Nuts & Bolts
Class organization. Each incoming class at Tuck is divided into four sections of approximately 70-75 students each. These sections are randomly assigned, although Tuck makes sure that each section has a balanced mix of backgrounds. The sections are reassigned every term, so by the end of the first year, students have worked closely with everyone in their class.
Study groups. The MBA Program Office also assigns study groups in the first year 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.
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.
Grading policies. There are four passing grades at Tuck: Honors (H), Satisfactory Plus (S+), Satisfactory (S), and Low Pass (LP). The distribution considers both absolute and relative standards. Faculty members outline expectations at the beginning of each course, and students rarely receive failing grades. Nearly all students apply themselves to their studies, so most students are likely to be disappointed if they “loop” a class (i.e., receive a grade of LP, or low pass). However, many students who arrive at Tuck are interested in the overall experience and are willing to accept a grade of S if it means that they can have more time for other activities that contribute to their Tuck experience. In keeping with Tuck’s supportive atmosphere, students do not typically discuss or advertise their grades.
Grade disclosure. Companies recruiting at Tuck are permitted to ask students about grades and request transcripts from the job candidate. However, candidates do not have to respond to grade inquiries, nor are they required to comply with transcript requests during the interview process. However, if candidates divulge information about their grades, they are bound by Tuck’s Honor Code to provide data that accurately reflect their school record.
On the one hand, the school’s partial-disclosure policy supports the atmosphere of teamwork and cooperation that characterizes the Tuck community. On the other hand, the academic and recruiting environment at Tuck remains competitive, because students are aware that recruiters may inquire about their grades. Some companies develop a reputation for asking candidates about grades in spite of the policy.