuck plans yet? What are they?
I’m excited to be returning to Capital One, where I spent my summer internship working in the Small Business Bank. It still remains to be seen which team I’ll end up on, but I’m looking forward to continuing my career there.
What made you want to be part of the CDS MBA Fellows program?
From my time at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, I witnessed the ways digital technologies were changing the fundamental nature of the financial services industry, and I wanted to supplement the cases I was learning in class with more discussion of “what does the future look like?” The CDS offers a place where I can apply what I’m learning in the classroom and think through contemporary issues revolving around digital transformation. I’m especially thrilled by the focus on conversations with my peers in the Fellows program. Before joining the CDS as a fellow, I loved the random conversations I would have while passing classmates in the halls of Tuck between classes–I thought to myself: “I should find a place where I can have these conversations that don’t make me late to my next class!”
What is the best part about being involved with the CDS?
I really enjoyed participating in the first-ever Digital Safari hosted by the CDS and Center for Health Care. We had the opportunity to spend a whole day learning from practitioners about the ways they pivoted–and continue to pivot–in light of COVID-19. Across both media and health care industries, there were many similarities in the problems they faced and the ways they went about solving them. I know very little about health care, but spending a full day learning from experts in that field helped me overcome my fear and built up my confidence in learning new things quickly. Finally, I loved being able to connect with alumni and practitioners where they “live with the decisions” they make in a way we can’t really “know” academically.
What other activities are you involved in at Tuck?
I’m also a fellow with the Center for Business, Government and Society. Additionally, I love storytelling and public speaking, so I’m fortunate to be a co-chair of Tuck Talks. It’s so rewarding to help people find their voice and to hear them tell their stories to the Tuck community.
What has been the biggest growth moment for you or moment where you stepped out of your comfort zone? What did you learn from that experience?
Definitely the Deloitte Case Competition. I’d always wanted to do a case competition, but the intensity and “mystery” felt intimidating, especially since I don’t have a traditional business background. I decided to do it anyway. We had a case on a Riot Games project. It was intense and beautiful at the same time. I learned so much so quickly, and I’m glad I did it.
What speaker(s) have you learned the most from in your time at Tuck?
Valerie Jarrett. When she spoke with Dean Slaughter and the Tuck community, she focused on resilience. She talks about it in her book, Finding my Voice. My biggest takeaway from her talk was that resilience isn’t just a single moment where you grit your teeth and get through it. Instead, resilience is a constant mindset: a practice that is ongoing and requires continued commitment. Months later, I still come back to that idea of resilience.
Any books you’ve read recently you recommend to our readers?
I finally got around to reading Roger McNamee’s T’82 Zucked: Waking up to the Facebook Catastrophe. It is brilliant and it makes me intensely paranoid about every social media company I use! Since finishing the book, I’ve reevaluated how much time I’m spending on my phone.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to bake and to make jewelry. I used to enter baking competitions with my mom, which were always a lot of fun (but also surprisingly intense!). For jewelry, because I grew up in Maine, I like exploring the beach for sea glass, glass that’s been smoothed out over time by the waves and sand. I love transforming these beachcombing finds into jewelry pieces like necklaces and bracelets.