Application Short-Answer Questions
- Share your short term goals. (50 words)
- Share your long term goals. (50 words)
- How did you arrive at these goals? (75 words)
- How will Tuck help you achieve these goals? (75 words)
Short-term goals. A “short-term goal” in this context refers to the job you hope to gain directly out of business school. The trick is to not make this goal so narrow that there’s only one job in the entire world that will satisfy you, while not making it so broad that you seem directionless. An example of a goal that’s too narrow would be: “Upon graduation, I will seek to be the Corporate Product Manager for Kiva Microfunds, focused on business development in the Latin American region.” The admissions committee might be concerned that if you are not successful in obtaining this position, you’ll be unhappy with your MBA experience. Instead, you might say something like:
I seek to leverage my experience in finance with my demonstrated passion for developing nations. Ideally, I would apply for a business development role for a philanthropic organization such as Kiva, Grameen Bank, or even traditional lenders such as Bank of America, which has started a microlending practice. Understanding that these positions are in high demand, my Plan B is to transition into Management Consulting in the developing world.
Long-term goals. Don’t be afraid to be ambitious with your long-term goals. How do you want to make an impact in your industry, in a new industry, or on the world? Over the course of their careers, more than 70% of Tuck alumni achieve top management positions such as CEO, CFO, partner, managing director, or owner. So don’t be afraid to dream big while offering a couple of thoughts on how you plan to utilize your MBA to achieve your goals.
Connect the dots. The admissions committee is interested in understanding how your prior experiences tie in with your goals. They want to hear your decision-making process in your own words. Clearly connect the dots among what you’ve done to this point, what you want to do in the future, and why you need an MBA from Tuck to get there. A strong essay will convey why you’re passionate about your goals. Conveying a sense of purpose based on previous experiences will set you apart.
Be specific. Think about why Tuck is the best MBA fit for you academically and professionally. You may decide to comment on the structure of academics, particularly strong professors and courses that fit with your goals, and recruiting opportunities for which Tuck has great connections. 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 portion of the essay you might weave together experiences from your campus visit, information sessions, or conversations with current students with your own needs:
As I spoke with members of the real estate club, I was impressed with how helpful the Tuck alumni are in securing internships and full-time positions. This is particularly valuable to me as I seek to make a career transition into the insular world of real estate finance.
Essay 1: Tuck students are aware of how their individuality adds to the fabric of Tuck. Tell us who you are and what you will contribute. (500 words)
Your overall goal. We always tell every applicant that they need to do two things to get into a top MBA program: 1) Stand out from other applicants (especially those with similar profiles), and 2) show how you fit with the school. If you come from a very common background (think management consultant, investment banker, or IT consultant from Asia), then you need to stand out even more, and this essay is your chance to do it. Resist the urge to go for a gimmick, but don’t be afraid to let your hair down a bit. What brought you to this point in your life? What do you like to do outside of school and work? What gets you up in the morning?
Paint a picture. The admissions committee wants to know who you are going to be in the classroom, on campus, and as a member of the Tuck community. Are you going to be super involved with lots of clubs and organizations? Are you going to be deeply involved with one? What topics and causes are you interested in? Which have you been active with in the past and how will you bring your previous experiences to bear at Tuck? What role do you currently play in the groups, teams, and organizations you’re a part of? Are you the fire starter? The doer? The facilitator?
One important caveat. Don’t try too hard to impress. It’s far more important for you to help the admissions committee get to know you (and want to admit you!) than to come up with an artful essay that doesn’t reflect the true you.
Essay 2: Tuck students are nice, and invest generously in one another’s success. Share an example of how you helped someone else succeed. (500 words)
To write a good essay for this prompt, it’s important to understand what Tuck means when they say “Tuck students are nice”, so be sure to read Tuck’s Evaluation Criteria.
Use the SAR method.
This essay is a classic candidate for the SAR (Situation–Action–Result) outline. The situation will likely be an opportunity or challenge where you may or may not have been required to help someone. What was the need? What were you trying to achieve? The action will be how you assisted. What did you do to help? What was your role in the other person’s success? Finally, the result will be the outcome. What did you accomplish and why was it significant? What positive impact did the experience have on you?
Tell a detailed story. Similar to using the SAR approach, a story should have a beginning, middle and end. Some of you may find it difficult to find enough to write about to reach the 500 word limit, but including details like what the voice in you heard in your head was telling you or what you imagined your boss or one of the other parties involved must have been thinking in that situation will help bring your story to life and demonstrate your emotional intelligence.
Essay 3 (Optional): Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere (e.g., atypical choice of evaluators, factors affecting academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.
It’s really optional. 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!