Dartmouth Mba Admissions Essays

Dartmouth / Tuck Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018

With the release of the 2017-2018 Dartmouth / Tuck MBA essays, we wanted to offer some guidance for applicants targeting the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth for their business school studies.

Tuck has maintained the length of the essay section of its application, once again asking for two essays of approximately 500 words each.  New applicants are also given the space to address any weaknesses in their application while re-applicants need to explain their recent growth.  In regards to content, Tuck has revived its focus on the MBA being a “critical next step” to one’s goals and expanded upon the theme of wisdom.

Dartmouth / Tuck Essay Topic Analysis 2017-2018

Let’s take a closer look at each of this season’s Dartmouth / Tuck essay questions:

Essay 1

What are your short and long-term goals? Why is an MBA a critical next step toward achieving those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck specifically? (500 words)

This is a fairly straightforward career goals essay, asking applicants to explain their post-MBA career objectives, how an MBA would support these plans and why Tuck specifically meets those needs.

First, applicants should explain the specifics of their post-MBA plans.  Establishing your long-term vision first would lend meaning to your short-term plans, as it can help the reader to know your destination before the path.  So, explain your broader 5-10 year plan, even going beyond the “what” and the “where” to the “why”—in other words, the impact you hope to make on an organization, sector, consumer base, or region. Then, applicants should outline their short-term plans very specifically, including both the position the candidate hopes to hold immediately after an MBA, along with 1-2 companies one plans to target. This short-term goal should lead naturally to the long term.

In regards to how an MBA would help you achieve your goals, it would make sense to briefly comment on your work experience to date to establish the skills you already possess; this sets up the gap in your skill set that an MBA would fill.  This phase of your discussion should describe the skills and knowledge you hope to gain from an MBA with an eye to your future plans. Forging specific connections between the skills you hope to gain (whether in class or outside of it) and your future plans will show the adcom that you have a sound understanding of how an MBA will prepare you for success.

In addition to discussing the ways the Tuck MBA would prepare you to accomplish your professional goals, it will also be important to comment on the ways that you would contribute to the learning experience of your fellow students. Navigating this issue will require a fair amount of research, as it will be important to identify features of the MBA program that are a good fit with one’s goals, background and/or interests. Discussing some focused ways that your skills and experiences would positively affect this close-knit community (in a modest manner, of course) is key to your response here, since the Tuck adcom also looks for applicants who will change the program for the better. Taking the time to learn about the school’s special programs and extracurricular activities–whether through a visit to campus, conversation with alumni or reading the Clear Admit School Guide to Tuck–will naturally pay dividends here.

Essay 2

Tuck’s mission is to educate wise leaders to better the world of business. Wisdom encompasses the essential aptitudes of confident humility, about what one does and does not know; empathy, towards the diverse ideas and experiences of others; and judgment, about when and how to take risks for the better.

With Tuck’s mission in mind, and with a focus on confident humility, tell us about a time you:

  • received tough feedback,
  • experienced failure, or
  • disappointed yourself or others.

How did you respond, and what did you learn about yourself as a result? (500 words)

This prompt presents applicants with a range of experiences they might discuss and we recommend that applicants begin by reflecting on their honest answer to each of the three options. While you may naturally gravitate toward one of them, generating at least two potential topics for each and then evaluating strategically will help you hone in on your best option in light of the following. Be sure to consider your broader application content (what will be tackled in the first essay, your recommendations, résumé, and data forms) and choose a story that is a good fit in terms of your overall candidate positioning.

Once you’ve got your list of examples, we recommend that you cross-reference each with the aptitudes that Tuck outlines. With the expansion on the mission of wise leaders this year, the adcom has signaled that fit with the program’s values is very important to them, so this should take priority in your topic selection. That is, handling feedback with humility or learning how to better assess risk in light of a failure will be better choices than touting an experience that isn’t a fit with Tuck’s definition of wisdom. Select the experience that feels truest to you while also allowing you to demonstrate that you’re the kind of student Tuck wants to admit.

In responding to the second part of the prompt, the anecdote will need to be balanced with a more reflective discussion of one’s own thought process and, in the end, personal development.  We encourage all applicants to maintain a positive tone, selecting some areas for improvement on which they have already made some demonstrable progress.  The point of this essay is to show Tuck wisdom–that you demonstrate confident humility, empathy and judgment as well as provide insight into your own leadership abilities and motivation to improve these skills.

Optional Essay

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 word limit encouraged)
The admissions committee provides some clear guidance about “allowable” topics for this response, indicating that it will be best used to address liabilities in one’s application. It’s possible that there are other elements of one’s background that would be appropriate and not covered elsewhere in one’s application, for example an anticipated promotion or an element of one’s identity not covered in the program’s data forms, though the wording of this prompt suggests that it should be used sparingly, with applicants making an effort to fully represent their candidacies within the required elements of the application.

Reapplicant Essay

How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally. (500 word limit encouraged, to be completed by all reapplicants)
This response asks repeat applicants to comment on outward steps they have taken to enhance their applications–for example, retaking the GMAT, asking for more responsibility at work, or stepping up their involvement in a community organization)–while also providing some more introspective commentary on how they’ve grown since they first applied to Tuck. Reapplicants will, therefore, want to offer a balance of commentary in this essay, remarking on how they’ve proactively taken measures to become a stronger applicant, as well as on how their skills, career goals, and if applicable, appreciation of the Tuck MBA, have evolved in recent months.

Clear Admit Resources
Thanks for reading our analysis of this year’s Tuck MBA essay topics. As you work on your Tuck MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s Dartmouth offerings:

Posted in: Admissions Tips, Application Tips, Essay Topic Analysis, Essays

Schools: Dartmouth / Tuck


These instructions have been prepared as a guide for completing the Tuck School of Business MBA Program Application. Please use the links below for specific information or to download the complete application instructions.


General Information

As you complete your application, please keep in mind the following Tuck Admissions policies:

  • Applicants to Tuck are expected to adhere to Tuck’s Academic Honor Principle: “Integrity and honesty in the performance of academic activities, both in the classroom and outside, are essential to the educational experience for which the Tuck School has always stood. Each member of the Tuck community accepts the personal responsibility to uphold and defend high ethical standards in all academic endeavors, and to promote an atmosphere in which honest and imaginative academic work may flourish.”

  • Tuck expects that the work contained in your application, including the essays and all accompanying materials, is completely accurate and exclusively your own. Content should not be provided by outside sources, such as consultants.

  • Letters of Reference (LORs) are to be completed by the recommender and no one else. Drafting, writing or translating your own reference, even if asked to do so by your recommender, is inappropriate and a violation of both the terms of our application process and Tuck’s Academic Honor Principle. Applicants are expected to inform recommenders of this policy.

  • Tuck reserves the right to verify all information and references contained within your application. Tuck further reserves the right to rescind an offer of admission or terminate a student’s enrollment should it discover that any misrepresentation or omission occurred in the application process, or if it learns that you have engaged in behavior prior to matriculation that indicates a lack of judgment or integrity. In some cases, Tuck may require an applicant to provide additional verification of the information and documents submitted as part of his or her application and/or may require authorization for the release of such information. If an applicant is unable or unwilling to do so, Tuck reserves the right to cease consideration of the application, to withdraw any offer of admission already made, and/or to terminate a student’s enrollment.

  • All applications and deposits must be received in the Tuck Office of Admissions or the Office of Financial Aid on the due date specified (5:00 P.M. ET). Please review the key deadlines posted on our website.

  • All application and supplemental material submitted become the property of the Tuck School of Business and cannot be returned.

  • If you experience technical problems with the application or have any questions, please contact Tuck Admissions at tuck.admissions@dartmouth.edu or 603-646-3162.

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Early Action

For reapplicants or prospective students who have completed their business-school research and know that Tuck is their first choice, the Early Action round is a great option. Early Action provides you with the certainty of learning whether you have been offered admission to Tuck no later than mid-December, see important dates for exact timing. This offer is nonbinding. Any applicant who is accepted in the Early Action round and who would like to secure a spot in the incoming class will be required to submit a nonrefundable deposit of $4,500—which is applied against tuition—by the January deadline indicated on important dates.

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Information for International Applicants

International applicants may apply in any round; however, for applicants who cannot secure a U.S. visa by August 1, admission will be deferred to the following year. U.S. visa eligibility forms will be made available to all accepted international students. These forms cannot be processed until the student has paid his/her enrollment deposit. Verification of financial support is required for all enrolling international students. Tuck provides assistance in facilitating the U.S. visa process through the Dartmouth Office of Visa and Immigration Services (OVIS). Please visit www.dartmouth.edu/~ovis for further details.

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Consortium for Graduate Study in Management

Tuck is a proud member of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management. The Consortium has a separate application form and deadlines which are listed on important dates. Applicants choosing to apply to Tuck through the Consortium should complete the Consortium application in lieu of the Tuck application.

It is very important to note that, as with all candidates, Consortium applicants are strongly encouraged to visit the Tuck campus and to schedule an applicant-initiated interview. Interviews are scheduled online on a first-come, first-served basis and must be completed by the published deadline for the round for which you are applying.

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Information For Reapplicants

Historically, Tuck has looked favorably upon reapplicants who have been able to strengthen their candidacy in ways such as new leadership opportunities, additional coursework that addresses academic concerns, or improved results on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or GRE General Test. Each reapplicant is required to submit a new application, essays (including the reapplicant essay), Letters of Reference (LORs), and a nonrefundable application fee. We strongly encourage all reapplicants to schedule an on-campus interview to better help us understand how they have strengthened their candidacy. Reapplicants who applied last year (between July and April) only need to submit one new LOR. The new LOR should be from a third person who was not one of your recommenders last year.

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Information for MBA Holders

Tuck does not accept applications from individuals who have already earned an MBA. If you hold a similar graduate degree from another country that is not an MBA, we will consider your application; however, you must provide us with an additional essay explaining why you need an MBA in addition to your current degree. We consider the Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PDGM) from Indian universities to be the equivalent of an MBA and typically do not admit applicants who already hold such a degree.

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Information for Joint- and Dual-Degree Applicants

Tuck offers several joint- and dual-degree programs. Applicants who are interested in these programs must apply separately to each school. If a student is admitted to both schools, Tuck will assist the student with specific curricular details. Please see the Joint and Dual Degree Applicants section of Applicant Resources for additional information.

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Deferred Admission

Tuck grants a limited number of deferred admission requests each year. One-year deferrals are only granted for exceptional, unforeseen circumstances. Admitted students must enroll before requesting a deferral, and requests must be submitted in writing. Please contact us at tuck.admissions@dartmouth.edu or 603-646-3162 for more information.

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Nonrefundable Application Fee

Tuck requires each applicant to submit a nonrefundable application fee. The online application fee is $250 and is payable by Visa or MasterCard. The application fee is waived for participants of the on-campus Tuck Business Bridge Program and for U.S. military personnel past and present. Please contact us at tuck.admissions@dartmouth.edu or 603-646-3162 if you have any questions about payment.

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Campus Visits and Interviews

We strongly encourage all applicants, including international applicants, to visit the campus in order to experience Tuck’s educational approach and community firsthand. During your visit, you will have an opportunity to tour the campus, attend a class (depending on availability), attend a question and answer session, and meet students, faculty, and staff. You may also interview during your visit if you schedule your interview in advance.

At Tuck, we believe that strong interpersonal skills are essential for success as a leader and a team member. Accordingly, admissions interviews play a critical role in the evaluation process and give us a more complete understanding of you as a candidate. Although an interview is not a required component of the application, we strongly recommend that all applicants (including reapplicants, Consortium applicants, and international applicants) schedule an on-campus interview.

Applicant-Initiated Interviews

Tuck offers all applicants the opportunity to interview on campus in Hanover. Interviews are scheduled online on a first-come, first-served basis and must be completed by the published deadline for the round for which you are applying. See Visit and Interview at Tuck to schedule an on-campus interview. Please note that all applicant-initiated interviews are conducted on campus only. 

Committee-Initiated Interviews

If you have not been able to come to Hanover for an on-campus interview by the published deadline, the admissions committee may invite you to interview. Such invitations are made only after an initial review of a candidate’s application. Unfortunately, we cannot invite all applicants to interview; therefore, we underscore the importance of taking advantage of applicant-initiated on-campus interviews. Committee-initiated interviews will be conducted on campus, off campus, or by telephone/video call.

Tuck’s Interviewers

Interviews are conducted by Admissions Committee members or Admissions Associates (selected second-year students). All interviews are evaluated equally, regardless of interviewer, location, or how initiated.

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Academic Transcripts

You will be required to scan and upload a copy of the academic transcript (not diplomas) issued by the institution(s) from which you obtained your undergraduate (bachelor’s or first) degree and any advanced/graduate degrees. If your transcript is not in English, you must scan and upload a copy of it that has been translated into English. Transcripts and translated transcripts should include the following kinds of information: course names, course numbers, dates, grades (including incompletes, failed courses, and withdrawals), and grade modes (pass/fail). If you attended institutions other than those from which your degrees were granted, you will be required to scan and upload your academic transcripts from these institutions (transfer coursework, domestic or study-abroad programs, post-graduate non-degree coursework, etc.).

When scanning and uploading your academic transcripts, please keep in mind the following:

  • Remember to scan both sides of your transcript (provided that the second side is not blank).

  • Do not scan and upload a copy of your diploma.

  • Do not upload a password-protected file or a file that has macros in it. This will cause the upload process to fail.

  • View each uploaded document to make sure it is legible.

If admitted to Tuck, you will need to provide us with official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate courses taken, as well as any transfer courses, study-abroad programs, or post-college non-degree courses, within 30 days from when you submit your enrollment deposit. This requirement also applies to applicants who received their undergraduate or graduate degrees from Dartmouth College. Tuck reserves the right to rescind an offer of admission or terminate a student’s enrollment should any misrepresentation or omission occur. If your official transcript is not in English, you must make arrangements to have all academic records translated and sent to Tuck with the originals. If your institution has a policy of issuing only one official transcript, you may submit a copy validated by your school, a foreign affairs ministry, the Fulbright Commission, or a U.S. consular official.

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Letters of Reference (LORs)

You should request references from two people capable of commenting on your professional, leadership, and intellectual capabilities. We have found that the most useful evaluations are those from people who are able to speak with certainty about your leadership, maturity, team orientation, communication skills, intellectual ability, and interpersonal skills. We prefer that you submit LORs from people who know you well and are in a position to judge your professional performance and leadership, such as your direct supervisor. If you are unable to provide an LOR from a direct supervisor, please include a brief explanation as to why in the optional essay section. We do not find LORs from professors to be helpful in our evaluations.

Getting an independent perspective about your qualifications from a third party is very valuable to the Admissions Committee, therefore the LORs are to be completed by the recommender and no one else. Drafting, writing, or translating your own reference, even if asked to do so by your recommender, is a violation of the terms of our application process and Tuck’s Academic Honor Principle and could result in rescission of our offer of admission or termination of a student’s enrollment. Applicants are expected to inform recommenders of this policy.

If your recommender is not able to complete the LOR in English, he or she should write it in their native language and have it translated by an outside translation service. You should not translate the reference into English for your reference.

Please contact your evaluators well in advance to give them sufficient time to write and return their evaluations by the application-round deadline for which you are applying. Given the importance we place on LORs, we do not review any applications until we have received LORs from both of the evaluators you listed in your application. If your LORs are received after the deadline for submission, your application will not be considered until the next round. It is your responsibility to make sure that your evaluators are aware of the deadlines and to ensure that both LORs have been submitted. If you would like to make any changes to your list of evaluators, please contact us at tuck.admissions@dartmouth.edu.


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GMAT and GRE Test Scores

Tuck accepts either the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) or the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) General Test. Results (scores and percentiles) should be self-reported on the application. Please report all valid scores taken within the last five years. Please visit www.mba.com for more information on how to register to take the GMAT.

Please use code Z04-NH-64 to send your GMAT scores to Tuck. Please visit www.ets.org/gre for information on how to register to take the GRE. Use code 4887 to send your GRE test scores to Tuck.

Your application will not be considered complete without GMAT or GRE General Test scores and percentiles reported on the application. You also must arrange to have your GMAT or GRE official score report released to Tuck so that it arrives before the application submission deadline for which you are applying. We do not allow substitution or replacement of test scores after an application has been submitted. Check with each testing organization to ensure that you will receive your scores in time for you to submit your application.

Tuck accepts students with a range of test scores. There is no minimum score required. If you do not score well on any part of a test or if you do not feel that your scores are reflective of your abilities, we encourage you to consider retaking the test in an effort to improve your score. If offered admission, your self-reported GMAT and/or GRE score(s) will be verified. Tuck reserves the right to rescind an offer of admission or terminate a student’s enrollment should any misrepresentation or omission occur.

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English Language Proficiency

Tuck accepts the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English Academic), and the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) to demonstrate English language proficiency. All nonnative English speakers must self report results (scores and percentiles, if applicable) from either the TOEFL, the PTE Academic, or the IELTS. This requirement is waived for applicants who have recently lived for at least three years in an English-speaking country or who received a degree from an institution where instruction is in English. It is not necessary to seek our pre-approval or submit documentation to prove eligibility for this waiver.

Please report all valid scores taken within the last two years. We do not allow substitution or replacement of test scores after an application has been submitted. Your application will not be considered complete without the TOEFL, PTE or the IELTS test scores and percentiles reported on the application. You also must arrange to have your official score report released to Tuck so that it arrives by the application submission deadline for which you are applying. Check with each testing organization to ensure that we will receive your scores in time for you to submit your application.

For information on how to register for the TOEFL, please visit www.ets.org/toefl. Please use Tuck code 3351 on your TOEFL exam. For information on how to register for the PTE Academic, please visit www.pearsonpte.com. For information on how to register for the IELTS, please visit www.ielts.org.

If offered admission to Tuck, your self-reported scores will be verified. Tuck reserves the right to rescind an offer of admission or terminate a student’s enrollment should any misrepresentation or omission occur.

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Essay Questions

The essay questions provide you with an opportunity to help the Admissions Committee gain greater insight about you as a potential member of the Tuck community. We do not allow substitution or replacement of essay responses after an application has been submitted. Please be clear, succinct, forthright, and thoughtful in your responses. Additionally, we ask that you share what you truly feel, as opposed to writing what you think the Admissions Committee would like to read. There are no right or wrong answers. Reapplicants should also complete the reapplicant essay. Tuck expects that the work contained in the essays is completely accurate and exclusively your own. Use of professional essay writing services violates Tuck’s admissions policies.


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Funding Your Education


All applicants admitted into the MBA program are considered for scholarships regardless of citizenship. Scholarships are awarded based on a combination of merit and need. There is no separate application process for Tuck scholarships.

Tuck’s admissions and financial aid offices will review the application materials submitted by the candidates for admission. Scholarships are automatically renewed in the second year, provided that a satisfactory academic record is maintained throughout the first year at Tuck.

Educational Loans

Once students are admitted to Tuck, they can apply for educational loans by the published key financial aid deadlines.

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Clery Act Notification to Prospective Students

Dartmouth College prepares an annual Security and Fire Safety Report which is available to all current and prospective students and employees. The report includes statistics concerning reported crimes that occurred on campus, in certain off-campus buildings, or on property owned or controlled by Dartmouth College and on public property within, or immediately adjacent to and accessible from, the campus. You can obtain a copy of this report by contacting the Director of Safety and Security and the College Proctor at 603-646-4000 or by accessing the following website: http://www.dartmouth.edu/sexualrespect/clery/index.html.

Nondiscrimination Policy

Dartmouth College is committed to the principle of equal opportunity for all its students, faculty, staff, and applicants for admission and employment. For that reason, Dartmouth prohibits any form of discrimination against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, age, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, national origin, citizenship, disability, genetic information, military or veteran status, or any other legally protected status in the administration of and access to the College's programs and activities, and in conditions of admission and employment. Dartmouth adheres to all applicable state and federal equal opportunity laws and regulations. (Dartmouth College refers to the entire institution, including the professional schools, graduate programs and auxiliary activities.) If you have any questions or concerns regarding this policy, please contact the Dartmouth Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity at 603-646-3197.

Please see Applicant Resources for additional information and support.

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Contact Information

Office of Admissions

Phone: 603-646-3162
Fax: 603-646-1441
Email: tuck.admissions@dartmouth.edu

Financial Aid Office

Phone: 603-646-9743
Fax: 603-646-9741
Email: tuck.financial.aid@dartmouth.edu

Dartmouth Office of Visa and Immigration Services

Phone: 603-646-3474
Fax:  603-646-1616
Email: visa.and.immigration.services@dartmouth.edu
Web: www.dartmouth.edu/~ovis

Tuck Mailing Address

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
100 Tuck Hall
Hanover, NH 03755-9000 USA

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