The Dartmouth Tuck adcom is interested in learning about what you as an individual, a businessperson, and a leader can contribute to Tuck’s small, close-knit program. Use your essays as a platform for expressing your earnest desire to enter the world of management and to make a difference.
Following the shrinking app trend, this year Tuck reduced its required questions from three to two and tweaked slightly the second required essay prompt.
I strongly recommend Tuck applicants read “The MBA Gatekeeper To Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business,” Poets and Quants interview with Dawna Clarke, Director of Admissions at Tuck.
Please respond fully but concisely to the following essay questions. There are no right or wrong answers. We encourage applicants to limit the length of their responses to 500 words for each essay. Please double-space your responses.
1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA fit for you and your goals and why are you the best fit for Tuck?
The MBA is a means to an end; it is a “step” towards a goal. That means you have to briefly discuss the most influential stops on your journey to date and then your reasons for wanting a Tuck MBA to continue on that journey.
You have to know a lot about Tuck as well as your goals to respond effectively to this question. Why do you want a small, tight-knit program in rural New Hampshire? Why do you want a program that stresses the integration of business functions? Which of Tuck’s strengths appeal to you? How will they help you achieve your goals?
To respond to the fit part of the question, review Tuck’s six evaluation criteria for admission. You won’t have much room to address fit. Perhaps in your conclusion succinctly make the case for your fit with Tuck’s criteria. Point to elements of your application that show you meet the criteria without repeating them. You want the reader to see a match made in heaven.
2. Tell us about your most meaningful leadership experience and what role you played. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?
This question reflects the importance Tuck, like many MBA programs, places on leadership. Last year, Tuck asked about “collaborative leadership.” This year it dropped “collaborative” from the question. Perhaps some applicants confused collaborative leadership with teamwork, and Tuck really wants to see you as a leader. Perhaps, and more likely given Tuck’s collaborative culture, Tuck wants to know what leadership example you will use and whether your definition of leadership is a fit for Tuck. Your example should reflect a collaborative and enlightened approach to leadership.
Have you co-chaired a fundraiser that raised a record amount of money? Have you been a board member for a not-for-profit organization? Have you captained a sports team that led your company league while having an excellent relationship with the coach or manager of the team? Have you been a team lead on a project that came in early and under budget while cooperating closely with other team leads or members of your team? Are you the head of a sales team who empowered other members of your team in a way that greatly contributed to the success of that initiative? These could all be examples of leadership. How did you motivate your teammates? What did you learn about yourself through the experience? In answering the last question, don’t be generic and don’t wonder “What do they want to hear?” What did you actually learn from this most meaningful experience?
The question asks you to reveal strengths and weaknesses. The first is fun and should be relatively easy. However we all cringe at the idea of revealing weaknesses, especially in a situation where you want to impress — like now. Nonetheless, resist that nasty impulse to write something fluffy and meaningless. Don’t even think about a phony weakness. The adcom will see right through it. Reveal a weakness that hopefully you can show yourself addressing in this leadership experience or through another later experience. Don’t dwell on the weakness, but do include it.
3. Optional question: 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.
It is almost impossible for two or three 500-word essays plus a bunch of boxes, a transcript, and a GMAT score to represent fully the uniqueness and talents of a truly impressive candidate. That comment has nothing to do with writing style and everything to do with the complexity of accomplished human beings. In my opinion this “optional essay” is optional in name only.
At the same time, don’t waste the reader’s time by writing a meaningless, superficial “grand finale” or summary. Don’t repeat what can be found elsewhere.
4. Reapplicant question: How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally.
Straightforward MBA reapplication question. What has changed that would compel Tuck to admit you this year?
If you would like professional guidance with your Dartmouth Tuck MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Dartmouth Tuck application.
|Round||Due Date||Decisions Released|
|Early Action||October 8, 2014||December 18, 2014|
|November Round||November 5, 2014||February 13, 2015|
|January Round||January 6, 2015||March 13, 2015|
|April Round||April 1, 2015||May 15, 2015|
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.