Dartmouth Tuck MBA Application Essay Tips, 2023-2024
Known for its extremely close-knit, down-to-earth community, Dartmouth Tuck wants to learn about you and how you will embody and add to its culture. Through its application essays, Tuck asks you three questions intended to highlight a side of you that is not conveyed in the other parts of your application. Take the time to assess what is included in your resume and the short answers of the application, as well as what your recommenders might say, to identify your best stories for the school’s essays.
Essay 1: Why are you pursuing an MBA and why now? How will the distinct Tuck MBA contribute to achieving your career goals and aspirations? (300 words)
Tuck has added some context to this year’s “Why MBA,” “Why Now,” and “Why Tuck” essay. Approach this essay as you might other goals essays. Think about roughly splitting your allotted word count between outlining why you need an MBA to achieve your goals, including why now is the right time for you, and explaining why Tuck is the right school to help you achieve those goals.
The “why MBA” element of your essay should include what you want to do after Tuck (your short-term goal) and where that will aspirationally lead you (your long-term goal). For your short-term goal, be specific—include an ideal role and company, and provide a reason you want to do this work. For example, “I want to transition within the energy sector from a corporate finance role into investment banking at a firm like Goldman Sachs so I can influence future energy investments into renewables.” From here, you might go on to explain what you need from an MBA and why now is the right time to do so. Consider what skills you might need and how you want to grow as a leader.
Consider starting the “why Tuck” portion of your essay by identifying which Tuck resources will help you gain the skills you identified. Showcase your knowledge of Tuck by pinpointing specific offerings that will help you fill those skill gaps. Think about which classes, clubs, events, and conferences you can both learn from and give back to during your time at Tuck that will help you be successful throughout your career. A significant part of your learning at Tuck will be experiential, outside of the classroom, so make sure to include how you will be involved at the school apart from your coursework.
Essay 2: Tell us who you are. How have your values and experiences shaped your identity and character? How will your background contribute to the diverse Tuck culture and community? (300 words)
With this essay, Tuck wants to understand what unique perspective you will bring to classroom discussions and the Tuck community. This is an opportunity to reveal your values and discuss how you will leverage those values at Tuck. Consider splitting this essay across your value/experiences and then how you will leverage those to contribute to the school. Reflect on what is unique about you that can add to the class.
Consider starting this essay with a story that illustrates your values and then explain to the admissions committee how and why this story illustrates who you are. Then be thoughtful about how you will leverage your values through your involvement at Tuck. How will your values influence the perspective you bring to class discussions? How will you contribute through your involvement in the clubs and experiences at Tuck. Don’t be redundant from the first essay—this is an additional opportunity to showcase how you want to be involved as a Tuck student.
Essay 3: Describe a time you meaningfully contributed to someone else’s sense of inclusion in your professional or personal community. (300 words)
Consider using the SCAR method (situation, challenge, action, and result) to present your story in this essay. Relate the actions you took to showcase how you created an inclusive environment for someone specific. Highlight the steps you took, and explain how you worked with others to create a sense of inclusion. Tuck values collaboration and working together to solve problems, so this is a great opportunity to highlight your ability to support others empathetically. It is more impactful to “show” how you built a sense of inclusion through your experience and include what you learned from the situation than merely talking about inclusion at a high level.
Optional Essay: Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere (e.g., atypical choice of references, 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)
The optional essay is one that should be used judiciously. If you feel your application conveys a complete, accurate picture of who you are as a deserving Tuck candidate, then you are best off not submitting an optional essay. There is little to be gained from adding to the admissions committee’s workload by asking them to read another essay that doesn’t answer something new. But if you have something that warrants explanation, this is your chance to clarify it for the admissions committee.
Reapplicant Essay: (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)
Ideally, in the time between your previous application and now, you have assessed areas of your candidacy and career that could be improved in this application—and have taken steps to fill those gaps. Tuck wants to know not only that you bring new experiences to the table this year but also that you are not easily deterred by setbacks and continue to strive toward your goals. Outline for the admissions committee what you have done, gained, and learned since you last applied. Highlight what new skills or experiences you bring to Tuck and how you will use them to contribute to your classmates’ experiences. For more tips on writing a reapplicant essay, see Six Tips for Business School Reapplicants.
In Stratus Admissions’ Guide to Getting into Dartmouth Tuck School of Business, you will find information on a variety of the MBA program’s offerings such as the OnSite Global Consulting program, First-Year Project, Tuck Winter Carnival, and small group dinners. This free guide also includes class profile statistics. Download our guide to learn more about Dartmouth Tuck!