Tuesday Tips – Tuck Business School Essay Tips

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth is a top ranked school set in a rural setting, with a close knit community. In evaluating candidates, Tuck looks at several criteria. Demonstrated academic excellence, demonstrated leadership, demonstated accomplishments, interpersonal skills, diversity of background and experience, and a global mindset. Note that many of these criteria specify that Tuck Business School is looking for “demonstrated experience.” Aside from the raw data in your application, your essays are the best place to demonstrate what you will bring to the school.

When approaching this set of application questions it will be important to clearly assess which of the desired traits are ones that you can demonstrate through your own experience. What are the areas you want to communicate to the Tuck School of Business admissions committee? Which essays work best for a work example or a community service example? Be sure to provide specific examples for each essay. Specific examples provide the best evidence of your leadership qualities, team work skills and management potential.

While Tuck Business School does not require a certain word limit, the 500 word guidance should be adhered to. Generally 10% plus or minus the word limit suggestion is reasonable when there is no formal limit.

1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck Business School the best MBA program for you? (if you are applying for a joint or dual degree please explain how the additional degree will contribute to those goals.)

This standard career goals question requires you to clearly 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. In this relatively short essay you will need to explain what you have been pursuing in your career thus far, and why you need an MBA at this point in your life, along with your career goals.

“Why Tuck Business School” is an important aspect to this essay, and your opportunity to demonstrate fit. Make sure you have researched the school’s programs and determined your education will suit your plans. By reaching out to current students and alumni you will gain crucial insights that will provide a personal perspective on the culture of the school.

2. The Tuck School of Business defines leadership as “inspiring others to strive and enabling them to accomplish great things.” We believe great things and great leadership can be accomplished in the pursuit of business and societal goals. Describe a time when you exercised such leadership. Discuss the challenges you faced and the results you achieved. What characteristics helped you to be effective, and what areas do you feel you need to develop in order to be a better leader?

This essay is similar to Kellogg’s leadership essay. As in the Kellogg essay, you will want to define your strengths and weaknesses as a leader. What are you good at, and what do you hope to develop at Tuck Business School? Unlike the Kellogg essay, this version requires that you describe one specific example that illustrates your leadership challenges and strengths.

The example you choose can be from work or community involvement, as “great leadership can be accomplished in the pursuit or business and societal goals.” You will need to adhere to the Tuck Business School definition of leadership and include a team based aspect to your example. As you describe your leadership experience, make sure you explain how you were able to inspire and enable others to accomplish.

3. Discuss the most difficult constructive criticism or feedback you have received. How did you address it? What have you learned from it?

Criticism and constructive feedback is often difficult to hear. In many cases the most difficult feedback to hear can ultimately be the best route to professional growth. In approaching this question, you may want to start by recalling performance reviews and other formalized feedback settings. As you go through feedback you have heard in your career, you may recall informal feedback that was helpful as well.

The key to this question is to discuss your reaction to the feedback. Self-awareness and ability to change are fantastic leadership qualities to demonstrate through this question. Regardless of the feedback you received, and how difficult it was, describing what you learned will be valuable.

4. Tuck Business School seeks candidates of various backgrounds who can bring new perspectives to our community. How will your unique personal history, values, and/or life experiences contribute to the culture at Tuck Business School?

This question provides you with an opportunity to describe why you are different from other applicants. Do you have a unique background? Unusual work experience? Or have you demonstrated a consistent history of community involvement? The part of your application strategy that is most unique and surprising should be described here.

Once you have determined what is special about your candidacy, you need to tie your personal history, values and/or life experiences to how you will interact with your fellow students at the Tuck School of Business. The most obvious approach is to outline the clubs and organizations you will contribute to. Beyond formal groups, you may contribute your unique perspective to the classroom, provide networking opportunities in your industry to your classmates, or mentor your fellow students.

5. (Optional) Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that 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. If you do not have a weakness to explain, this may be an opportunity to address any additional facet of your application strategy you have not been able to illuminate in previous questions. There is no requirement to complete this question, and it would be wise to use the space for something truly new and important to your application that has not been addressed elsewhere.


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