Jacob Dudek '08

Jacob pursued a major in Geography with the intent of exploring a career in architecture or urban planning. Upon graduation, he took a role with a real estate developer based in Vail, CO to learn more about the holistic processes behind real estate development, design, and construction. After a year, Jacob found that he was more interested in the economics of the real estate development process than the design and the construction so he parlayed his experience into an analyst position at an investment bank to 1) learn the fundamentals behind business investment decisions and 2) pay off his Ivy League loans quickly.


After three years at the investment bank, Jacob had gained a fair amount of exposure to the consumer product and retail industries. As a member of the Dartmouth Ski Team, Jacob was partial to the outdoor industry so he pursued opportunities 'in industry' at brands like Patagonia, The North Face, Columbia, etc. He was eventually hired at Backcountry.com, the leading U.S. online retailer of outdoor goods and apparel based in Park City, UT. Since joining Backcountry, Jacob has held positions in corporate strategy, operations, and merchandising. Currently he is the director of merchandising for the bike business at Backcountry and oversees a team of 10 people that buy product, set strategy, and operate the day-to-day business.


How has the Geo major helped? The writing. Distilling thoughts and points down into a concise and digestible story loop is the most valuable skill that Jacob gained in the Geography major. Early in his career everything was quantitative with hard analysis and extreme attention to detail. While all these skills are still very important for his role, the ability to crisply convey points, facts, and difficult to understand concepts is what turns his analyses into something useful that drives change and decision making.

"During my time in the Geo major, I began to understand the meaning of structured thought organization and concise communication while carefully weaving hard analysis into an argument. Great major - loved every minute of it!"