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Center for Professional Development
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Dartmouth College
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Alumni Stories: Tony Perry '99

Persistence Pays Off

by Rebekah Rombom '08

Tony Perry ’99 is a busy man. Still striving to satisfy the love of life and learning that brings so many students to Dartmouth, Perry is currently a Senior Sales Analyst for British Airways, a graduate student in public policy and public health, and a volunteer with King Edward Medical College in Pakistan.

“All of it’s going to come together,” Perry says, “but it’s just trying not to rush it, that’s sort of the approach that I’ve realized.”

When he graduated, Perry decided not to rush entering the workforce, either. The Oklahoma native had set his sights on a position at British Airways that he’d learned about through a blitz from Center for Professional Development. The job included a management training program and presented the opportunity to live in Europe and travel.

But Perry was not offered the job with BA when he applied his senior year, and returned to Oklahoma after graduation.

“I went home to try and figure out what I really wanted to do in life,” he says, “and the thing that came back to me was that I really needed more of an experience with practical type courses.”

A religion major and government minor while at the College, Perry had not taken any internships during his Dartmouth career, but served three successive internships after graduation.  He also enrolled in Oklahoma State University to take classes in economics, statistics and marketing. When he applied for the BA position again in 2000 with the extra experience on his resume, Perry was offered the job.

The internships, Perry says, were crucial in preparing him for the corporate world.

“I think it’s important to at least get a feel for how it works. Work is a lot more than just having your different projects – it’s understanding office politics, or trying to manage deadlines, or just [getting used to] being in one place the whole day.”

After filling four different positions at BA in four years as part of the management training program, Perry is currently Senior Sales Analyst for the United Kingdom and Europe. His work involves investigating European markets that the airline might service, and evaluating demand in those markets. Perry also evaluates market changes and sales campaigns, comparing performance to projected performance. Part of his job is trying to identify problems or strong points in the campaigns, based upon how well they perform.

In addition to his day job, Perry serves as a sort of management volunteer for a hospital in Pakistan, researching customer service practices in several sectors and trying to figure out ways to implement similar practices at the state-run medical facility. As a graduate student studying public policy at the University of London, Perry is planning to write his dissertation on decentralization in Pakistan, integrating his studies with his volunteer work.

Perry, who says that he is passionate about international development, is glad that he did not opt for the path to Wall Street that he saw many of his classmates choose.

“When I was at Dartmouth, it felt like people had to make a choice,” Perry says, between “making money or making a difference.”

He believes, though, that post-graduation options are not as black and white as some might think.

“It is possible to do both,” Perry says, “and it’s possible to find ways of integrating, and using one experience to feed off another. It’s not really an either or choice.”

Last Updated: 10/9/13