Tuck School Announces New MBA Evaluation Criteria

tuck mba evaluationsDartmouth’s Tuck School of Business knows exactly what it’s looking for in prospective MBA candidates, and you may be surprised to find out that “niceness” is at the top of the list.

“What we’re looking for is emotional intelligence, empathy, and respect for others,” explains Luke Anthony Peña, executive director of admissions and financial aid, in a statement outlining Tuck’s new evaluation criteria for MBA admissions.

“The pathways students take to Tuck are numerous,” notes Peña, “Yet we’ve found that no matter their path to Tuck, there are four attributes that our students consistently demonstrate. We’re now intentionally highlighting those four qualities for prospective students and inviting them to imagine themselves here.”

Thinking about applying to this elite business school? Here’s a brief snapshot of the four characteristics the admissions committee members are looking for; follow the link for the full description.


Strong test scores and GPA are expected, but being a know-it-all is not. “On the contrary, being smart means practicing confident humility about what you do and do not know. (…)  You’re also curious, excited by challenges, and motivated to learn from others’ experiences and expertise.”


Nice sometimes gets a bad rap, indicating someone is a pushover or people-pleaser. But niceness is “quintessential” at this MBA program. “Nice Tuck candidates exhibit emotional intelligence. You layer compassion onto courage, and challenge others tactfully and thoughtfully…You act with respect and integrity, even when it’s not convenient or easy. You show empathy for the diverse experiences of others, while also sharing your own.”


Tuck is looking for applicants who have made an impact, but don’t let that scare you. It’s not about the scale of your achievements–it is about making a difference on the job and in your personal life.  “Accomplished Tuck candidates don’t just go through the motions, don’t seek to win at any cost, and don’t wilt in tough moments. Instead, you practice good judgment in how to act, both in success and setback, and carefully consider which risks to take.”


Self-reflection is important no matter where you’re applying to business school, but the adcomm team here is taking it to the next level. “Reflection is mandatory at Tuck. You need to understand your values, assess your experiences, and articulate how they’ve shaped your identity and character…Aware Tuck candidates envision what’s ahead. You connect your past experiences and present motivations with your future path, and chart a course forward.”

Stay tuned for the Tuck School’s updated MBA essays and reference letter questions in the coming weeks. The application for the Tuck Class of 2021 opens in early July.

With deadlines around the corner, you may be interested in the world-famous SBC Flight Test. Once a full set of application materials for your initial school have been drafted, but not finalized, the application will be sent to a former admissions committee member for a one-time review, adcomm style. You’ll have the benefit of a true admissions committee review while still having the ability to tinker and change.  You will receive written feedback within two business days after submitting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


(323) 934-3936

Latest Blog Post

How to Format a Winning MBA Resume

This may come as a surprise, but your resume is perhaps the most critical piece of your entire MBA application package. You have one precious page to summarize your academic, professional, and extracurricular accomplishments ...