Tuck’s four essay questions seek to evaluate your seriousness as a candidate and your potential as a future professional. When preparing your app, try to consistently keep in mind that Dartmouth’s MBA admissions team is seeking applicants who display four particular attributes: they’re “smart, nice, accomplished, and aware.”
Essay 1: Tuck students can articulate how the distinctive Tuck MBA will advance their aspirations. Why are you pursuing an MBA and why Tuck? (300 words)
Tuck wants to see how realistic and attractive your short-term goals are, as well as how impactful your long-term goals will be. When describing your professional objectives, try to understand if they create a sensible narrative relative to your career history. Tuck doesn’t just want dreamers; it wants individuals who have a clear sense of how they will achieve their dreams.
For the second part of the essay, when discussing Tuck, try to show how it specifically provides a competitive advantage for your plans over other MBA programs—naturally, you don’t want to mention other schools in this answer but, ideally, you should be able to articulate what uniquely attracts you to Dartmouth Tuck. In other words, you should attempt to explain what parts of the MBA program (structure, courses, professors, events, clubs, network, location, tools, etc.) will help you to achieve your goals. If the admissions committee gets a sense that you didn’t fully research the program or that you didn’t flesh out your objectives, they may dismiss your application for a lack of resolve.
Essay 2: Tuck students are aware of how their individuality adds to the fabric of Tuck. Tell us who you are. (300 words)
To begin to approach this question, you need to take the time to understand Tuck. As with any top MBA program, you should investigate Dartmouth beyond what you can read on the web, by connecting with those who are involved in the school. Visiting the school, joining live events or webinars, and speaking with current students and alumni are excellent ways to grow to understand what the “fabric of Tuck” is really made out of.
Once you have a clearer perspective on the school, you’ll be able to better identify those of your attributes, whether personal or professional, that can most contribute to the program. As you write about those qualities, don’t hesitate to root them in stories that come from your lived experience, even when they expose a personal or complicated side of your life; Tuck is truly interested in learning who you are. It may also be helpful to link those personal attributes to ways in which you can contribute to Tuck’s student body, with your unique experiences and skills, such as through extracurricular participation.
Essay Question 3: Tuck students are encouraging, collaborative and empathetic, even when it is not convenient or easy. Describe a meaningful experience in which you exemplified one or more of these attributes. (300 words)
Many of our applicants are a bit taken aback by this essay, as they may connect “encouraging, collaborative and empathetic” behavior to that of being weak. However, as Tuck explains on their criteria page, they aren’t looking for candidates who are pushovers but rather for those who have high emotional intelligence and a strong sense of integrity. Basically, you can’t be a good team player if you’re not willing to help your teammates.
When choosing an example, try to select one that was both trying and impactful. Once you’ve found the right instance, build an engaging narrative that explains the specifics of the situation and how your reaction exemplified the type of character Tuck is looking for, without exaggeration or self-aggrandizement. And, as you write, don’t forget that you’re meant to be describing how you engaged with others, so you should focus the conclusion of the essay more outwards than inwards.
Essay Question 4 – 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. (300 words)
Even if you believe that you’ve written a brilliant essay for another school and it would be a shame if the admissions committee at Tuck didn’t read it, do not include such an essay in this section. This optional question should only be used to address red flags within your application. But, if there is something negative about your profile, don’t miss the opportunity to discuss it here because, if you leave an issue unexplained, Dartmouth will likely assume the worst reason as the cause.
When bringing up a particular problem in your application, try, if you can, to show how it’s unlikely to repeat itself. For instance, if you performed poorly at one point during your university studies because of an illness, explaining your circumstances and pointing out your success in university-level courses that you took later on could help resolve any concerns relative to your educational acumen.
Essay Question 5 – To be completed by all reapplicants: How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally. (300 words)
As a reapplicant, you need to differentiate yourself not only from fellow applicants but also from your past self. How have you changed positively since you first applied? What circumstances have changed for you professionally or otherwise? For instance, you might have received a promotion, changed jobs, started an entrepreneurial project, clarified your post-MBA goals or increased your engagement in community initiatives. In whatever way you’ve developed, try to explain clearly and effectively why Tuck should be able to distinguish your new profile from the one it considered before.
If you’re looking for guidance on how to build the most impactful app for Tuck, connect with our Senior Admissions Experts today. To find out more about the technical requirements of the application, you can visit Dartmouth’s official site.