A Closer Look at Tuck's Academics

Dartmouth Tuck GuideContinuing our series of admissions insights clipped from Veritas Prep’s Annual Reports, our in-depth insider’s guides to 15 of the world’s top business schools, this week we look at a few of the distinguishing characteristics of academic life at Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. (Our Annual reports are absolutely free with registration, but we thought we’d share some snippets here to help get you started in your Tuck research.)

The Tuck School combines theoretical and experiential learning with a focus on leadership, teamwork and globalization. These elements inform each and every aspect of the Tuck academic experience as well as the type of recruitment that occurs on campus. Many come to visit the school or even begin the program expecting to find a laid back “summer camp” atmosphere, but while the culture is uniquely close-knit, the academic workload is actually very intense and focused.


Below are a few things that you should know about Dartmouth’s academics before applying:

Teaching Philosophy

Tuck is one of the few business schools (along with HBS and Darden) that uses the case method teaching style as the predominate method, especially for core courses during the first year. Sixty percent of the core is taught via the case method, with the balance of the classes featuring the usual business school alchemy of straight forward lectures, experiential learning, and group projects.

One of the most interesting things about Tuck is that while it is a fairly case method-heavy school, it is also at the forefront of experiential learning, as discussed in the Tuck approach. An entire term of the first year is devoted to the First Year Project, which is experiential learning at its finest.

Class Organization
Each incoming class at Tuck is divided into four sections of approximately 60 students each. These sections are randomly assigned, although Tuck makes sure that each section has a balanced mix of backgrounds. Every term, the sections are reassigned so that at the end of the first year, students have worked closely with everyone in their class. Study groups in the first year are also assigned by the MBA Program Office to ensure a balance of professional expertise and background diversity. One twist on the typical section model is that during first year, study groups change each term. In the second year, students can pick their elective courses and their study groups.

Core Classes

Tuck provides a solid general management curriculum in the first year to prepare its students for any role in business. Recognized for its academic rigor, Tuck’s 32-week first year core is longer than at other schools. In addition to the core classes below, first year students participate in the aforementioned group project and can select two elective courses in the Spring Term.

In some instances, students who can prove a level of proficiency in a specific subject may receive an exemption from a core class. These waivers are granted on a case-by-case basis by the Tuck faculty after review of any relevant certificates of proficiency (e.g., a CPA can opt out of accounting) or tests administered by the faculty and discussion.

Course Enrollment
At the end of the first year, Tuck distributes a list of upcoming electives for the second year. Students can rank courses in which they are interested. Based on interest levels, Tuck will sometimes provide a second section of a popular course. While Tuck can guarantee that students will get to take the courses that interest them the most, they cannot guarantee a specific professor. This is one of the huge benefits to Tuck’s small size and personalized approach, as students are not forced to run through the bidding gauntlet or lottery systems present at so many other top schools.

Today’s installment was clipped from our Tuck Annual Report, one of 15 guides to the world’s top business schools, available for purchase on our site. If you’re ready to start building your own application for Tuck or other top MBA programs, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions consultant today!

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