What MBA Class Size is Best for You?

In ClassThere are many different characteristics that can factor into selecting the right business school for you. From school reputation, recruiting, and alumni network to teaching style and professors, MBA programs come in all shapes and sizes. One aspect that is often overlooked in the business school search process is class size – not to be confused with the size of individual classes within a school or by the size of the entire student body.

Why is this so important?  The class size of your MBA factors into many aspects of your business school experience and will continue to influence your career many years after matriculation. MBA programs like the Tuck School at Dartmouth or the Johnson School at Cornell boast tight knit cultures that offer small class sizes. By contrast, programs such as Harvard Business School, Columbia Business School and the Wharton School at Penn boast large class sizes with deep alumni networks.

So what type of environment is right for you? Only you can say, but consider the following:

Personality
What setting do you thrive in? For some, a bigger class size would be too overwhelming, while others might thrive in this setting but feel intimidated by the intimacy of a smaller class size. The decision to pursue an MBA is an intensely personal one, as is the type of program you choose, so be sure to reflect on your preferences to ensure the class size of the program you choose will mesh well with your unique personality.

Career
How will the class size of your target program impact your future career options? With a larger student body often comes more resources and access to a wider breadth of recruiters, however, such large a large student population also brings the risk of potentially finding yourself “lost” in the crowd of your classmates. Do some research and ensure the programs and recruiters necessary to support your career development align with the type of class you are looking to join.

Network
Are you more inclined to build small, closer relationships or broadly connect with many? Bigger programs can allow you to better address both of these options, while smaller programs may restrict your ability to accomplish the latter.

However, it is important to note that the culture of a school’s student community may play a more important factor than even overall class size. For example, Northwestern’s Kellogg School (a program with large class sizes) has historically been known to have very collaborative students, which counteracts the stereotypes commonly associated with programs of its size. This just goes to show that an MBA program can’t always be judged on its size.

As always, research is the key go beyond common stereotypes associated with programs of all sizes and make an informed decision as you construct your target school list or make a matriculation decision.

Applying to business school? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can find more of his articles here.

Breaking Down the 2017 U.S. News Ranking of Top Business Schools: Part 2

US News College Rankings

Make sure you check out Part 1 of this article before you begin reading more of our thoughts on the recently released U.S. News and World Report‘s 2017 ranking of Best Business Schools. Now let’s take a deeper look at some of the surprises this year’s rankings presented:

 

Ranking surprises 
We were quite surprised to see Columbia (#10) come behind Tuck and Yale this year (ranked #8 and #9 respectively). Columbia has a very high yield of admitted applicants who choose to attend the school, and it has been working hard to foster a more collaborative culture. However, Tuck’s employment statistics and remarkably high percentage of graduates receiving a signing bonus (87%!) play well to the U.S. News methodology. We shouldn’t sell Tuck short, though, as other intangibles at Tuck not included in this ranking — such as student satisfaction, alumni network, and tight-knit culture — also rate among the highest of any MBA program.

Yale snagged Dean Ted Snyder from Chicago Booth back in 2011 after he presided over its precipitous rise in the rankings. His magic potion seems to be working at Yale as well, and we’ve dubbed him the “Rankings Whisperer.” He thoroughly understands the drivers of rankings and pushes all levers to the max to improve the standings of his schools. Yale has begun to move away from its ties to the social and nonprofit sectors, driving up average starting salaries and recruitment percentages, but perhaps distancing the program from its roots.

University of Virginia’s Darden School always seems to be the sleeper success story, and this year is no exception. With its best placement in more than a decade, Darden came in at #11. Darden’s reputation amongst peer schools and recruiters is not as strong as most other programs ranked in the top 15, but it has a very strong starting salary/bonus and other statistics.

Be wary of average salary numbers
The U.S. News ranking incorporates average salary plus signing bonus in its rankings, which in theory, is not a bad thing. After all, many applicants desire to gain an MBA, at least in part, to improve their salary potential. However, we recommend that you look at salaries just like the rankings themselves—by using the numbers in a broader context. After all, the difference in average salary and bonus between Harvard (ranked #1 overall) and Cornell (ranked #14 overall), is less than $5,000 per year.

If you analyze the data industry-by-industry (as we have), you’ll find that there’s little difference in salaries coming out of the top 10 to 15 programs. The biggest difference is the percentage of graduates who are able to land positions in highly selective industries, such as private equity. But here’s the rub: most of these highly selective industries are looking for extremely qualified candidates who have pre-MBA experience that fits their needs. So even if you manage to squeeze into Harvard or Stanford, if you don’t have the pre-MBA experience that these firms are looking for, then you’re going to have a tough time getting an interview, much less landing a job, in the highest paying private equity or venture capital positions.

Also, some roles, such as in investment banking, do not have as high of base salaries or signing bonuses, but a high percentage of your income will come from performance-based quarterly and annual bonuses. Other roles simply pay less, such as marketing and product management, but remain very attractive to a significant number of MBA graduates. Schools with a higher percentage of graduates taking these roles, such as Kellogg, can have lower overall salary averages, when their graduates make as much or more than peers within their chosen industry. None of this information can be captured in the U.S. News ranking.

Bottom line: Are you likely to make more money coming out of a program ranked #5 than ranked #20? Yes. But should you let this number dictate your decision between #7 and #12? Not necessarily. There are many other factors to consider, such as whether your target companies, industries, and so forth.

A holistic approach
We’ve provided a bit of context and analysis around this year’s ranking, and we encourage you to use these lists as merely a starting point in your research process. We encourage you to take advantage of our Veritas Prep Essential Guide to Top Business Schools to assist in your process, as it’s now available for free on our website!

In addition, if you’re interested in finding out your chances of admission to the top schools, you can sign up for a free profile evaluation to explore your individual strengths and weaknesses. Veritas Prep has worked with thousands of successful applicants to the top business schools, and we look forward to assisting you on your own journey!

Travis Morgan is the Director of Admissions Consulting for Veritas Prep and earned his MBA with distinction from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He served in the Kellogg Student Admissions Office, Alumni Admissions Organization and Diversity & Inclusion Council, among several other posts. Travis joined Veritas Prep as an admissions consultant and GMAT instructor, and he was named Worldwide Instructor of the Year in 2011. 

See All That Tuck Has to Offer During Their Upcoming Military Visit Day

Tuck School LogoDartmouth’s Tuck School of Business will be hosting a special day for future military applicants on Monday, April 18, 2016. If you are a currently in the military (or are a veteran) and are interested in pursuing your MBA, Tuck has planned a full day of events to help set you up for success in your business school application process.

There will be a chance to sit in on an MBA class and attend panels hosted by members of the Tuck Admissions Committee, current Military students, the Career Development Office and the Financial Aid Office. If you are planning to apply to the Tuck Class of 2019, you may also have the opportunity to schedule an admissions interview, if you are ready.

In addition, for those who arrive early before the event, members of the Tuck’s Armed Forces Alumni Association will be hosting an informal social for event attendees on Sunday, April 17, the night before the event.

Military Visit Day officially kicks off at 7:30am, Monday morning. Tuck looks forward to having you in Hanover!

Click here to register now! 

If you’re interested in applying to Tuck, or any other MBA program, call us at 1-800-925-7737 to speak with an MBA admissions expert today, or take our free MBA Admissions Profile Evaluation for personalized advice for your unique application situation! As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter.

Our Thoughts on Tuck’s MBA Application Essays for 2015-2016

Tuck MBA Application season at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business is officially underway with the release of the school’s 2015-2016 essay questions. Let’s discuss from a high level some early thoughts on how best to approach these new essay prompts. With all of your essays for Tuck, treat your responses holistically and try to paint a complete picture of your candidacy within the school-specific suite of essay questions.

Essay 1:

What are your short- and long-term goals? Why do you need an MBA to achieve those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck specifically? (500 words)

This essay is Tuck’s take on the common “Why MBA?”/“Why School X?”/“Career Goals” essays. One of the biggest challenges with this incarnation of this common question is the word limit. These are all common application prompts, but having to address them all in the same essay is a bit uncommon and really forces applicants to be concise with each point.

It is important to directly address each point while highlighting your strong fit with the Tuck MBA. Tuck is known for their strong culture and highly connected alumni base, so your evaluation by the Admissions Committee will be based on how well you will fit into the student community.

Tuck is a very specific MBA experience. From the small class size to the tight-knit community to the remote location, it is your job to convince the AdComm that Tuck is the best place for you and your development goals.

Essay 2:

Tell us about your most meaningful leadership experience and what role you played. How will that experience contribute to the learning environment at Tuck? (500 words)

This is a classic “Leadership” essay that really puts a responsibility on the applicant to clearly articulate the role they played in a leadership anecdote. Like many business schools, Tuck places a premium on leadership skills, so it is important to use this essay as a conduit to highlight your strengths.

Don’t limit yourself to just professional examples – this prompt is purposefully vague with which direction your response can go, so select the topic that best highlights your leadership skills. Make sure you connect the dots for the AdComm by also detailing out the impact the lessons learned from this experience had on you and your career, and how it will factor into your contributions as a Tuck MBA student. This area should be directly aligned with Tuck’s reputation for having a tight-knit community. Make sure your contributions to this community are clear, and reference specific programs at the school.

Just a few thoughts on the new batch of essays from Tuck, hopefully this will help you get started. For more thoughts on Tuck’s essays and deadlines, check out another post here.

If you are considering applying to Dartmouth Tuck, download our Essential Guide to Tuck, one of our 13 guides to the world’s top business schools. Ready to start building your applications for Tuck and other top MBA programs? Call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. As always, be sure to find us on Facebook, YouTube and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Dozie A. is a Veritas Prep Head Consultant for the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. His specialties include consulting, marketing, and low GPA/GMAT applicants. You can read more of his articles here

Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2015-2016

Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business recently released its application deadlines and essays for the Class of 2018. Tuck stuck with two required essays this year, and the questions are substantially the same, although both of them have been reworded a bit for this year’s application. These small changes suggest that the Tuck admissions team was mostly happy with the responses they saw from last year’s applicant pool.

Without further ado, here are Tuck’s deadlines and essays for the 2015-2016 application season, followed by our comments in italics:

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Deadlines
Early Action round: October 7, 2015
November round: November 4, 2015
January round: January 6, 2016
April round: April 4, 2016

Tuck’s deadlines are almost exactly the same as they were last year. Rather than joining other top MBA programs in pushing its first round deadline into September, Tuck decided to hold steady. Note that Tuck is one of the few top business schools to offer an Early Action admissions option. “Early Action” means that the decision is non-binding, although if you are admitted you will need to send in a $4,500 deposit by January 15 if you plan on enrolling. If Tuck is your top choice, or at least a very strong 2nd or 3rd choice, Early Action is a great way to demonstrate that you’re seriously interested in Tuck.

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Essays

  1. What are your short- and long-term goals? Why do you need an MBA to achieve those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck specifically? (500 words)

    This question has been substantially reworded since last year, although at its core, it’s still the same fairly standard “Why an MBA? Why this school?” question that many business schools ask. One notable change is actually the addition of the second question in there (“Why do you need an MBA?”), and the fact that the Tuck admissions team added this part suggests that perhaps not enough applicants were addressing this fairly obvious question last year.

    The other subtle change is how the last part of the prompt changed from “Why are you the best fit for Tuck?” to “Why are you interested in Tuck specifically?” No matter how the question is asked, Tuck really is still trying to get at the concept of fit here — what about Tuck interests you enough that you would consider devoting two years of your life to the program? Tuck takes the concept of fit very seriously when evaluating candidates — which makes sense, given its small class size and remote location — so you need to take it seriously, too.

    Keep in mind that anyone can browse the school’s website and drop some professors’ and clubs’ names into this essay; a response that will really stand out is one that is believable, shows that you’ve done your research and reveals something unique about you. In this way, the wording in last year’s essay prompt can be a great guide to writing a great response to this year’s question.

  2. Tell us about your most meaningful leadership experience and what role you played. How will that experience contribute to the learning environment at Tuck? (500 words)

    This question has also been tweaked for this year’s application. The meaningful difference is in the second part: While last year’s question asked you what you learned about yourself, this year’s version squeezes in the part that was dropped from Essay #1. Why does this matter? Because the part that was dropped (“What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?”) is still actually pretty important, and it’s hard to imagine writing a great essay that doesn’t at least briefly cover that material this year.

    Since you only have 500 words for the whole essay, being succinct will be important! You need to describe what the situation was, what action you specifically took, and what the results were (Situation-Action-Result, “SAR”). And devoting at least several sentences to how you grew or changed makes a lot of sense… So you’re left with less than half of essay to tie this all back to Tuck and how you will contribute. No problem, right?

    Are you grasping for a story to use for this essay? Don’t lose site of that important word in the first part of the question: leadership. Keep in mind that leadership shows itself in many forms, not just from being the official manager of a team. Perhaps you took on a tough problem that no one else wanted to deal with. Maybe you faced a tough ethical decision that kept you up at night. Or maybe you spotted an opportunity for how something could be done in a better way, and you convinced your peers to come around to this new way of doing things… All of these could make for rich stories to use in this essay!

    Finally, remember to tie it back to Tuck. Our advice here is not to force it (e.g., “… and that is why I will be a natural to lead the Tuck Finance Club”). The key is to tell an story that demonstrates your growth as a young, developing leader, and then to demonstrate that you understand what Tuck’s respectful, collaborative culture is all about.

  3. (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. (500 words)

    As we always tell applicants when it comes to the optional essay for any application, only answer this essay prompt if you need to explain a low undergraduate GPA or other potential blemish in your background. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you’re making excuses when you don’t need any. If you don’t have anything else you need to tell the admissions office, it is entirely okay to skip this essay!

Each year we work with dozens of MBA applicants who want to get into Tuck. If you’re ready to start working on your own candidacy, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Scott Shrum

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Essays and Deadlines for 2014-2015

Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business recently released its application essays and deadlines for the 2014-2015 admissions season. Like so many other top MBA programs these days, Tuck has eliminated an essay, going down to just two required essay prompts this year. The two essays that remain are taken directly from last year’s application (with just one subtle tweak to the second essay prompt).

Without further ado, here are Tuck’s MBA application deadlines and essays for the coming year, followed by our comments in italics:

Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Deadlines
Early Action round: October 8, 2014
November round: November 5, 2014
January round: January 6, 2015
April round: April 1, 2014

Tuck barely changed its application deadlines since last year. Note that Tuck is one of the few top business schools to offer an Early Action admissions option. “Early Action” means that the decision is non-binding, although if you are admitted you will need to send in a $4,500 deposit by mid-January, or else you will give up your seat. If Tuck is your top choice, or at least a very strong 2nd or 3rd choice, Early Action is a great way to signal your enthusiasm for the school. Also, if you want to know the fate of your Tuck application before most other schools’ Round 2 deadlines come, then aim for Early Action, which allows you to receive your decision by December 18. Applying in any other round means that you won’t receive your decision until mid-February.

Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Essays

  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? (500 words)

    This question carries over from last year with no changes, and so our advice mostly remains the same. Last year, Tuck dropped “what will you uniquely contribute to the community?” and replaced it with the more straightforward “why are you the best fit for Tuck?” This newer phrasing puts more explicit on one of our favorite subjects — fit with a school! — and we expect it will work better for all parties involved.

    Beyond that important change, this question is the fairly standard “Why an MBA? Why this school?” question that most business 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 take it seriously, too. The Tuck admissions committee knows that you’re probably applying to multiple top schools, and knows that it is a bit unique among programs… What really excites you about Tuck, and what about you should get the Tuck admissions team excited about adding you to the Tuck community?

  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? (500 words)

    This question also carried over from last year, with just one small (but important) change: Last year this prompt asked for a collaborative leadership experience, and now the “collaborative” part is gone. (Interestingly, they added the word “collaborative” last year, and have now gone back to the wording they used two years ago.) It’s easy to overstate the importance of this change, but it likely indicates that the admissions team felt that last year’s prompt led applicants to bit too much emphasis on teamwork and not quite enough on actual leadership. Note that those things are definitely not mutually exclusive, but err on the side of discussing a time when you really made something happen, vs. a time when you were an active participant in something that was already happening.

    You only have 500 words in which you need to describe what the situation was, what action you took, and what the results were (“Situation-Action-Result,” or “SAR” as we call it). Don’t overlook the second part of the question, about what you learned about yourself. What exactly happened is very important, but evidence of how you grew and how you got to know yourself better is even more critical. A great essay tells about how you learned valuable about yourself, such as a shortcoming or lack of experience, and how you were able to act and improve upon it. That’s the type of response that has the potential to stick with the application reader.

  3. (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. (500 words)

    As we always tell applicants when it comes to the optional essay for any business school, only answer this essay prompt if you need to explain a low undergraduate GPA or other potential blemish in your background. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you’re making excuses when you don’t need any. If you don’t have anything else you need to tell the admissions office, it is entirely okay to skip this essay!

If you want to get into Tuck, download our Essential Guide to the Tuck School of Business, one of our 14 guides to the world’s best MBA programs. If you’re ready to start building your own MBA application plan, call us at 1-800-925-7737 and speak with an MBA admissions expert today. And, as always, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

By Scott Shrum

Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014

Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business recently released its MBA application essays and deadlines for the Class of 2016. Tuck has bucked the trend among top business schools and left its essay count and total word count unchanged compared to what they were last year. The Tuck admissions team has made some subtle tweaks to its essay prompts, though, and we’ll dig into those below.

Without further ado, here are the Tuck School’s essays and deadlines for the coming year, followed by our comments in italics:

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Deadlines
Early Action round: October 9, 2013
November round: November 6, 2013
January round: January 3, 2014
April round: April 2, 2014
Continue reading “Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2013-2014”

What Life Is Like at the Tuck School of Business

Today’s guest post is from Courtney Jane, a Veritas Prep Admissions Consultant who focuses on the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. When she’s not consulting, she works as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, helping clients protect and grow their assets. Before going to Dartmouth to study business, Courtney graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, Political Science, and Communications.

The Tuck School at Dartmouth is a magical place. It is the quintessential college campus, and to me the most beautiful of all the Ivy’s – not a bad place to spend two years. I think the picture attached to this post sums it up as to why I chose to attend Tuck after also being accepted to Columbia, Wharton, and Cornell, among many others.
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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:
Continue reading “Regarding Tuck”

Tuck Launches New Center for Business & Society

Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business recently announced that its Allwin Initiative for Corporate Citizenship has a new name and a new mission. Now known as the Center for Business & Society, the new center “aims to prepare Tuck students for leadership in this increasingly complex, interconnected world,” according to the center’s website.

The original Allwin Initiative dates back to 2002, when it was created by a gift from the Tuck alumnus James Allwin, and was given the mission of training students in how to navigate the intersection between business and society. Such language is commonplace among top business schools now, but Tuck was on the vanguard of putting significant resources toward such training for its MBA students.
Continue reading “Tuck Launches New Center for Business & Society”

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Essays and Deadlines for 2012-2013

Darmouth’s Tuck School of Business recently published its application deadlines and admissions essay topics for the Class of 2015. Once again, as we predicted a couple of months ago, another top school has slimmed down its essay count this year. In this case, Tuck actually merged two questions into one, reducing the total number of essays you will need to write for your Tuck application.

Here are the school’s new deadlines and essays, followed by our comments in italics:

Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Deadlines
Early Action round: October 10, 2012
November round: November 7, 2012
January round: January 3, 2013
April round: April 2, 2013
Continue reading “Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Essays and Deadlines for 2012-2013”

More MBA Programs Move into Online Learning

Just in the past week two top-ranked business schools announced new plans to add online learning components to their MBA programs. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Dartmouth’s Tuck school will deliver some of its introductory prerequisite classes online, helping students prepare for the school’s core curriculum on their own time, at their own pace.

At the same time, UC Berkeley’s Haas School has announced plans to launch three digital classroom pilots. Haas is also using its first foray into online learning as a way to deliver prerequisite courses for its Evening & Weekend MBA Program.
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Four Things That Make Tuck Different

Every year we get countless inquiries from applicants about Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. Given the school’s tight-knit community and its successful track record in placing grads in high-paying careers, it’s no wonder that so many applicants are drawn to Tuck every year. What does surprise us, though, is how many Tuck applicants don’t really know whether the school is good fit for them. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they begin the application process.

Are you thinking about applying to Tuck? If so, why? How do you know if it’s really is a good fit for you? More importantly, how do you know the Tuck admissions team will think you’re a good fit for the school? Today we present four things that make the Tuck School of Business unique among top-ranked MBA programs:
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Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Essays for 2011-2012

Darmouth’s Tuck School of Business recently published its application deadlines and admissions essay topics for the Class of 2014. You may notice that Tuck’s questions have changed very little since last year, suggesting that the school’s current batch of essay topics works well for the admissions committee. By “works well,” we mean that the essays help admissions officers get to know applicants better, and helps them separate out the great candidates from the merely good ones.

Also, note that Tuck does not have hard word limits for its essays, but the school does provide some rough guidance: “Although there is no formal restriction on the length of your response, most applicants use, on average, 500 words for each essay and you should work hard to try to keep your answers around that length.”
Continue reading “Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Essays for 2011-2012”

Tuck Is a Good Fit for You If…

We love to work with applicants who want to apply to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. The school’s close-knit culture and rigorous curriculum make it a school that everyone should look at closely, particularly those who are interested in pursuing careers in the Northeast. But, besides knowing that it’s a top-ranked school with a strong community, how well do you really know Tuck? How do you know if it’s a good fit for you? And, perhaps more importantly, how do you know if the admissions committee will decide you’re a good fit for Tuck?

Today we look at six reasons why Tuck may be a good fit for you:
Continue reading “Tuck Is a Good Fit for You If…”

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Essays for 2010-2011

Darmouth’s Tuck School of Business recently published its admissions essay topics for the 2010-2011 application season. You’ll see that some of the questions have changed a bit vs. last year’s essays, although Tuck still hits on the same themes this year. That suggests that the school still feels that these themes (e.g., leadership and overcoming adversity) work well for the school in terms of finding applicants who are good Tuck material.

Note that Tuck does not have hard word limits for its essays, but the school does provide some rough guidance: “Although there is no restriction on the length of your response, most applicants use, on average, 500 words for each essay.”

Here are Tuck’s essays, followed by our comments in italics:

Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions 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? (If you are applying for a joint or dual degree, please explain how the additional degree will contribute to those goals.)

    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 be sure that you can present a compelling argument for why Tuck in particular is the right place for you to earn your MBA. If your answer has everything to do with you and nothing to do with Tuck, then you probably have more work to do in researching the school.

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

    This question is new this year, and replaces another leadership question. Interestingly, last year’s question was more specific and contained more clues as to what exactly Tuck looks for in its applicants. As we noted last year, the previous question was maybe a bit ambitious in terms of how much an applicant could cover in about 500 words. Still, the advice we gave last year remains mostly the same: Keep your response focused on one single situation, what action you took, and what the results were (Situation-Action-Result,” or “SAR” as we call it at Veritas Prep). Note the last part of the question, about what you learned about yourself. What exactly happened is very important, but so is evidence of self-reflection. Ideally you can show that you learned something about yourself, such as a shortcoming or lack of experience, that you were able to act on and improve. That’s the richest type of response one can give here.

  3. What is the greatest challenge or hurdle you have overcome, either personally or professionally, and how did you manage to do so?

    This question is also new, and replaces one about the toughest criticism you ever received. While this question is certainly different, in many respects it addresses the same core attribute that Tuck wants to see in its applicants: The ability to objectively take a challenge and setback and turn it into something positive, coming out better in the end. It’s interesting that Tuck had gotten away from the “toughest feedback” or “biggest failure” questions, since those tend to be very revealing. This question is subtly different, but there are many responses that could work for a “failure” question that could still work well here. In fact, writing a response about overcoming a failure or weakness will usually more powerful than answering with “My biggest challenge was completing a marathon.” While that’s impressive, it’s far less revealing than a story about a time when you had to make a more fundamental change to who you are as a person and as a leader.

  4. 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?

    This is a good chance 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. Don’t just think of “diversity” in terms of race or national origin!

  5. (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.

    As always, only use this essay if you need to explain a low undergraduate GPA or other potential blemish in your background. No need to harp on a minor weakness and sound like you’re making excuses when you don’t need any. More generally, if you don’t have anything else you need to tell the admissions office, it’s okay to skip this essay!

Applying to Tuck this year? Download our Tuck Annual Report, one of 15 completely free guides to the world’s top business schools. And, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow us on Twitter!

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Deadlines for 2010-2011

Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business recently released its application deadlines for the coming admissions season. Here they are, followed by our comments in italics:

Tuck MBA Admissions Deadlines
Early Action Round: 10/13/10
November Round: 11/10/10
January Round: 1/3/11
April Round: 4/1/11


Not many changes here vs. the 2009-2010 season. In fact, none of Tuck’s deadlines changed by more than three days since last year. Note that Tuck is one of the few top business schools to offer an Early Action admissions option. “Early Action” means that the decision is non-binding, although if you are admitted you will need to send in a $4,000 deposit by January 12, or else you will give up your seat. If Tuck is your top choice, or at least a very strong 2nd or 3rd choice, Early Action is a great way to signal your enthusiasm for the school.

Applying to Tuck this year? Download our Tuck Annual Report, one of 15 completely free guides to the world’s top business schools. And, be sure to subscribe to this blog and follow us on Twitter!

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!

Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Essays and Deadlines for 2009-2010

Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business 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 spread the word that its admissions essays will carry over unchanged from last year.

As always, our comments follow 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. “Early Action” means that 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 top 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.”)

  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?

    (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 be sure that you can present a compelling argument for why Tuck in particular is the right place for you to earn your MBA.)

  2. 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 tie into 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.)

  3. 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.)

  4. 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?

    (This is a good chance 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!)

For more advice on applying to Tuck, visit the Veritas Prep Tuck information page, or download our FREE Veritas Prep Annual Reports!And, be sure to follow us on Twitter!

Dartmouth (Tuck) Admissions Decisions Coming on Friday

On Monday Karen Marks, Tuck’s Associate of Recruiting and Enrollment, wrote a post on Tuck’s blog regarding the school’s upcoming decisions for their November round. (Tuck’s admissions deadlines aren’t called Round 1 and Round 2, etc. Instead, they have an Early Round, a November Round, January Round, and an April Round.) This Friday Tuck’s November Round applicants will learn their fates: accepted, denied, or waitlisted.

The substance of Karen’s post relates to the questions that Tuck’s waitlisted applicants will likely have:

First, let me explain how we decide to waitlist someone. Candidates are placed on the waitlist for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we need more information about an applicant, but see many positive qualities and are interested enough to seek additional data. Sometimes we have questions about English or quantitative proficiency, so we will encourage the candidate to retake their GMAT or Toefl or to complete additional coursework. In other cases there are no particular areas of concern but we are unable to offer admission at that point in our cycle.

Tuck is one of the better schools in terms of openly communicating with waitlisted candidates. If you are waitlisted by Tuck, you will be assigned a single point of contact, and that person will give you feedback on what things you may be able to do to answer any outstanding questions that the admissions committee has. However, if they tell you that there isn’t any other information that they need, you should believe them — they have no incentive not to keep you fully informed of how they view your candidacy.

If there’s big news in your life, though, this is always a good reason to reach out to your Tuck point of contact and let them know — such as if you just got a promotion on your job, took a new job, or have recently achieved something else significant.

In terms of your chances of being admitted off of the waitlist and expected timing, Karen had this to say:

Historically, we have admitted people from the waitlist every year – but the number varies, as does the profile of those admitted off the waitlist. Most of the time we do not admit waitlisted candidates until later in the cycle – usually not until the Spring.

So, be patient, follow the rules, take all the feedback you can get, and good luck!

To get a feel for your chances of being admitted to Tuck and other top MBA programs, try Veritas Prep’s Business School Selector.

Dartmouth (Tuck) on MBA Admissions Interviews

Today Tuck’s Associate Admissions Director, Karen Marks, wrote a post on the Tuck blog about how the admissions office handles MBA admissions interviews. Her post says a lot about how the schools views applicants and how interviews fit into the overall Tuck admissions process.

Unlike many other top business schools, the Tuck School of Business has an open interview policy, meaning that any applicant can schedule an interview rather than waiting for an invitation from the admissions office. Tuck really looks at whether or not you schedule an interview (and make the trip to New Hampshire) as a strong indicator of your interest in the school. Marks explains that you are by no means ruining your chances of admissions by not scheduling an interview and visiting the campus, especially if you face circumstances that would make the trip difficult (e.g., you live far away, have tight finances, or have other obligations that prevent you from traveling). However, if you’re serious about Tuck, know that the most powerful way to show this is by visiting the campus and conducting an on-campus interview.

Regarding interview format, there’s a good chance you will be interviewed by a second-year student. Marks makes a point of emphasizing that these interviews carry just as much weight as those conducted by Tuck admissions officers. And meeting a second-year student gives you a great chance to further get a feel for how well you’ll fit with the Tuck culture.

Finally, Marks attempts to put an end to anxiety that domestic applicants feel over whether or not they get invited to interview by the Tuck admissions office. She sums up it all up by saying:

The bottom line is that it is definitely a positive sign if we invite you interview, in that it indicates our desire to learn more about you, but don’t read too much into it if we don’t extend an invitation. Most domestic candidates schedule their own visits, and we are unlikely to prompt you to do so.

So, don’t stress over whether or not you’re invited to interview with Tuck. But, if you follow their (and our) advice and schedule your own interview with the school, then this should be a moot point!

If you’re preparing for your interview with Tuck or any other top business school, Veritas Prep’s MBA admissions interview preparation service can help you maximize your chances of success.

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Deadlines 2008-2009

We posted information about Tuck’s 2008-2009 admissions essays a couple of weeks ago. Now, here are the school’s application deadlines:

Dartmouth (Tuck) Application Deadlines
Early Action: October 15, 2008
November Round: November 12, 2008
January Round: January 7, 2009
April Round: April 1, 2009

Note that Early Action is not binding, but successful Early Action applicants must submit a $3,500 deposit by January 12, 2009. You will barely start hearing Round 1 decisions from most other top schools by this date, so only apply to Tuck via Early Action if you’re sure that the school is right for you. (We happen to think it’s a terrific program.)

To get a good feel for your chances of admission to Tuck and other top MBA programs, try the Veritas Prep Business School Selector.