Everything You Need to Know About the Dartmouth Tuck MBA

Everything You Need to Know About the Dartmouth Tuck MBA

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth (“Tuck”) is one of the most immersive and close-knit MBA programs out there. Known for its generous community and its location on the charming Dartmouth campus, the Tuck MBA is ideal for applicants looking to spend two years building a strong business foundation and lifelong friendships in a quintessential New England college town.

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Why we love the Tuck MBA program

Strong sense of community & generous alumni network

The Dartmouth Tuck MBA program is popular for its vibrant, welcoming community where Tuckies generously invest in one another’s success. Its alumni network is one of the strongest and most responsive MBA networks out there, with 10,700 alumni around the world willing to drop what they’re doing and help another Tuckie or aspiring Tuckie. If you reach out to current students to learn more about the Tuck MBA program, chances are pretty good that most will reply, and with warmth and enthusiasm, too.

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Intimate & immersive MBA experience

Tuck’s small class size (294 students in the Class of 2023) and secluded campus (tucked away in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire) help foster a strong spirit of trust and collaboration. The business school’s affiliation with its parent institution, Dartmouth College, means there’s plenty to do with friends on or near campus, but there isn’t much city life to distract you from your studies. The value of an MBA program—almost $200,000 in tuition, plus the opportunity cost of a full-time salary for two years—lies in the elite business school education and lifelong professional network you build, and Tuck excels on both those fronts. But if big-city living is your preference, the lifestyle adjustment is something to consider when you’re assessing school fit: Tuck may not be your jam.

Arts, humanities, and social science majors welcome

In addition to its more intimate class size, Tuck stands out from other top MBA programs in the number of arts, humanities, and social science majors it admits. The Tuck admissions committee draws a significant portion of its incoming class—around 45%—from these fields. Another 28% have science, engineering, and math backgrounds, while 27% are from business-related majors.

Tuck’s Business Bridge Certificate Program is a 4-week intensive summer or winter program designed to support current liberal arts and STEM undergraduates (or recent grads) who want to break into business fields. It provides an accelerated business education, hands-on internship, and personalized career coaching.

For more information on Tuck’s Bridge Program, check out this video from the Tuck YouTube channel.

YouTube video

The Tuck MBA program is exclusively fulltime

Unlike many of the other top U.S. MBA programs, Dartmouth Tuck does not offer a Part-Time MBA or Executive MBA experience. Instead, Tuck focuses on the full-time, residential MBA degree. This enhances the tight-knit feel of the Tuck MBA community and enables its 50 full-time faculty members to focus their attention on about 560 first- and second-year MBA students. The program boasts a student/faculty ratio of roughly 10:1.

Rankings

The Dartmouth Tuck MBA program offers an elite U.S. business school education. Its 2-year, full-time MBA program currently ranks #10 in U.S. News & World Report and #10 among global MBA programs in a list by the Financial Times. In 2019, it was ranked #12 by the Economist and #6 by Forbes.

Officially in love with Tuck’s MBA program and wondering about your odds of getting in? We turned more than a decade of admissions experience into an MBA admissions calculator that will help you determine whether a school should be considered a reach, a match, or a safety.

Calculate your MBA odds now.

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What does Tuck School of Business stand for?

Tuck’s mission

Tuck’s mission is to develop wise, decisive leaders who better the world through business.”

Tuck explains the main elements of its mission statement in detail, so there’s no ambiguity about what qualities they expect their students to embody and uphold.

  • Wise: “reflects the functional expertise at the heart of strategic thinking and management, the analytic skills used to develop and defend points of view, and the empathy to understand and work effectively with others.”
  • Decisive: “means making the right decisions, by thoughtfully defining, analyzing, and solving problems and seizing opportunities, and by confidently understanding when and how to take risks for the better.”
  • Leaders: “have the ability to craft a compelling vision for the future—including whether, why, when, and how to change—and to guide execution of the vision with and through other people.”

Tuck’s community values and standards of excellence

In developing wise and decisive leaders, Tuck’s approach to learning fosters a collaborative community that is, above all else, Personal, Connected, and Transformative.

Tuck goes a step further than other MBA programs by outlining Standards of Excellence that it commits to uphold for students and the broader Tuck community as an institution:

  • We will promote a faculty research culture that fosters scholarship, creativity, and productivity.
  • We will impart path-breaking ideas that, through management and leadership, better the world through business.
  • We will hone our uniquely personal, immersive environment to allow for the individual learning and reflection to drive development as a leader.
  • We will develop wise, decisive leaders with global perspectives who will transform organizations and change the world.

To maintain these standards, Tuck centers its MBA education on Six Strategic Pillars:

  1. Curriculum
    • First-year core academic curriculum to provide foundational business knowledge and skills
    • Second-year electives to deepen interests and broaden horizons
    • Accessible faculty shaping business theory and practice
  2. Learning Experience
    • Personalized support
    • Individual and experiential, team-based learning
    • Leadership growth
  3. Thematic Integration
    • Modern learning environment as base camp for exploration
  4. Alumni
    • Generous global network
  5. Careers
    • Career service team to help plan career vision and maximize career path
    • Opportunities from more than 1,000 companies and organizations
  6. Quality of Life
    • New England college town experience
    • Affiliation with Dartmouth College offers unique learning opportunities
    • Vibrant, welcoming community leads to lifelong connections

Tuck sets itself apart from other MBA programs as a business school that cares a whole heck of a lot about nurturing its community and, by extension, the world of business. This program goes the extra mile in setting expectations for itself as well as its students, holding itself accountable for a formative business education experience.

What will you learn in the Tuck MBA program and how?

Academic year

At Dartmouth Tuck, the academic year is divided into summer, fall, winter, and spring quarters. Incoming students arrive on campus in early August for their First Year Tuck Launch, where they learn foundational business concepts in an assigned section of about 70 classmates. They also begin to bond with their 6-person study group, assigned by the program office with an eye to balancing members’ backgrounds and skills.

Recruiting begins relatively early at Tuck: mid-September. After that point, the fall and winter terms are a marathon of  juggling classes, study groups, and club involvement while working to land a coveted summer internship.

First-year curriculum

Tuck’s first-year integrated core curriculum is thoughtfully designed to “develop the functional skills leaders need to make decisions” and to build the “leadership ability to craft, communicate, and execute a vision for change with and through others.” Tuck’s incoming class of nearly 300 is divided into sections of 70 students who take all their required classes together.

Summer (Aug. – Oct.)
Fall (Oct. – Dec.)
Analytics I
Financial Accounting
Management Communication
Managerial Economics
Managing People
Analytics II
Capital Markets
Crafting Strategy
Marketing
Winter (Jan. – Mar.)
Spring (Mar. – May)
Corporate Finance
Global Economics for Managers
Electives
First-Year Project
Managing Organizations
Operations Management
Electives

Classes begin bright and early at 8:30 AM. First Years usually complete 2 classes in the morning, with 20 minutes between classes, and then have the rest of the day to pursue club activities, network, prepare for recruiting, and study.

First Years can begin taking electives in the winter term. During the spring term, they complete the required First-Year Project. Spring classes wrap up at the end of May, with commencement for graduating MBAs held in mid-June.

For more on the Tuck classroom experience, watch this video from their YouTube channel.

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First-Year Project

Tuck’s signature First-Year Project (FYP) requirement offers its MBA students the opportunity to team up and apply what they have learned in the classroom to a real business challenge. Clients range from multinational corporations to SMEs, nonprofits, and early stage start-ups.

Tuck has a video explaining their FYP:

YouTube video

The Travel Immersion FYP (FYPGO) incorporates a domestic or international travel component. Tuckies team up to assist a client who is overseas or in a different part of the states. While this version of the FYP is paused for the 2021-2022 academic year, the most recent pre-pandemic FYPGO projects took place in Norway (with an oil company client) and France (with a historic educational institution client).

TuckGO – Global learning opportunities

The TuckGo Global Requirement ensures that all Tuck MBA students complete one TuckGo course in a country that is new to them before they graduate. This requirement aims to round out MBA students’ business education with international exposure and experiences. FYPGO is just one of many opportunities Tuck students can choose from to satisfy the requirement. Beyond FYPGO, MBA students can complete this requirement through any of the following:

  • Global Insights Expedition (GIX)
    • Students begin the course in the Tuck classroom and travel during Spring Break in March to the expedition country with one or two faculty members. On the ground, they engage with business leaders, entrepreneurs, government officials, and local community leaders to learn how business is done in other countries and to develop cultural awareness. Back home, students complete structured reflection exercises on their experiences.
  • Term Exchange
    • Second-Year Tuck MBA students can spend a term abroad studying at a partner institution in Europe, Asia, Latin America to learn about another culture’s educational and business environment. Students can also spend the term at Tuft’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Vermont Law School, and Columbia University.
  • OnSite Global Consulting Project
    • This second-year experiential learning elective offers Tuck students the opportunity to develop management consulting skills by providing team-based solution services to a variety of worldwide clients. Projects kick off in October and last 14 weeks until the end of January. Teams travel to their client’s location and work onsite for up to three weeks in December conducting primary research.

For more information on TuckGO, check out this student panel video.

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Second-year elective curriculum

Second-year Tuck students can take any of the above TuckGO courses and customize their studies around their field interests by choosing from over 100 elective courses in the following fields: accounting, communication, economics, entrepreneurship, ethics and social responsibility, finance, healthcare, marketing, operations and management science, organizational behavior, and strategy.

Students can choose to specialize, but are not required to do so in order to graduate.

Second-year students can also complete a graded independent study project on a management topic of their choice under the supervision of two faculty members, or participate in a small Research-to-Practice Seminar where they’ll gain valuable insight into a professor’s research.

Centers

For students who want more specialized business training, Dartmouth Tuck has six centers that provide on- and off-campus resources for a specific field. Center resources include: specific courses, student clubs, networking and recruiting events, career support, conferences and summits with industry experts, experiential learning programs, case competitions, speaker series, mentoring, fellow programs, and leadership development training.

Dartmouth Tuck Centers:

Check out this video “On the Centers” at Tuck:

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Top 5 Must-Knows Before You Apply to the MBA program at Tuck

1. Hate winter? Get to class in a tunnel!

If you love Tuck but can’t stand the cold and snow, fear not! If you live in the dorms, you could probably get by for weeks at a time never going outside, because Tuck buildings are all connected through a series of underground tunnels. In fact, there have been competitions among dorm-dwellers to see who could go the longest without stepping foot outside. The record appears to be 70 days! That’s probably not healthy for your Vitamin D levels – and it might not be the most novel experience after two years of pandemic restrictions – but the tunnels are there if you want to escape the elements.

2. Bring a car

If you choose to live in the on-campus dorms, the inside scoop from our former Career Protocol clients is that you will want to bring a car. While the Tuck community is warm and cozy, the rigorous first-year curriculum and early recruitment season (especially for those going into consulting or banking) means your first year at Tuck is a SUPER BUSY whirlwind. Spending most of your days in class with your study group, networking on campus, and studying in your room can create a serious need to get some distance every now and then. (Cabin fever, anyone?)

While Hanover is charming, it’s essentially a college town, and you might want to get out a wee bit fit farther. We recommend getting out in nature to admire the beautiful New England fall foliage with its bright reds, golden yellows, and brilliant orange hues. You’ll need a car (or a friend with a car) for that.

Friendly advice to international students: Find a friend with a car so you can make the most of your Tuck experience – exploring the Upper Valley, skiing in Vermont, or getting to some of the more distant ice rinks for tripod hockey.

3. Tripod hockey

Tripod hockey (tripod here meaning two legs and a stick) is a proud and long-standing Tuck tradition that every Tuckie participates in at some point during their 2-year MBA. Tuck takes its Tripod Hockey “very seriously.” You have to try out in order to join a league, but the bar is pretty low in terms of ice-skating and hockey skills, which means everyone can participate and enjoy a little friendly competition. Most of the rinks are within a 2-mile radius of campus. Tripod hockey is a big part of Tuck culture, so if you have your heart set on Tuck, break out those skates and start practicing your balance on the ice. Don’t worry if you’ve never skated before – you’ll have a community of encouraging and supportive peers to cheer you on as take your first baby steps on the ice.

For a student’s view on tripod hockey, check out this blog post on the Tuck website. 

4. Tucktober Fest & Winter Carnival

Tucktober Fest is basically Octokberfest at Tuck, with lots of drinking and shenanigans. Tuck’s biggest social event is the Winter Carnival – an annual celebration that brings MBA students from 16 different schools together for the main purpose of making intercollegiate connections while enjoying the great New Hampshire outdoors. For more on what to expect from the Winter Carnival, check out this unofficial video, “Tuck Winter Carnival 2018”.

5. Grade nondisclosure

Like several other top MBA programs, Tuck has a policy of grade nondisclosure, which means that the student body (by referendum) has agreed not to share grades with employers for recruiting until they have been hired. Employers who recruit on campuses with a nondisclosure policy generally know not to ask about an intern/job applicant’s grades. This takes off some of the pressure to “beat the curve” during your first semester, when you’ve been thrown into the deep end on several fronts (moving to new city, making new friends, recruiting, and coursework). The last thing you want to do while trying to make friends is compete with them on grades. With grade nondisclosure, you don’t have to fret about losing the occasional study hour to attend a networking event.

With grades out of the equation, you can focus on networking and more holistic learning in the classroom and community. It also encourages some students to take more challenging electives without fear of how it might impact their GPA.

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Is Tuck a cultural fit for you?

Class of 2023 profile

The School of Business at Dartmouth Tuck is nearing gender parity, with 49% of the Class of 2022 (289 students) and 46% of the Class of 2023 as female-identifying students. 16% of the Class of 2023 are first-generation college students. 41% are international students, representing around 35 countries. Outside of the U.S. and Canada (70%), the second most represented world region is Asia, at 20% of the class. Europe is the third most represented region at 8%.

Class of 2023 Representation by World Region:

A significant percentage of Tuck students (45%) come from an Arts & Humanities undergraduate background. Science, Technology, and Engineering majors are grouped together and come in second at 28%. Business-related majors make up 27%.

Interestingly, 11% of the Class of 2023 holds an advanced graduate degree at the time of matriculation.

In terms of pre-MBA industry, the most represented industry is Consulting (25%) with  Financial Services (20%) coming in second. 9% come from Government and Nonprofit sectors.

Class of 2023 Pre-MBA Industry:

Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) at Tuck

While Tuck is working to improve diversity in its community, there’s still a lot of work to do. 29% of the Class of 2023 identifies as a U.S. minority, but only 14% identify as an underrepresented minority (Black, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American, or Native Hawaiian).

Class of 2023 Representation by U.S. Race/Ethnicity:

Tuck has committed to increasing diversity under the leadership of its first Assistant Director of DEI, Dia Draper. In October 2021, Tuck published its first DEI Strategic Review and Action Plan. The report was based on over 665 survey responses and over 100 conversations with Tuck community members and alumni. It represents a yearlong review of community culture, curriculum, extracurriculars, recruitment, and employee hiring and retention. Going forward, Tuck has committed to improve three target areas as part of its Action Plan:

  • Increasing Representation
  • Nurturing a Culture of Inclusivity
  • Enriching the Learning Environment

Tuck’s DEO Action Plan aims “to foster a culture and environment where all members of the Tuck community feel included and have the support to thrive.”

Life at Tuck

More than half of Tuck’s first-year MBA students (single students without families) live in the residence halls on campus – Whittemore Hall, Achtmeyer, and Pineau-Valancienne (“PV”) – with 168 single-occupancy rooms assigned via lottery due to high demand and scarce real estate. The residence halls have ample meeting space for study groups and informal chats, as well as classrooms on the first floors.

One former Career Protocol client highly recommends living in the dorms during the first year for the convenience and social connection: “It’s great that I can wake up at 8:20 AM and run downstairs to the first floor for a class starting at 8:30 AM. During the first year, every second of sleep is so precious!” The main drawback to residence hall housing is the shared kitchen.

Students with partners or families live nearby in off-campus housing in Sachem Village (2 miles away) and use bikes or shuttle buses to get to class. Second-year students also live off-campus in places like Hanover, Lebanon, West Lebanon, and Lyme. Some students even live across the river in Vermont and commute to class from Norwich, Wilder, and White River Junction.

Learn more about Tuck housing options.

Partners & Families

25% of Tuck students bring their partners and 4% bring children (“tiny Tuckies”) with them to Hanover, NH. Relocating to rural New England can be a challenge for students’ significant others, who may have to find new jobs, and children, who have to adjust to a new school. To help the smooth the transition, Partners Club offers significant others and partners of Tuck MBA assistance with housing, childcare, and the job search.

For more about partners and families at Tuck, be sure to check out the Tuck 360 blog with posts from student contributors and this video on Tuck’s YouTube channel.

YouTube video

Military Veterans

MBA programs love the diverse experience and perspective that military students bring to the classroom, as well as their unique leadership and teamwork skills. Tuck considers military students a vital part of its MBA community. To attract more military and former military applicants, Tuck waives its $250 application fee for veterans. To make an MBA more affordable for military students, Tuck also participates in the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program. For more information on the Yellow Ribbon Program, see “How to Get a Free Veteran MBA Through the Yellow Ribbon Program.” Lesley Nesbitt is Tuck’s military liaison, and the Tuck Veterans Club is available to answer questions for prospective military applicants

The Tuck Fabric

Learn more about Tuck’s close-knit community, a.k.a. “The Tuck Fabric”:

YouTube video

The Tuck community offers numerous opportunities to get involved and connect with peers outside the classroom. At the Club Fair, students can sign up to join a wide range of student clubs, including 17 career-based clubs, 5 event-focused clubs, 14 sports clubs, 12 cultural affinity clubs, and 23 social, service, and special interest clubs.

Read more about Tuck clubs & activities.

Life in the Upper Valley

The Upper Valley on the Connecticut River boasts natural beauty and abundant outdoor recreational activities, including some of the best ski slopes on the East Coast – not to mention summer beach time at the Atlantic Ocean. If you want to enjoy a more urban vibe from time to time, Boston, New York, and Montreal are a few hours away by car.

On campus, Tuck’s affiliation with Ivy League Dartmouth College opens a wealth of resources as well as arts and cultural offerings.

Tuck YouTube videos on campus life:

Will a Tuck MBA increase your salary?

Post-MBA employment

Career Services at Tuck boasts over 1,000 active recruiting relationships. Check out this list of top hiring companies at Tuck to see if your target company recruits at Tuck.

About Tuck’s Career Services:

YouTube video

According to the Class of 2020 Employment Report, 94% of graduates found full-time employment within 3 months of graduation. 42% of Tuck graduates went into Consulting, with an average base salary of $157,631. The next most popular post-MBA industries are Financial Services (21%), with an average base salary of $142,281, and Technology (15%), with an average base salary of $131,931.

Post-MBA Industry
% Employed
Avg. Base Salary
Avg. Bonus
% Receiving Bonus
Consulting
42%
$157,631
$28,568
99%
Financial Services
21%
$142,281
$46,107
75%
Technology
15%
$131,931
$44,357
87%
Healthcare, Pharma, BioTech
8%
$122,487
$32,193
94%
Consumer Goods, Retail
5%
$121,818
$23,438
73%
Manufacturing
3%
$123,143
$32,143
100%
Transportation
2%
Government, Nonprofit, Education
2%
Media, Entertainment, Sports
1%
$146,667
Real Estate
1%
Energy
1%
Transportation
1%

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Intimate secrets of the Tuck MBA program

Tuck admissions criteria

Tuck is a business school that cares deeply about its values and looks specifically for MBA applicants who demonstrate a strong fit with its community principles.

The best candidates for Dartmouth Tuck can authentically demonstrate 4 specific character values in their application: Smart, Accomplished, Encouraging, and Aware.

True to Tuck’s spirit, Admissions makes a huge effort to be transparent and define those traits in great detail on the program’s website and blog so that applicants are clear on what exactly they mean. This clarity helps applicants reflect on whether they genuinely resonate with Tuck’s values and consider how to best communicate that alignment in their essays.

Smart, curious, and engaged:

  • From the Tuck Admissions website: “Your intellectual aptitude matters. Your grades and test scores reflect previous academic performance, communication skills, and ability with numbers. You also realize you don’t know it all. You’re curious, excited by challenges, and motivated to learn from others’ knowledge and experiences. You continually seek to grow by engaging and exploring the world around you. Your aptitude and curiosity will strengthen your functional expertise, your analytic skills, and your ability to develop and defend points of view in Tuck’s rigorous learning environment.”
  • From Amy Mitson, Co-Executive Director of Admissions, on the Tuck 360 Blog: “Being smart at Tuck means you have the necessary intellectual aptitude to succeed in a rigorous and demanding learning environment…Tuck students use their smarts to continually learn, which means first acknowledging you don’t know everything, and then exercising curiosity to seek out new perspectives, experiences, and challenges. Tuck students subscribe to the growth mindset; no matter how smart you currently are, you can continue to grow your intellect and knowledge.”
  • How Tuck Admissions Evaluates “Smart”: Admissions will generally look to educational transcripts and test scores to assess academic performance, quantitative skills, and communication skills. These materials provide some predictive indication of academic success in an MBA program. The good news for some test takers is that Tuck considers the highest combined test scores, not average, in order to reward candidates for their best work. Tuck Admissions also assesses smartness through behavior and conduct, as indicated in your recommendations and interview. The recommendation is especially helpful to admissions as they seek specific and meaningful examples of curiosity, initiative, creativity, ability to accept constructive feedback, and growth mindset.

Accomplished, principled, and impactful

  • From the Tuck Admissions website: “Your professional performance matters, as do community engagement and personal achievements. You are excellent at your job and impactful outside of it. And you have the results, progression, and endorsements to prove it. You also act with conviction, thrive in tough moments, and seek to win the right way. Your principled commitment to these behaviors, in both success and setback, will help you make bold decisions, solve problems, seize opportunities, and take the right risks at Tuck and beyond.”
  • From Amy Mitson’s Tuck 360 Blog article: “The first component of this criterion is your outcomes. At Tuck, we seek candidates who are excellent on the job and impactful outside itYour resume offers an introductory overview to an admissions reader and is the only part of the application your interviewer sees… The second component of accomplished is your behavior. At Tuck, we seek candidates who use good judgment to earn results the right way. Many reference letters and interviews will confirm the outcomes on your resume and application, and some will surface additional achievements. The very best reference letters go further; they provide clear, vivid, compelling stories and examples of not just what you accomplished, but how you did so… In your interview, be prepared to tell your interviewer stories not only about the outcomes you have achieved, but also your behaviors that drove those outcomes. It’s wise to reflect and prepare for the interview and yet focus on knowing yourself rather than memorizing your stories.” 

Aware, ambitious, and purposeful

  • From the Tuck Admissions website: “You know who you are, and you understand how your values and experiences have shaped your identity and character. You also connect your past experiences and present motivations with your path forward, and craft a compelling vision for the future. You identify coherent goals, audacious in scope yet grounded in reality, and articulate how the distinctive Tuck MBA will advance your aspirations to better the world through business. You recognize how your individuality will add to the fabric of the Tuck community and make a difference.”
  • From Amy Mitson’s 360 Blog article: “Demonstrating awareness entails three things: knowing who you are, knowing where you’re going, and knowing how Tuck helps you chart your path forward… After reading thousands of essays over the years, I can tell you that the best essays set aside airs and pretense; they include personal insights that reveal what drives and motivates you…Your interview is a conversation that surfaces the thoughts, beliefs, and values that influence and inform your decisions. And the reference letters comment on your level of necessary self-awareness to receive constructive feedback…Our short prompts that ask about your goals invite you to tell us where you’re going. We care about the clarity of your goals, so we ask you to share directly…Finally, we want to see that you’re aware of how Tuck helps you get where you’re going. We’re happy if you love Tuck—we certainly do!—but that isn’t quite what we’re seeking here. Instead, we want to see that you know Tuck…What matters is not how enthusiastic you are, or how thorough and detailed your research is—what matters is how you demonstrate reflection, personalization, and curiosity about what Tuck has to offer you and what you have to offer Tuck.

Encouraging, collaborative, and empathetic

  • From the Tuck Admissions website: “This is quintessential Tuck, where you actively celebrate and support others. You also exhibit emotional intelligence, layer compassion onto courage, and challenge others tactfully and thoughtfully. You act with respect and integrity, even when it is not convenient or easy. You work effectively with others by empathizing with their diverse experiences and perspectives. You believe that your success and others’ success are interdependent, and generously invest in both. You build trust-based relationships which will endure for life.”
  • From Amy Mitson’s 360 Blog article: “At Tuck, being encouraging, collaborative, and empathetic means you invest both in your own success and also in the success of others. There are two components to investing in others. On one hand, this means making a habit of supporting others. You encourage, celebrate, and support others with kindness, compassion, and empathy. On the other hand, this also means demonstrating the courage to challenge others. Investing in others goes far beyond being pleasant and agreeable. When you value the relationships you’ve built, you’re willing to constructively disagree and push back in service of a stronger shared understanding. Rather than avoiding difficult conversations, you respectfully encourage them when necessary and appropriate. Being truly encouraging, collaborative, and empathetic requires real commitment, emotional intelligence, and a sustained willingness to make ongoing investments into meaningful trust-based relationships.”
  • How Tuck Admissions evaluates “Encouraging”: 1) Essay, 2) Interview, and 3) Recommendation

The application evaluation process

The Tuck Admissions Committee is generally comprised of 10-12 trained professionals. Half are full-time admissions officers and the other half are part-time enrollment managers working during the admission season. In addition, Admissions trains around 45 second-year Tuck students to become interviewers.

When you submit your complete application to Tuck, a randomly assigned committee member conducts a first review by reading your application and recommends that your application be admitted, denied, waitlisted, or pushed to be discussed in committee later. The initial reader also determines on a rolling basis, whether to invite you for a 30-minute blind interview. While reviewing your application in its entirety, the initial reader looks for evidence of how you demonstrate Tuck’s 4 Admission Values & Criteria – Smart, Accomplished, Encouraging, Aware (outlined above) – and records qualitative notes (no numerical scoring) in an online reader sheet containing 4 text boxes corresponding to those 4 values.

If you receive an interview invitation, you will be interviewed by a trained second-year student for 30 minutes. Afterwards, they will submit an interview evaluation to the admissions committee. Your application then goes to another committee member for a second read. If you do not receive an interview invitation, then your application can go directly to Director Review.

The Director completes their evaluation independently, regardless of first or second reviewers’ recommendations. If your application requires additional consideration, then the Director will seek input from your interviewer as well as the MBA Program Office and Career Services staff. The Director may even send your application for a third read. The Director completes an abbreviated online review sheet and decides whether to admit, deny, waitlist, or discuss your candidacy in Committee.

If your application is not a clear-cut admission decision, it will likely go to Committee, which convenes once per round, usually the week before round decisions are scheduled to be released.

Digging into the application

Application fee

Applying to the Tuck MBA program requires a $250 nonrefundable fee payable via major credit card. This fee is waived for Forte MBA Launch participants, Tuck Bridge graduates, Consortium applicants, and U.S. military applicants.

Transcripts & GPA

Tuck requires copies of transcripts from every educational institution (undergraduate and graduate) you have attended, including any transfer institutions. For the application, unofficial transcripts are fine, but after enrollment you’ll need to send official transcript copies to Re Vera LLC (an authentication vendor) to verify accuracy of your record before matriculation at Tuck.

Tuck does not require a business background to apply to its MBA program, but if you haven’t taken any quantitative classes since high school, your chance of admission will be improved by enrolling in continuing education courses in microeconomics, financial accounting, statistics, and finance to prepare you for the rigors of an MBA course load.

The average GPA for admitted students is around 3.54, with a range of 2.6 – 4.0.

Test scores

Tuck allows you to self-report test scores for either the GMAT or the GRE, valid within the last 5 years. You only need to send official score reports after you’ve been admitted, at least 30 days before enrollment in the MBA program. Tuck considers the highest combined test score across multiple exam sittings, rather than your average GMAT score.

Below are the average test scores for the Class of 2023:

EXAM
AVERAGE
RANGE
GMAT
724
600-780
Verbal
42
34-51
Quant
48
39-51
GRE (37% submitted GRE scores)
Verbal
162
149-170
Quant
162
152-170

A TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS score (valid within the last 2 years) is only required if you are a non-native English speaker. You may qualify for a waiver if you have lived in an English-speaking country for at least 3 years or received your undergraduate degree from an institution where the main language of instruction was English.

Resume & work experience

Tuck requires a one-page resume highlighting your professional history, achievements, and activities during and after college.

Successful applicants have an average of 63 months (or around 5 years) of work experience. Tuck generally doesn’t admit applicants with less than 2 years of work experience.

Recommendations

Tuck requires two letters of recommendation that “provide clear, vivid, and compelling stories and examples of not just what you’ve accomplished, but how you did so” (see Amy Mitlin’s Tuck 360 Blog post). Admissions looks at behavior more than outcome, because behavior tends to transfer to other contexts and predict future impact.

The best recommenders are professionals who have observed how your behaviors have driven positive outcomes in the workplace.

Interviews

If you want a guaranteed interview invitation, you must submit your complete application by a specified date for Round 1 or Round 2 (posted each admissions cycle). Otherwise, interviews are by invitation only.

Interviews are conducted by trained, second-year Tuck MBA students who will ask questions that highlight Tuck’s 4 core criteria: smart, accomplished, aware, and encouraging. It’s important to showcase your awareness by being present and conversational in the interview instead of giving overly scripted answers. Know yourself and trust yourself, and evidence of your accomplishments will naturally emerge in conversation with your interviewer.

10 Famous Tuck MBA alumni you’d love to be like

The Tuck Network is famous for being the most responsive alumni network, with over 10,000 alumni all over the globe. The Tuck MBA program has produced many prominent business leaders, including:

  • Jim Butterworth – tech entrepreneur, documentary filmmaker (founder of Naked Edge Films), venture capitalist
  • Peter R. Dolan – former CEO of Bristol-Meyers Squibb
  • Roger Hoschild – CEO of Discover Financial Services
  • Elyse Allan – former president and CEO of GE Canada
  • Nykia Wright – COO of the Chicago Sun Times
  • Tina Smith – U.S. Senator for Minnesota
  • Roger Lynch – Former CEO of Sling TV and current CEO of Pandora
  • Christopher A. Sinclair – former CEO of Mattel and former CEO of Pepsi
  • Kamran Pasha – Hollywood producer for NBC’s Kings and Bionic Woman, as well as Showtime’s Sleeper Cell
  • Emily Chen – CEO of MediQuire
  • Shannon Huffman Polson – first woman to fly an apache attack helicopter in the U.S. Army; author and founder of the Grit Project (blog profiling women in the military)

That’s not all! There are too many successful Tuck alumni stories to share here. For more notable Tuck alumni, see this Ranker list and Business Because article on some of Tuck’s most inspiring CEOs. And, of course, be sure to check out the Alumni Stories series on Tuck’s website.

Famous Tuck professors and their books

Tuck is distinct in its small class sizes, low faculty-to-student ratio, focus on research and teaching, and notably accessible professors. Here are a few of Tuck’s most famous faculty members:

  • Andrew Bernard – Professor of Economics who is among the top 100 most cited economists and an expert in firm and industry responses to globalization; received the Tuck Teaching Excellence Award in MBA Core Curriculum and the Dean’s Award for Mentoring in 2017
  • Kevin Lane Keller – Professor of Marketing and author of the widely used textbook Strategic Brand Management
  • Kenneth French – Professor of Finance who is famous for his work on asset pricing with Eugene Fama (Fama-French three-factor model)
  • Gordon Phillips – Professor and Faculty Director of the Center for Private Equity and Venture Capital whose research focuses on corporate finance
  • Matthew J. Slaughter – Dean and Professor of International Business
  • Vijay Govindarajan – aka VG! A Distinguished Professor at Dartmouth and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author; inducted into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame in 2019 for his lifetime work dedicated to management, strategy, and innovation
  • Richard A. D’Aveni – Professor of Strategy who created the concept of hyper-competition and was inducted into the Thinkers50 Hall of Fame in 2020

Table of Contents

Writing the essays for Tuck’s MBA application

Below are Tuck’s essay prompts for the 2021-2022 application cycle:

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)

2. Tuck students recognize how their individuality adds to the fabric of Tuck. Tell us who you are. (300 words)

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)

4. (Optional essay): 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)

5. Reapplicant Essay: How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally. (300 words)

For detailed information on what Tuck Admissions is looking for in each essay, be sure to check out Patricia Harrison’s article “Tuck Admissions Insights: 2021-2022 Essays on the Tuck 360 Blog.

Applying to Dartmouth Tuck?

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