Category Archives: Tuck

Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Essays for 2012-2013

Darmouth’s Tuck School of Business recently published its application deadlines and admissions essay topics for the Class of 2015. Yet another top school has slimmed down its essay count this year. In this case, Tuck actually merged two questions into one, reducing the total number of essays you will need to write for your Tuck application.

Here are the school’s new essays, followed by our comments in italics:

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Essays

  1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you, and what will you uniquely contribute to the community? (If you are applying for a joint or dual degree, please explain how the additional degree will contribute to those goals.) (500 words)

    This question has evolved slightly this year, with the addition of the “uniquely contribute” part this year, which used to be addressed in a separate question. Overall, you may consider this the fairly standard “Why an MBA? Why this school?” question that most schools ask. Tuck takes the concept of “fit” very seriously when evaluating candidates — maybe more so than any other top school, given its small class size and remote location — so it’s no surprise to see the “uniquely contribute” question here. Clearly the school doesn’t want you to only focus on your plans beyond Tuck, but also wants to see that you have thought about your two years in Hanover and can make a convincing argument as to why you will be a positive addition to the program.
  2. Discuss your most meaningful leadership experience. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience? (500 words)

    This question remains the same since last year. Follow this question to the letter: You should focus on one single experience. In 500 words you will need to describe what the situation was, what action you took, and what the results were (“Situation-Action-Result,” or “SAR” as we call it). Note the second part of the question, about what you learned about yourself. What exactly happened is very important, but so is evidence of self-reflection. Ideally you can show that you learned something about yourself, such as a shortcoming or lack of experience, that you were able to act on and improve. That’s the richest type of response one can give here.
  3. Describe a circumstance in your life in which you faced adversity, failure, or setback. What actions did you take as a result and what did you learn from this experience?

    This question also carries over unchanged from last year. This question very clearly illustrates a trait that Tuck looks for in all of its applicants: The ability to objectively take a challenge and setback and turn it into something positive, coming out better in the end. No matter what you might think or may have read, you shouldn’t be afraid to write about a failure or shortcoming. In fact, writing a response about overcoming a failure or weakness will usually more powerful than answering with “My biggest challenge was completing a marathon.” While that’s impressive, it’s far less revealing than a story about a time when you had to make a more fundamental change to who you are as a person and as a leader.
  4. (Optional) Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.

    As we always tell our clients when it comes to optional essays, only answer this essay prompt if you need to explain a low undergraduate GPA or other potential blemish in your background. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you’re making excuses when you don’t need any. If you don’t have anything else you need to tell the admissions office, it is entirely okay to skip this essay. Less is more!

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Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Essays for 2011-2012

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth recently published its application deadlines and admissions essay topics for the Class of 2014. You may notice that Tuck’s questions have changed very little since last year, suggesting that the school’s current batch of essay topics works well for the admissions committee. By “works well,” we mean that the essays help admissions officers get to know applicants better, and helps them separate out the great candidates from the merely good ones.

Also, note that Tuck does not have hard word limits for its essays, but the school does provide some rough guidance: “Although there is no formal restriction on the length of your response, most applicants use, on average, 500 words for each essay and you should work hard to try to keep your answers around that length.”

Here are Tuck’s application deadlines and essays, followed by our comments in italics:

Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Deadlines
Early Action round: October 12, 2011
November round: November 9, 2011
January round: January 4, 2012
April round: April 2, 2012

These deadlines are virtually identical to last year’s deadlines. Note that Tuck is one of the few top business schools to offer an Early Action admissions option. “Early Action” means that the decision is non-binding, although if you are admitted you will need to send in a $4,000 deposit by January 20, or else you will give up your seat. If Tuck is your top choice, or at least a very strong 2nd or 3rd choice, Early Action is a great way to signal your enthusiasm for the school.

Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Essays

  1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you? (If you are applying for a joint or dual degree, please explain how the additional degree will contribute to those goals.)

    This is the fairly standard “Why an MBA? Why this school?” question that most schools ask, and it carries over unchanged from last year. Tuck takes the concept of “fit” very seriously when evaluating candidates — maybe more so than any other top school, given its small class size and remote location — so be sure that you can present a compelling argument for why Tuck in particular is the right place for you to earn your MBA. If your answer has everything to do with you and nothing to do with Tuck, then you probably have more work to do in researching the school.
  2. Discuss your most meaningful leadership experience. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?

    This question also remains the same since last year. As the essay prompt states, you should keep your response focused on one single situation, what action you took, and what the results were (“Situation-Action-Result,” or “SAR” as we call it at Veritas Prep). Note the second part of the question, about what you learned about yourself. What exactly happened is very important, but so is evidence of self-reflection. Ideally you can show that you learned something about yourself, such as a shortcoming or lack of experience, that you were able to act on and improve. That’s the richest type of response one can give here.
  3. Describe a circumstance in your life in which you faced adversity, failure, or setback. What actions did you take as a result and what did you learn from this experience?

    This question is new this year, although it’s not radically different from the question in replaces (that question asked, “What is the greatest challenge or hurdle you have overcome?”). While this question’s wording is new, in many respects it addresses the same core attribute that Tuck wants to see in its applicants: The ability to objectively take a challenge and setback and turn it into something positive, coming out better in the end. It’s interesting that Tuck had previously gotten away from the “failure” theme with this question, but now returns to it. Regardless, you shouldn’t be afraid to write about a failure or shortcoming. In fact, writing a response about overcoming a failure or weakness will usually more powerful than answering with “My biggest challenge was completing a marathon.” While that’s impressive, it’s far less revealing than a story about a time when you had to make a more fundamental change to who you are as a person and as a leader.
  4. Tuck seeks candidates of various backgrounds who can bring new perspectives to our community. How will your unique personal history, values, and/or life experiences contribute to the culture at Tuck?

    This is your chance to specifically highlight any strengths or themes that may need more emphasis in your application. Everything in your background is fair game here: your work experience, your personal life, and your hobbies all make you unique. Don’t only think of “diversity” in terms of race or national origin!
  5. Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.

    As we always advise our clients when it comes to optional essays, only use this essay if you need to explain a low undergraduate GPA or other potential blemish in your background. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you’re making excuses when you don’t need any. If you don’t have anything else you need to tell the admissions office, it is entirely okay to skip this essay!

To learn more about Tuck and other top-ranked MBA programs, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Tuck MBA Admissions Essays for 2010-2011

Today we take a close look at Dartmouth’s admissions essay topics for the 2010-2011 application season. You’ll see that some of the questions have changed a bit vs. last year’s essays, although Tuck still hits on the same themes. That suggests that the school still feels that these themes (e.g., leadership and overcoming adversity) work well for the school in terms of finding applicants who are good Tuck material.

Note that Tuck does not have specific word limits for its essays, but the school does provide some rough guidance: “Although there is no restriction on the length of your response, most applicants use, on average, 500 words for each essay.”

Here are Tuck’s essays, followed by our comments in italics:

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Essays

  1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you? (If you are applying for a joint or dual degree, please explain how the additional degree will contribute to those goals.)

    This is the common “Why an MBA? Why this school?” question that most schools ask. Tuck takes the concept of “fit” very seriously when evaluating candidates — maybe more so than any other top school, given its small class size and remote location — so be sure that you can present a compelling argument for why Tuck in particular is the right place for you to earn your MBA. If your answer has everything to do with you and nothing to do with Tuck, then you probably have more work to do in researching the school.

  2. Discuss your most meaningful leadership experience. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?

    This question is new this year, and replaces another leadership question. Interestingly, last year’s question was more specific and contained more clues as to what exactly Tuck looks for in its applicants. As we noted last year, the previous question was maybe a bit ambitious in terms of how much an applicant could cover in about 500 words. Still, the advice we gave last year remains mostly the same: Keep your response focused on one single situation, what action you took, and what the results were. Note the last part of the question, about what you learned about yourself. What exactly happened is very important, but so is evidence of self-reflection. Ideally you can show that you learned something about yourself, such as a shortcoming or lack of experience, that you were able to act on and improve. That’s the richest type of response one can give here.

  3. What is the greatest challenge or hurdle you have overcome, either personally or professionally, and how did you manage to do so?

    This question is also new, and replaces one about the toughest criticism you ever received. While this question is certainly different, in many respects it addresses the same core attribute that Tuck wants to see in its applicants: The ability to objectively take a challenge and setback and turn it into something positive, coming out better in the end. It’s interesting that Tuck had gotten away from the “toughest feedback” or “biggest failure” questions, since those tend to be very revealing. This question is subtly different, but there are many responses that could work for a “failure” question that could still work well here. In fact, writing a response about overcoming a failure or weakness will usually more powerful than answering with “My biggest challenge was completing a marathon.” While that’s impressive, it’s far less revealing than a story about a time when you had to make a more fundamental change to who you are as a person and as a leader.

  4. Tuck seeks candidates of various backgrounds who can bring new perspectives to our community. How will your unique personal history, values, and/or life experiences contribute to the culture at Tuck?

    This is a good chance to specifically highlight any strengths or themes that may need more emphasis in your application. Everything in your background is fair game here: your work experience, your personal life, and your hobbies all make you unique. Don’t just think of “diversity” in terms of race or national origin!

  5. (Optional) Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.

    As always, only use this essay if you need to explain a low undergraduate GPA or other potential blemish in your background. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you’re making excuses when you don’t need any. More generally, if you don’t have anything else you need to tell the admissions office, it’s okay to skip this essay!

For more news and advice on getting into Tuck and other top-ranked MBA programs, be sure to subscribe to this blog and to follow us on Twitter!

Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Essays for 2009-2010

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth won’t release its full 2009-2010 application until mid-August, but the school has already announced its application deadlines for the coming year, and has also announced that its admissions essays will carry over unchanged from last year.

Our comments are below, in italics:

Tuck Application Deadlines
Early Action Round: 10/14/09
November Round: 11/11/09
January Round: 1/6/10
April Round: 4/2/10

(Tuck is one of the few top business schools to offer an Early Action admissions option. The decision is non-binding, although if you are admitted you will need to send in a deposit by mid-January, or else you will give up your seat. If Tuck is your first choice, or at least a very close 2nd or 3rd choice, Early Action is a great way to signal your enthusiasm for the school.)

Tuck Application Essays

(There are no hard word limits for Tuck’s essays, but Tuck does provide some guidance. According to the school’s web site, “Although there is no restriction on the length of your response, most applicants use, on average, 500 words for each essay.”)

  1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you?

    (This is the fairly standard “Why an MBA? Why this school?” question that most schools ask. Tuck takes the concept of “fit” very seriously when evaluating candidates — maybe more so than any other top school, given its small class size and remote location — so you need to craft compelling argument for why Tuck in particular is the right place for you to earn your MBA.)

  2. Tuck defines leadership as “inspiring others to strive and enabling them to accomplish great things.” We believe great things and great leadership can be accomplished in pursuit of business and societal goals. Describe a time when you exercised such leadership. Discuss the challenges you faced and the results you achieved. What characteristics helped you to be effective, and what areas do you feel you need to develop in order to be a better leader?

    (Wow, this is a lot of ground to cover in about 500 words! You will keep your response focused on one single situation, what action you took, and what the results were. The last part, about areas that you need to develop, could make for a whole separate essay by itself, but you will need to succinctly respond to this. Your response here may or may not relate directly to the situation you describe earlier in the essay, although ideally you won’t introduce an entirely new theme with only 100 words to go in your essay.

  3. Discuss the most difficult constructive criticism or feedback you have received. How did you address it? What have you learned from it?

    (We tend to like this question better than “What is your biggest weakness,” because it starts with an actual experience — the feedback you received — and asks you to reflect upon it. As with all “weakness” responses, you want to give an honest, real response, but you also don’t want to give an answer that could ruin your entire candidacy. The best answer will address a true weakness, but will be backed up by progress you have made in overcoming it.)

  4. Tuck seeks candidates of various backgrounds who can bring new perspectives to our community. How will your unique personal history, values, and/or life experiences contribute to the culture at Tuck?

    (Here is your opportunity to specifically highlight any strengths or themes that may need more emphasis in your application. Everything in your background is fair game here: your work experience, your personal life, and your hobbies all make you unique!)

For more advice on applying to Tuck, visit the Veritas Prep Tuck information page, and be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Tuck Admissions Decisions and Waitlist Advice

Earlier this week Karen Marks, Tuck’s Associate of Recruiting and Enrollment, wrote a post on Tuck’s blog about the school’s upcoming decisions for their November round. (Tuck’s admissions deadlines aren’t called Round 1 and Round 2, etc. Instead, Tuck has an Early Round, a November Round, January Round, and an April Round.) This Friday Tuck’s November Round applicants will receive their decisions: accepted, denied, or waitlisted.

Karen shares a lot of good advice for Tuck’s waitlisted applicants:

First, let me explain how we decide to waitlist someone. Candidates are placed on the waitlist for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we need more information about an applicant, but see many positive qualities and are interested enough to seek additional data. Sometimes we have questions about English or quantitative proficiency, so we will encourage the candidate to retake their GMAT or Toefl or to complete additional coursework. In other cases there are no particular areas of concern but we are unable to offer admission at that point in our cycle.

Tuck is very good in terms of communicating with waitlisted candidates. If you are waitlisted by Tuck, you will be assigned a single point of contact, and that person will give you feedback on any outstanding questions that the admissions committee has. However, if they tell you that there isn’t any other information that they need, you can believe them — the admissions committee no incentive not to keep you fully informed of how it views your candidacy.

Noe that there is one time when it always makes sense to contact the school. If there’s big news in your life, though, this is always a good reason to reach out to your Tuck point of contact and let them know — such as if you just got a promotion on your job, took a new job, or have recently achieved something else significant.

In terms of your chances of being admitted off of the waitlist and expected timing, Karen says:

Historically, we have admitted people from the waitlist every year – but the number varies, as does the profile of those admitted off the waitlist. Most of the time we do not admit waitlisted candidates until later in the cycle – usually not until the Spring.

So, be patient, follow the rules, take the school’s feedback to heart, and good luck!

Visit Veritas Prep for more advice on applying to Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

Job Advice for New MBA Students

A first-year Tuck student recently posted a message on the Tuck School of Business admissions blog giving career advice to new Tuck (and all MBA) admits.

The student, Natasha V., writes:

When I was admitted to Tuck (a happy day!), I started asking more-detailed questions about the curriculum, community, housing… the list goes on. But one area I overlooked was finding out real information about what my job search would like for my desired career. Truthfully, I put these questions off, since I had some idea of what I wanted to do, and I told myself that I had two years to find a job.

The reality is, first-years are already in full-swing of applying for internships, which should (hopefully) lead to full-time jobs next year. So, my two-year deadline turned out to be more like four months… two very different timelines! Looking back, I wish that I had asked more questions about what my job search would look like at Tuck. It would have helped me get grounded before coming to school, and better understand how and when to apply for internships.

Natasha then goes on to share a few key questions that a newly admitted business school students should ask the school’s career office:

  1. For your desired career, which companies recruit on-campus for internships and full-time positions?
  2. For your desired career, how many students find internships or jobs through on-campus recruiting?
  3. For your desired career, how many students interned or accepted full-time jobs in that area?

It often surprises us how often students DON’T ask these questions until they are deep into the summer internship search in their first year. By all means, it is your responsibility to know what your job prospects will be in your chosen field at a given school. Make sure to take this into consideration when you choose a business school to attend, and even when you’re deciding the MBA programs to which you want to apply.

Dartmouth (Tuck) on MBA Admissions Interviews

Today Tuck’s Associate Admissions Director, Karen Marks, wrote a post on the Tuck blog about how the admissions office handles MBA admissions interviews. Her post says a lot about how the schools views applicants and how interviews fit into the overall Tuck admissions process.

Unlike many other top business schools, the Tuck School of Business has an open interview policy, meaning that any applicant can schedule an interview rather than waiting for an invitation from the admissions office. Tuck really looks at whether or not you schedule an interview (and make the trip to New Hampshire) as a strong indicator of your interest in the school. Marks explains that you are by no means ruining your chances of admissions by not scheduling an interview and visiting the campus, especially if you face circumstances that would make the trip difficult (e.g., you live far away, have tight finances, or have other obligations that prevent you from traveling). However, if you’re serious about Tuck, know that the most powerful way to show this is by visiting the campus and conducting an on-campus interview.

Regarding interview format, there’s a good chance you will be interviewed by a second-year student. Marks makes a point of emphasizing that these interviews carry just as much weight as those conducted by Tuck admissions officers. And meeting a second-year student gives you a great chance to further get a feel for how well you’ll fit with the Tuck culture.

Finally, Marks attempts to put an end to anxiety that domestic applicants feel over whether or not they get invited to interview by the Tuck admissions office. She sums up it all up by saying:

The bottom line is that it is definitely a positive sign if we invite you interview, in that it indicates our desire to learn more about you, but don’t read too much into it if we don’t extend an invitation. Most domestic candidates schedule their own visits, and we are unlikely to prompt you to do so.

So, don’t stress over whether or not you’re invited to interview with Tuck. But, if you follow their (and our) advice and schedule your own interview with the school, then this should be a moot point!

If you’re preparing for your interview with Tuck or any other top business school, Veritas Prep’s MBA admissions interview preparation service can help you maximize your chances of success.