Tuck School of Business Application Essays and Deadlines

Tuck School of Business of Dartmouth College has released its admission deadlines and essays. The trend toward fewer application essays this season continues with the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, which has dropped one full essay from last year and is now down to three required, and very straightforward, essay questions: one about career goals and Tuck, one about leadership and one about failure.

Application Deadlines

Early Action Round: 10th Oct, 2012

November Round: 7th Nov, 2012

January Round: 3rd January, 2013

April Round: 2nd April, 2013

Application Essays

1. 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, and what will you uniquely contribute to the community? (If you are applying for a joint or dual degree, please explain how the additional degree will contribute to those goals.)

The first essay is like many others. “Why an MBA? Why our school?” questions, only it also asks what you will contribute in return, so be sure to address this issue as well. If you do tend to copy paste this answer for other colleges, then please take care of this particular part that Tuck has added to the question. When discussing your planned contribution to the school’s community, you must reveal that you truly know and understand the nature of the Tuck community for your statements to carry any real weight—do not make the mistake of discussing your abilities in a vacuum.

2. Discuss your most meaningful leadership experience. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?


This essay question is pretty straightforward. Every good meaningful leadership experience is hard-fought. If such experiences were easy, they would not be as significant, right? So, in this case, you would be best off simply identifying a time when you have shined and then telling that story, following the narrative as it happened, revealing the bumps and bruises you incurred along the way and then reflecting on them.

Many applicants make the mistake of telling a story of a time they did something really well and then reflecting on a weakness that they never actually revealed or mentioned in their narrative. As a result, the reader suddenly thinks, “Wait, where did that come from? I thought everything went well!” In short, be sure to clearly present the details of the experience you have chosen to discuss, as well as the positive and negative facets of your character or abilities that were revealed as a result. Not only does Tuck’s question demand all three of these elements, but also, you cannot effectively reflect on a strength or weakness in your essay until you have presented it to your reader to begin with. Otherwise, you will confuse both your reader and the issue.

3. Describe a circumstance in your life in which you faced adversity, failure, or setback. What actions did you take as a result and what did you learn from this experience?

So many business schools this year are asking about times when candidates have failed, faced a setback or been frustrated by circumstances. Why? Schools today, want to know that you are a real person, with both flaws and strengths, and have the ability not only to be introspective and assess yourself, but also to learn and improve.

Do not try to intentionally bring the reader to tears. Explain your circumstance honestly and  show how you progressed through it. You need to ensure that the contrast between “before” and “after” is sharp. Once you have taken the reader through this rapid rise and fall, you will need to show that you did not just reflect on the experience but actually “took action” in some way as a result. Thus, showing change and growth through actual concrete steps is important. You might even offer a brief second anecdote that validates those actions.

4. (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.

Do not be tempted to attempt this question. Attempt this only if you feel you have missed out on something which you really want the admissions committee to know. This is your opportunity—if needed—to address any lingering questions that an admissions officer might have about your candidacy, such as a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, a gap in your work experience, etc.

5. (To be completed by all reapplicants) How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally.

Whether you have improved your academic record, received a promotion, begun a new and exciting project, increased your community involvement or taken on a personal challenge of sorts, the key to success with this essay is conveying a very deliberate path of achievement. Tuck wants to know that you have been actively striving to improve yourself and your profile, and that you have seized opportunities during the previous year to do so, because a Tuck MBA is vital to you.

Make sure you give enough thought to each essay and try to personalize it according to the school.

About Prateek Panda

Prateek is an entrepreneur with a passion for business and business studies. He loves reading, photography, music and is a technology journalist too. He runs a tech news and startup review site, TheTechPanda.com. You can know more about him at About.Me/PrateekPanda


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