Regarding Tuck

Today’s post comes from a Veritas Prep MBA admissions consultant and Tuck alumna. She shares a recent conversation with a client about Tuck and what students can expect if they spend two years in Hanover.

Earlier this spring, I received the following inquiry:

“I think I would like to seriously consider Tuck as an option. Obviously the academics are wonderful, it is well known in general management, it is extremely well established, and it is not so far from my home. I visited Dartmouth when I was applying to undergrad, and Hanover seemed small, without much to offer. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience there?”

This was my reply:

“Regarding Tuck, I think it is best to visit the school in general, especially if you are at all unsure about whether it is the right environment for you. Having attended a large undergraduate program at the University of Virginia (with a class size of roughly 2,000 students), I was curious about the educational experience offered by smaller programs. Tuck was even smaller at that time than it is today – there were only 180 students per class – and I do believe its small size and the strength of its core curriculum were among its strongest assets.

In comparison to the post-collegiate days I spent in Washington, D.C. (which I loved), Hanover felt like a winter wonderland – a seemingly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for someone who was likely to be in a large metropolitan area for the foreseeable future following grad school. All those years ago, I remember thinking: why would I study in Manhattan, if I planned to work there afterwards, too? Certainly, many people have good reasons for pursuing their MBA studies in urban environments, but I’m just offering an alternative perspective.

I fully took advantage of life in New England, never having lived in such a climate before. I learned to play ice hockey and to ski. I had never seen snow sparkle quite the way it did in Hanover, untouched by the dirt of city roads and gentler than the dangerous snow/sleet combination I grew up with in the foothills of Virginia. I remember distinctly looking down one night and thinking I was standing on a carpet of diamonds.

Also, you’ll be incredibly busy during your first year at Tuck…so, frankly, I think it is lovely to be in a place that is relatively serene, with fewer distractions than in big cities. You don’t have to suffer from the “fear of missing out” feeling that seems to pervade our society these days. Indeed following grad school, I enjoyed city life in Boston for several years. My next move was to Los Angeles – an even larger city – where I live presently. So I am really glad I had that time in Hanover.

Furthermore, from that small town of Hanover, I managed to get to where I wanted to go. Since I was in a three-year joint degree program, I had two summer internships – one in the San Francisco Bay Area and the other in Singapore – both of which I obtained as a result of my affiliation with Tuck. That said, I still believe Tuck’s strongest network is in the Northeast; thus, I am a bit of an outlier, given the locations of my summer internships and the fact that I am now in Los Angeles. Since you are interested in general management and you want to be in the Northeast, I think that Tuck would especially make a lot of sense for you from an academic and career perspective.

Finally, you would have to determine whether the school culture is a fit for your personality. Even though Tuckies are a tight-knit group and are typically supportive of each other, it is not the case that everyone is in love with everyone, so to speak. So you have to learn to thrive in an environment in which you encounter different types of personalities in close quarters. While you can escape to nature or some cultural event at the HOP, what it comes down to is this: eventually you have to deal with the issues you face, because the community is small. From my vantage point, that kind of life experience means a lot for your personal growth, which in turn will also help you professionally.

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