Dartmouth Tuck MBA Application Essay Questions and Tips

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College can look like a cosy business school environment due to its location in the countryside and small class-zine. But don’t be fooled. This elite business school enjoys it’s pick of highly qualified MBA applicants every year.

I steer clear of using the words “ideal applicant” for business schools because, in reality, schools do go out on a limb for inspiring yet unconventional profiles every year. From accepting students with really low GMAT scores to offering significant scholarships in Round 4 of applications, business schools have been known to appreciate diversity.

However, there are a few boxes that a Tuck applicant needs to check to make it onto the list of MBA students.

Amy Mitson, Director of Admissions Recruitment & Marketing at Tuck, shares the four qualities that every Tuck student must embrace.

Tuck students are smart, curious, and engaged.

Tuck students are accomplished, impactful, and principled.

Tuck students are aware, ambitious, and purposeful.

Tuck students are encouraging, collaborative, and empathetic.

In her blog, Amy mentions that the Tuck admissions committee looks for the four criteria, Smart, accomplished, aware, and encouraging, in every prospective Tuck student.

She also goes on to explain that while the MBA class at the school is competitive, it is fueled by each student being invested in their own success as well as the success of their classmates.

“Your prior achievements do not transfer with you to business school, and you are not accomplished simply because of the lines on your resume; it is the behaviours that led you to achieve good outcomes that suggest you will be accomplished at Tuck and beyond. The same is true for encouraging; the outcomes of your investments in others matter less than the behaviours you practice in service of these good relationships. When we read your application, we’re looking for these patterns of behaviour.” Amy writes in her detailed blog about Tuck’s requirements from an applicant.

The applicant gets ample opportunity to show said virtues throughout their MBA application, but their MBA essays can be the most effective place to get their message across.

Tuck MBA Application Essays

1. Tuck students can articulate how the distinctive Tuck MBA will advance their aspirations. Why are you pursuing an MBA and why Tuck? (300 words) “Why MBA?” and “Why Tuck?” are the only four words you need to pay attention to while answering this MBA essay question.

Since Tuck only allows 300 words for this answer, let’s break down the answer and create a blueprint for this essay.

Step 1: What are your post-MBA goals? Get super specific with the industry, job role, and organization you wish to work with.

Step 2: What were the events, in the past 2 years, that drew you to your post-MBA goals.

Step 3: What skillset or knowledge are you currently lacking to achieve your post-MBA goals.

Step 4: What events, clubs, classes, professors, or networks at Tuck can help you attain the required skill set or knowledge to achieve your post-MBA goal.

With these simple 4 steps and preferably four paragraphs, you will be able to answer your first mandatory Tuck essay.

>2. Tuck students recognize how their individuality adds to the fabric of Tuck. Tell us who you are. (300 words)

This question isn’t just about finding out who you are as a person. Through the answer to this MBA essay prompt, Tuck isn’t trying to just find out your characteristics and value, rather they’re trying o figure out how good of a match you will be with the school community.

While Tuck believes in diversity, like most business schools, they still want to accept students with similar core values to create a harmonious and growth-focused experience.

Share details about the values you share with Tuck. Give anecdotes that further strengthen your claim.

3. Tuck students invest generously in one another’s success even when it is not convenient or easy. Share an example of how you helped someone else succeed. (300 words)

This essay prompt requires you to share an experience where the objective behind your actions wasn’t personal benefit. The school wants to know if you are motivated by ethics enough to undertake a task or deal with a challenge which benefits a larger group even if it doesn’t benefit you.

Sure you are a great leader, a team player, hard-working plus more but can you celebrate someone else’s success? Growth to Tuck doesn’t just signify personal growth. The tight-knit community of the school has a competitive spirit but, also believes in collaborative effort equally. Which is why Tuck wants to know if you could carry on this Tuck legacy.

This essay is not necessarily about how selfless you are as a person instead, it is about how strongly you would back up your own set of values and if you’d take a risk for them.

Optional: Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere (e.g., atypical choice of evaluators, factors affecting academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application. (300 words)

This essay is the perfect space for you to just talk to the admissions committee and share your story. Don’t write this essay to detail more accomplishments simply because you have this space available.

If there is a significant accomplishment that couldn’t be mentioned in any other space throughout your Tuck MBA application, use this space to mention it. Make sure you also explain why that accomplishment is significant enough for you to share it with the Tuck admissions committee.

The purpose of this space, however, is to allow students to explain the weak points of their MBA application essay.

Do you have a low GMAT score? Is your undergraduate GPA lower than the Tuck average? Did you have to approach a non-conventional recommender for your LoR?

Use this space to explain the circumstances behind these situations. Make sure you don’t simply paint yourself out to be a victim. Take responsibility for your weaknesses while explaining how a particular situation or decision might have affected you at that moment.

To be completed by all reapplicants: How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally. (300 words)

Do we need to explain this? If you were rejected in Tuck’s previous admissions cycle and are applying again, you must have improved your profile over the past year.

The right step after getting rejected by any business school is to ask for feedback from the admissions committee. They will readily walk you through things that need to be improved in your profile for the school to consider you a strong applicant.

Whether you took this necessary step after getting rejected by Tuck or not, if you’re re-applying a year later you have definitely worked on strengthening your MBA profile.

Maybe you took more initiative at work to show leadership qualities. You could have also improved your GMAT score in the past year. Did you take up any extracurriculars or get more involved with your community? On being rejected by Tuck, how did you assess your profile and work on your weaknesses?

These are the types of questions that this essay question requires you to answer.

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