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Posted by Chioma Isiadinso
Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business has released their online application and admissions deadlines for the class of 2021. The deadlines are:
Before you can begin crafting an effective admissions essay for Tuck, you need to familiarize yourself with the school’s admissions criteria. Fortunately, the admissions committee has written extensively about what they’re looking for in a candidate.
Tuck describes their ideal candidate as smart, nice, accomplished, and aware.
Their application will ask you to write six separate responses about your goals and yourself as a candidate (four short answer responses and two essay questions), so it’s vital that you understand how to use your answers to demonstrate those qualities.
When the school describes their ideal candidate as smart, they are looking for applicants who can check off all the boxes: good grades, good test scores, impressive transcripts. But more importantly, they want applicants who have a passion for knowledge and a sense of curiosity about the world.
When the school describes their ideal candidate as nice, they are looking for applicants who display emotional intelligence. “Nice” is not always a quality that is prized in the business world, so it speaks strongly to Tuck’s priorities – and emphasis on collaboration and teamwork – that they rate niceness so highly in their students. Note that niceness explicitly does not mean being a pushover; it means having integrity and respect for your colleagues and fellow students.
When the school describes their ideal candidate as accomplished, they are looking for the same traditional career progression and achievements that all business schools look for. But they also want to see evidence that a drive to accomplish things is an innate part of your personality. As they put it, “Tuck candidates don’t just go through the motions, don’t seek to win at any cost, and don’t wilt in tough situations.”
When the school describes their ideal candidate as aware, they are looking for applicants who have a strong sense of their personal brand. To show the adcom that you are aware, you need to demonstrate that you can “understand your values, assess your experiences, and articulate how they’ve shaped your identity and character.”
Tuck’s four short answer questions are:
As with Duke Fuqua’s short answer questions, Tuck’s can easily be taken as a set. While you should ensure that you don’t go over the word limits for any one question, your answers should be related and build upon one another.
Question three is the most interesting of the group. Most schools will want to know about your short and long-term post-MBA goals, and question four is the standard “Why us?” question that every business school asks to ensure that you’ve done your research about their unique brand.
Your responses should show a clear sense of progression from the path you’ve taken so far in your career, and demonstrate that you’ve given real thought to what elements of Tuck’s approach, curriculum, faculty, or clubs will help you achieve those goals.
But for question three, you really need to look back at the list of admissions criteria. How do your goals relate to the broader world? How do they demonstrate your passion? What was your inspiration for pursuing these goals, and why are they important enough that you’re willing to put in the necessary work to achieve them? Answering those questions is the key to compelling short answer responses.
The essay prompt reads:
“Tuck students are aware of how their individuality adds to the fabric of Tuck. Tell us who you are and what you will contribute. (500 words)”
Everything in the Tuck MBA application serves to emphasize the school’s dedication to teamwork and collaboration. The next essay will ask specifically about teamwork; this first essay is your chance to show how your part of the puzzle will make your cohort as a whole stronger.
While most business schools look for evidence of leadership ability in their MBA applicants, at Tuck I would argue that the nature of your leadership skills matters very much. The admissions committee is not looking just for evidence that you can get things done (remember, Tuck candidates “don’t seek to win at any cost”).
Instead, your examples for this essay should reflect a strong sense of your personal brand (how “aware” you are), illustrating your passions and the individual expertise, experience, and perspective you will bring to your classes.
Strong examples might include evidence of collaborative leadership, unique experiences you’ve pursued, or projects you’ve initiated that improved the lives of your fellow students, employees, or humans.
The essay prompt reads:
“Tuck students are nice, and invest generously in one another’s success. Share an example of how you helped someone else succeed. (500 words)”
This is the essay that asks directly about teamwork – but take careful note of the wording. Tuck isn’t looking for anecdotes about how you corralled a team to accomplish your goals; it’s about what you were able to contribute of value to accomplish someone else’s goal.
The key to this essay is a sense of humility and integrity. There is a lot of value in being able to spot what goals or projects are worthwhile, and to determine how best to apply skills or resources to solve the problem and accomplish the task.
When you respond to this prompt, think back to the short and long term goals you listed in your short answer questions. Presumably, you won’t be jumping immediately to the top of the heap right away. To accomplish your goals, you’re going to have to identify the organizations where you can contribute the most value.
Finally, try to keep your response focused on examples of actual teamwork. Mentorship can be incredibly valuable, but it’s easy for those examples to read more as “I benevolently bestowed my knowledge on this poor individual,” rather than “I contributed to help my peers succeed”.
Understanding your personal brand is absolutely crucial to your ability to craft a successful MBA application to Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. The trained admissions consultants at EXPARTUS have years of experience helping candidates navigate the admissions process for elite business schools.
If you’d like help crafting a compelling MBA application profile for Tuck, EXPARTUS can help. Get in touch with us today at firstname.lastname@example.org or 844-259-4506.