Category Archives: Dartmouth Tuck

Tuck School of Business 2009-10 Essay Question Analyses and Deadlines

My apologies again for disappearing! I finally got caught up on most of my work for the first round and decided to work on the Tuck question analyses. Last year, Moto and I were invited as representatives from Japan to attend the international advisors conference at Tuck and we got to experience first-hand the very warm and close-knit atmosphere that former students had raved to us about. Tuck really is a unique environment in terms of how caring and nurturing everyone is. In your application, you’ll want to make sure that you come across as someone who would fit into and thrive in such an environment. Team players will make excellent applicants.

As usual, here are the deadlines, essay questions, and my comments:


Round Deadline Applicant-Initiated Interview to be Completed Decision Notification
Early Action 10/14/09 10/14/09 12/18/09
November 11/11/09 11/11/09 2/5/10
January 1/6/10 1/29/10 3/19/10
April 4/2/10 4/2/10 5/14/10
Nov. Consortium 11/15/09 NA 2/5/10
Jan. Consortium 1/5/10 NA 3/9/10

Please refer to the school’s website for further details about scholarship deadlines, etc.

And, from their website:

Please respond fully but concisely to the following essay questions. Compose each of your
answers offline in separate document files and upload them individually in the appropriate
spaces below. Although there is no restriction on the length of your response, most applicants
use, on average, 500 words for each essay. There are no right or wrong answers.
Please double-space your responses.

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 standard goals question. Be sure to add some discussion of your career and how it relates to your goals. And remember to do extensive research on Tuck so you can explain specifically why their program is a good fit for you.

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

Leadership can be interpreted quite broadly and here Tuck asks you to write a story of a leadership experience that captures their definition of leadership. Specifically, they would like to hear about a time in which you led, mentored, coached/and or guided team members to accomplish something great as a team. This means you should focus on not an independent achievement that you reached on your own efforts, but rather an experience in which the outcome resulted from the collected efforts of a team – a team which you helped inspire. As you write the essay be sure you describe how you guided your team members to deliver results. And don’t forget to conclude the essay by analyzing briefly your current developmental needs as a leader.

3. Discuss the most difficult constructive criticism or feedback you have received. How did
you address it? What have you learned from it?

In this essay you are asked to talk about a time when someone gave you negative feedback as an effort to educate or promote your growth. Had a boss or team member pointed out something that you could be doing better? If so, what was that “something” and how did you react and what did you learn from the experience of getting this feedback? The admissions committee wants to see how you respond when given constructive criticism. Some people get quite angry or defensive while others use the feedback as an opportunity to reflect and grow.

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 fairly open-ended question that is meant to find out more about who you are as an individual. Of course, if you wish, you may address your career here since that is part of who you are. But be sure that you  convey the personal-side in you as well. This is an appropriate place to discuss life experiences that have shaped you. Appropriate stories include personal background information (like your family or upbringing), community activities, hobbies, sports…anything that is important to you. And while it is great if you have something very unique to talk about like a childhood growing up in different international cities or major achievements in a hobby, very often what makes the difference in this essay is how you tell the story, rather than what you talk about. Write from your heart and allow your personality and values to show through, and you will have done a good job with this essay.

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.

You may write an additional essay if you have another story that would add a valuable perspective to your essay set that you couldn’t include anywhere else. Otherwise, use this space only for explaining any potential areas of concern as listed above.

6. (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.

Tuck, like most business schools, doesn’t want you to just recycle your old application if you are reapplying. There is a reason they denied your admission last year, so they want to know that you have made efforts to improve your candidacy since. When writing this essay, reflect on the time since your last application and discuss the ways that you have improved. Did you take on additional responsibilities at work or perhaps got promoted? Did you continue to work on and improve your test scores? Did you talk to more people about Tuck and perhaps found more reasons why it is the perfect fit for you? At the same time, make sure you are reflecting on your growth rather than simply listing a string of new achievements.

Dartmouth Tuck School of Business 2009-10 Deadlines

Tuck has not yet released its application materials/instructions for the coming season but they did post their deadlines. Please see below for some important information about interviewing, especially if Tuck is a top choice for you:

Deadlines (17:00 EST)

                                      Application                           Applicant-initiated Interview to be Completed

Early Action                10/14/09                                 10/14/09

November Round     11/11/09                                  11/11/09

January Round          1/6/10                                      1/29/10

April Round                4/2/10                                      4/2/10

What is Early Action?

According to Tuck’s website, Early Action is a good option for reapplicants or new applicants who consider Tuck a top choice. Applying by the Early Action deadline allows you to find out your decision in December but does not obligate you to attend; you’d still have until January to make your final decision should you be accepted. To hold your space in the class, though, you will need to submit a $3,500 non-refundable deposit.


Tuck offers all applicants the chance to sign up for an on-campus interview by the stated deadlines. Spaces fill up quickly, so you should schedule an interview as soon as you decide you want to apply (and appointments need to be scheduled at least 5 days before you wish to conduct the interview). If you are unable to schedule an on-campus interview, the admissions committee may extend an interview invitation after reading your application. In this case, though, there is no guarantee you will be granted an interview. This puts international applicants in a tough position, I think, because it is much more difficult to fly to Hanover if you are overseas. Schools are supposed to treat applicants equally but if Tuck is a top choice and there is some possibility that you could go to Hanover to interview, I would encourage it.

Application instructions and materials as well as interview sign-up will be available in August (mid-August for application and late August for interview scheduling).