The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth won’t release its full 2009-2010 application until mid-August, but the school has already announced its application deadlines for the coming year, and has also announced that its admissions essays will carry over unchanged from last year.
Our comments are below, in italics:
Tuck Application Deadlines
Early Action Round: 10/14/09
November Round: 11/11/09
January Round: 1/6/10
April Round: 4/2/10
(Tuck is one of the few top business schools to offer an Early Action admissions option. The decision is non-binding, although if you are admitted you will need to send in a deposit by mid-January, or else you will give up your seat. If Tuck is your first choice, or at least a very close 2nd or 3rd choice, Early Action is a great way to signal your enthusiasm for the school.)
Tuck Application Essays
(There are no hard word limits for Tuck’s essays, but Tuck does provide some guidance. According to the school’s web site, “Although there is no restriction on the length of your response, most applicants use, on average, 500 words for each essay.”)
- Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you?
(This is the fairly standard “Why an MBA? Why this school?” question that most schools ask. Tuck takes the concept of “fit” very seriously when evaluating candidates — maybe more so than any other top school, given its small class size and remote location — so you need to craft compelling argument for why Tuck in particular is the right place for you to earn your MBA.)
- Tuck 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 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?
(Wow, this is a lot of ground to cover in about 500 words! You will keep your response focused on one single situation, what action you took, and what the results were. The last part, about areas that you need to develop, could make for a whole separate essay by itself, but you will need to succinctly respond to this. Your response here may or may not relate directly to the situation you describe earlier in the essay, although ideally you won’t introduce an entirely new theme with only 100 words to go in your essay.
- Discuss the most difficult constructive criticism or feedback you have received. How did you address it? What have you learned from it?
(We tend to like this question better than “What is your biggest weakness,” because it starts with an actual experience — the feedback you received — and asks you to reflect upon it. As with all “weakness” responses, you want to give an honest, real response, but you also don’t want to give an answer that could ruin your entire candidacy. The best answer will address a true weakness, but will be backed up by progress you have made in overcoming it.)
- Tuck 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?
(Here is your opportunity to specifically highlight any strengths or themes that may need more emphasis in your application. Everything in your background is fair game here: your work experience, your personal life, and your hobbies all make you unique!)