Face Off: Dartmouth Tuck vs Yale SOM

Tuck MBA application
The school selection process for MBA applicants can seem overwhelming. With so many great business schools, how do you decide which one is right for you? In SBC’s new blog series Face Off, we tease out the strengths and differences between two similarly ranked b-schools. Plus, we’ll highlight noteworthy elements of their admissions processes. Let’s kick things off by looking at the differences between the Tuck MBA application versus that of Yale School of Management.

We have a former Admissions Officer from Dartmouth Tuck on our team. Thanks to her for the thoughtful advice below.

How do the admissions requirements and selectivity compare between the pair? 

Selectivity is around the same for both, with acceptance rates around 20%, approximately.  Yale SOM has only recently moved up in rankings, whereas Tuck has consistently ranked in the top ten for many years. We usually see candidates with traditional post-MBA career goals select Tuck over Yale. However, those whose post-MBA career goals fall into the non-profit/social impact area usually choose Yale SOM.

Last summer, Dartmouth Tuck updated the evaluation criteria for the Tuck MBA application.  Smart, nice, accomplished, and aware are the quintessential characteristics of a successful Tuck applicant.

Tuck MBA application“The two essays map directly to aware and nice,” explained Luke Anthony Peña, executive director of admissions and financial aid at the Tuck School, in an announcement regarding the essay updates. During the 2018-19 admissions cycle,  one of the two required essays in the Tuck MBA application asked applicants to “Share an example of how you helped someone else succeed.”

Meanwhile, the one required essay in the Yale SOM application last year aimed to give the admissions committee a better sense for what applicants care about in the world.

How is the Tuck brand perceived? What about the Yale SOM brand?

Historically, Tuck  has been the more competitive business school with slightly higher quality. But, Yale has made tremendous gains over the years and consistently ranks as a top program. Yale also benefits from a stronger global brand recognition of the parent institution, which likely helps with international admissions numbers.

How do the two curriculums and teaching methods compare?

We usually classify Yale SOM as more of a progressive program, whereas Tuck is traditional.  “From my experience, Yale has a more integrative learning environment where boundaries between disciplines are less rigid. Tuck, a far more traditional program, focuses on clearly defined lessons in marketing, finance, accounting, strategy, etc.,” shares Jed, a Tuck MBA graduate (also admitted to Yale SOM) and now a consultant here at Stacy Blackman Consulting.

How do the two schools’ MBA cohorts compare in terms of quality and culture? 

“Tuck has strong emphasis on a collaborative culture.  Students are smart, nice, diverse and very engaged in the community,” shares Maureen, a Tuck MBA graduate who worked at Tuck Admissions and is now a consultant at Stacy Blackman Consulting.  Meanwhile, Yale is known to attract a more intellectual, progressive, and social justice-minded student body.

How do the two schools’ locations compare? What impact might this have on the student experience and/or job opportunities?

yale MBA application
Evans Hall, Yale School of Management

Location is a key difference between the programs. For Yale, the city of New Haven is more urban, and the closest airport is Hartford. The New Haven community historically isn’t as community-oriented.  Yale students will have more restaurant choices and cultural opportunities.

Tuck is located in a picturesque, rural setting, close to many outdoor activities. Dartmouth Coach runs frequently to Boston and New York. Also, there are local flights to Boston and New York from Lebanon airport.

“The geography/location of Tuck also lends itself towards an active and outdoorsy crowd that tends to love the seasons and the sports/activities that come with them. Tuck offers a vibrant arts and culture scene within Dartmouth College and the town of Hanover,” shares Maureen.

Tuck MBA application
Stell Hall, Tuck School of Business

Both Yale and Dartmouth students have a commute to New York or Boston for job opportunities. Yale benefits from its proximity to New York, which makes recruiting trips easier. While Tuck has a strong network in New York as well, Boston is the closest major city and tends to be the easiest access point for recruiting.

What are the key recruiting differences between Tuck and Yale that an MBA applicant should consider? 

The outplacement statistics are comparable by industry– with approximately 50% of graduates from both programs placed into the traditional fields of finance and consulting. However, Yale SOM’s reputation  is for a more eclectic, varied student body. Career placement at the SOM is modestly higher in nontraditional (e.g., nonprofit/ social sector) outplacement. Tech outplacement is slightly stronger at Tuck. Both schools have a nice, broad range of industry placement.

Geographically, Yale places more into the Northeast region (54% at SOM vs 46% at Tuck) and Tuck places slightly more into the Midwest (9% at Tuck vs 3% at SOM).

Any notable differences in the alumni networks?

Yale SOM has a smaller alumni community than Tuck, as Tuck has been around for 70 more years than SOM. The quality of connections is as important as the number of alumni, though. Yale SOM alumni are engaged, actively on LinkedIn and in communities all over the world.

Tuck is a highly community-oriented program that supports meaningful camaraderie in its classes and study groups. This atmosphere may be part of the reason Tuck reportedly has the highest annual giving percentages among leading business school alumni.


We hope this deep-dive comparison between the Tuck MBA application and Yale SOM application has given you helpful intel as you make your school selection decisions this season. Finally, please leave any questions you may still have in the comment section below. Stay tuned for more Face Off posts to come!

Stacy Blackman

SBC’s star-studded consultant team is unparalleled. Our clients benefit from current intelligence that we receive from the former MBA Admissions Officers from Kellogg, Booth and every elite business program in the US and Europe.  These MBA Admissions Officers have chosen to work exclusively with SBC.

Just two of the many superstars on the SBC team:
Meet Beth who held the position of Director of Admissions for Kellogg’s Full Time MBA program selecting candidates for the 2-year, 1-year, MMM and JD MBA programs.

Meet Kim, who was an Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Chicago Booth.

Tap into this inside knowledge for your MBA applications by requesting a consultation.

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