For many Hamilton students, a trip to the Howard Diner delivers little more than a late-night meal. But for Yenesis Alvarez ’22, it provided an unexpected academic opportunity. “I remember [during] my freshman year,” she recalled, “this random guy at the Diner came up to me and was like, ‘Hey, do you want to learn about our business program?’”
The random guy was a Hamilton alum turned recruiter for Dartmouth’s Tuck Business Bridge Program. And a few years down the line, this chance encounter proved valuable for Alvarez after she did some research on becoming a film producer. “It said to take accounting classes,” she said. Unable to fit an economics course into her schedule, Alvarez remembered the Bridge Program, applied, and was accepted.
Majors: Religious Studies, Cinema and Media Studies
Hometown: Miami, Fla.
High School: Mater Academy Charter High School
The Bridge Program, according to the Dartmouth website, provides top liberal arts students with essential business skills in an intensive classroom environment. This year’s program is being conducted virtually but nonetheless maintains a high level of rigor. “I finish at 9 p.m. every day, plus the extra readings and homework that I have,” Alvarez said.
Bridge courses cover topics from corporate finance to marketing, offering a broad curriculum in which Alvarez, as someone with no formal business background, was still able to apply her knowledge. “I think Hamilton especially has gotten me comfortable with putting myself in situations that are completely new,” she explained. “Even in the midst of this not being my strong suit, I’m able to find ways of understanding the material where I can contribute and pitch in.”
The culmination of the program is a capstone project that combines all the skills learned throughout the summer. In teams, students will use a DCF (Discounted Cash Flow) model to determine the value of a chosen company. Alvarez’s group will focus on Teladoc Health, a telemedicine and virtual healthcare company.
Already, Alvarez anticipates using the skills learned at Bridge in settings outside of the program. At Hamilton, she will be working as a research assistant in the Art History Department, a position that demands proficiency with Microsoft Excel. “One of the classes I had this week was learning how to use Excel better,” she said. “I can use the skills I’m learning to better do my job in something film and television-related.”
Film/television is what Alvarez is hoping to pursue in terms of a profession. Part of the program includes career sessions featuring Bridge alumni, one of whom was a film director and producer. “When he was in his MBA program, he realized how much his understanding of cash flow and how money was managed would help him with film opportunities,” she said. “The fact that I saw someone in entertainment using skills in business to do what I want to do really inspired me, because it’s like — oh, I could get there.”