Tuesday Tips: Dartmouth Tuck Fall 2018 MBA Essay Tips

Tuck School MBA essay tipsThe Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth has a small student body and a rural location, combined with world-class faculty and academic focus. As you approach your Dartmouth Tuck MBA application it will be important to consistently show how you will fit into the school values of leadership, teamwork and collaboration and how you plan to bring your own unique qualities and experiences to the community.

Tuck’s advice to applicants on the new essays includes: “Remember, the essays are an opportunity to share with us who you are beyond the numbers and resume, so reflect, take your time, and be genuine. Communicate clearly and in your voice, not who you think we want you to be; and most importantly, answer the question you are asked.”

Tuck adds this note on word counts: “All noted word counts are meant as a guideline—we won’t be counting, but do have great sense of what 500 words looks like.”

Stacy Blackman Consulting can help you put together a successful Tuck application, contact us to learn more about the customized assistance we can provide for you.

Essay One (Required):

What are your short and long-term goals? Why is an MBA a critical next step toward achieving those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck specifically? (500 words)?

Consistent with a standard MBA career goals essay Tuck asks you to outline your short- and long-term career goals. Your short-term goals are the aspirations you have for your job immediately after graduation, while your long-term goals may be 10 or 20 years after you complete your MBA.

The second part of this essay question focuses on “Why MBA.” This is an important question whether you are in a career that typically requires an MBA, or a career that does not. Tuck is not looking for candidates who just need to check the box on an MBA, but rather candidates who will use the experience of a top-tier MBA program to accelerate their careers. If you are going into a career that is not typically an MBA feeder, think about the skills an MBA will provide and how you will use them to create excellence as a manager or executive in your target industry.

“Why Tuck” is another crucial element to this essay. Make sure you have researched the school’s programs and determined how your education will help you achieve your goals. For example, Tuck has multiple global business programs, including a class where you can consult to an international company and short Global Insight Expeditions. By reaching out to current students and alumni you can learn more about the experiences and classes that would inform your development as a global leader.

Essay Two (Required):
Tuck’s mission is to educate wise leaders to better the world of business. Wisdom encompasses the essential aptitudes of confident humility, about what one does and does not know; empathy, towards the diverse ideas and experiences of others; and judgment, about when and how to take risks for the better.
With Tuck’s mission in mind, and with a focus on confident humility, tell us about a time you:
• received tough feedback,
• experienced failure, or
• disappointed yourself or others.
How did you respond, and what did you learn about yourself as a result? (500 words)

Wisdom is an important value to Tuck and one that is rarely discussed in MBA programs. All MBA programs look for maturity and judgment from candidates, and the quality of wisdom is similar. It’s interesting to review the specifics of wisdom that Tuck outlines: humility, empathy, and judgment.

A compelling narrative will demonstrate how you have developed those qualities through interacting with others, specifically in the examples suggested (tough feedback, failure, or disappointment). Think about a time when you were truly challenged and how you resolved the experience. Did you learn humility and the desire to learn, along with empathy for others’ viewpoint? Then, did you learn how to apply your judgment fairly?

Interacting with your Tuck classmates may challenge you in a similar way, and showing a growth mentality, along with the humility to know what you don’t know, is attractive to the admissions committee.

This essay is not only an opportunity to discuss your ability to learn from others, you can also show that you are a leader in the Tuck tradition. The Tuck School of Business definition of leadership is inherently collaborative. Team based experiences are preferable, and as you describe working with someone different from yourself you can likely work in a strong collaborative leadership example.

Essay Three (Optional):
Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere and 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.

This is your opportunity to discuss any perceived weaknesses in your application such as low GPA or gaps in your work experience. When approaching a question of this nature, focus on explanations rather than excuses and explain what you have done since the event you are explaining to demonstrate your academic ability or management potential.

You could potentially use this space to add something new that was not covered in the previous essays or in the application, resume or recommendations, however use your judgment about the topics as Tuck asks that you only complete this question if you “feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.”

Essay Four (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. (500 words)

If you are re-applying to Tuck this essay is the place for you to showcase any developments since your last application. Ideally you have concrete improvements like a stronger GMAT score, grades from business classes, or a promotion. Even if nothing quantitative has changed in your profile you likely have developed more leadership activities or progressed in your job responsibilities.

If you are struggling to think of any clear improvements you can describe refined goals or deeper thinking about your future that has led you to apply again to Tuck. Demonstrating growth in wisdom, humility or empathy can be a huge improvement to your application to Tuck and absolutely should be highlighted.

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