Dartmouth’s Tuck vs. Stanford Graduate School of Business


Stanford is the most selective business school in the world, accepting only 6.5% of those who apply for admission. Its average GMAT score, 726 for the Class of 2011, is also the highest. Dartmouth is not far behind, though it accepts nearly three times as many applicants on a percentage basis with an average GMAT score that is 14 points lower. That’s also why Stanford is more likely to take a chance with an exceptional candidate with a lower GMAT score. GSB’s lowest GMAT score for an enrolled student was 540 versus Dartmouth’s 580.

Admission Stats Stanford Dartmouth
Average GMAT 726 712
GMAT Range 540–800 580–790
Average GPA 3.66 3.53
Selectivity 6.5% 18.8%
Yield 79% 49%



Most people think Stanford is a small MBA program, given its peer group of elite schools such as Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, Chicago, and Northwestern. Yet, Dartmouth defines small. Its class size is a third smaller than Stanford. That makes it even more likely for heavier student-to-student and student-to-faculty interaction at Tuck than at Stanford. Nevertheless, both these schools offer intimate and close-knit community environments. Stanford’s study body offers slightly more diversity than Dartmouth’s, with a bit more women, international and minority students. The numbers below are for the Class of 2011.

Enrollment Stats Stanford Dartmouth
Total MBA Enrollment 766 510
Women 34% 33%
International 33% 30%
Minority 21% 18%



Stanford seems to open its doors for far more poets than Dartmouth. Students who did their undergraduate work in the humanities represent 47% of the Class of 2011 at Stanford, versus only 26% at Tuck. That’s a surprising difference given the general management focus of the Tuck program. On the other hand, Dartmouth is much more open to enrolling business and economics undergrads than Stanford. About 41% of Tuck’s Class of 2011 have business or econ backgrounds, versus just 17% at Stanford.

Undergrad Degrees Stanford Dartmouth
Humanities 47% 26%
Engineering/Math 36% 27%
Business/Economics 17% 41%


Jobs and Pay:

The severe recession of 2009 hit Dartmouth and Stanford hard as it did all the best business schools. Nearly a third of Dartmouth’s and Stanford’s Class of 2009 didn’t have jobs when they graduated. Grads from both schools fared much better three months after commencement, but these numbers are rare lows for the two best business schools in the world. The estimates of median pay over a full career come from a study by PayScale done for BusinessWeek and do not include stock options or equity stakes by entrepreneurs. We suspect that if you included stock, Stanford grads would be far more than just $200,000 ahead of Tuckies due to the liberal use of options in Silicon Valley. But that’s just a guess because roughly half of Dartmouth’s alums end up running their own businesses 20 years after graduation.

Job & Pay Data Stanford Dartmouth
Starting salary & bonus $132,769 $128,282
MBAs employed at commencement 69.1% 69.2%
MBAs employed 3 months after commencement 85.4% 82.8%
Estimated median pay & bonus over a full career $3,327,145 $3,146,032
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  • Ana Belen Mañón

    Welcome to Tuck!

  • Zach


    Where can I find this data for other schools: “However, 20 years out of Tuck, about half of its grads end up as entrepreneurs–roughly the same percentage as Stanford.”

    I am interested in schools like Tuck that feed the job force straight out of B-school and then have their alumni endeavor as entrepreneurs later in their careers – I think this is the most appealing path for me and would love to see a list of how the top 50 schools fair in this category (if data is available obviously).


  • Was this written 10 years ago?

    You really need to update this article.

  • rubicx

    Considering most of it is more SUNY than Ivy, of course, it’s forgotten.

  • Mike,

    First off, congrats. Those are two of the world’s best business schools and two of my personal favorites. You must be an incredible MBA applicant to have received an invite from both Tuck and Darden. They are very similar schools as you note–small, collaborative, caring and generous students and faculty, a general management approach, very strong alumni networks, premium MBA experiences (without distracting part-time MBA programs, undergrads, etc. They are in business for the flagship full-time MBA program and they devote their resources to make sure that program is the absolute best it can be.

    My sense is that the quality of teaching at Darden is consistently better than it is at Tuck, that the first-year core is more challenging than it is at Tuck as well. On the other hand, the Tuck alumni network is stronger than the one at Darden, and, of course the Tuck brand has more prestige and stature. Yet even pay over a 20-year career, according to currently available data, isn’t all that different: $3.1 million for a Tuckie and $2.9 million for a Darden grad.

    I honestly don’t think you can make a bad decision here, either way. And to close the deal, I would re-visit each campus and stay a night, speak with a few more students and teachers and act on your gut. It is worth the extra cost and effort to help you make up your mind and feel no regret over the choice.

    All this said, you asked a question and I won’t evade an answer: I would probably go with the bigger brand, especially because it would buy you the best alumni network on the market (better even than Harvard or Stanford). I’d take out the larger loan and head north.

  • Mike

    John – i was recently admitted to Tuck and Darden w/ third tuition scholarship. I love both schools as aside from location and case method vs blend i see many things in common. I am currently located in the Northeast and everyone i talk to doesnt even consider the fact that i may go to UVA upon getting into Tuck and i think this may be a function of being in Tucks backyard/resonating ivy leage stigma for those who dont neccesarily know anything about business schools. Is the Tuck brand that much stonger than Darden where i should seriously be considering passing on the $$?

  • Jess,

    Very good suggestion. We will fix these charts and update them with the latest info over the next few weeks.

  • Jess

    HI John,

    Great article, as always. If I may make one suggestion: on your ranking comparison charts, have you considered flipping the Y-axis (so 1 would appear at the top… and a dip in the line would corresponded to a dip in the rankings)? It may make your charts, which I love, more meaningful visually. Just a suggestion.


  • Quite a bit of weight is put on both GPA and work experience. If you have been following our series on “Your Chances of Getting In,” it will give you a good feel for how these variables are weighed by the top schools.

  • sari

    This was indeed an exhaustive comparison … as a fairly young (25 years) aspirant for 2012, what’s the premium these schools put on work ex and age? Also, how critical is the under grad GPA ?

  • Ouri

    Hi John,

    I wanted to know if you can make a quick comparison between these schools from the aspect of foreign students?

    I talked to some Tuck and Stanford alumni, and got the feeling that it is far more difficult for a foreign student to integrate with US students in Tuck, in comparison with Stanford’s foreign students. Do you think Tuck’s strong community aspect is less relevant for foreign students than other schools’, such as Stanford?

  • Deepak Kapoor

    hi john !!
    I am applying to Tuck (no doubt, I am already done with Stanford app :).
    What are the stakes on technology and entrepreneurship as far as Tuck is concerned ?

  • Lim,

    Thank you John. B-school research will never be the same again! As a prospective career changer, I’m particularly interested in the who hires who section.

  • Lim,

    Yes, indeed. I wish I had more time! I haven’t forgotten about Cornell. It’s a fabulous business school. I soon plan to finally get to Cornell, Darden, Duke, UNC, and UCLA. These smackdowns take a good deal of research and writing time. Utlmately, I would hope to have hundreds of them on the site. Best, John.

  • Lim,

    Hmm.. anyone still remember Cornell? I thought Johnson school of management was great. Can’t wait for the ‘forgotten Ivy’ to come out and join the smackdown party too. 🙂

  • Vikalp

    Simply Incredible. I have never gone through such an exhaustive comparison of two schools. Thanks!!
    Kindly direct me to some other similar comparisons as well. I will be applying for Fall 2011 this year.

  • Congratulations Derrick! You’re going to an incredible school. Meantime, thanks for your kind comments. They’re really appreciated.

  • DD


    This is a great post about two amazing schools. I will be attending Tuck this fall and can’t tell you how excited I am to attend. I had a fairly arduous process, applying to six schools, accepted to four (MIT, Kellogg, Yale, Tuck). I am confident I made the right decision about attending Tuck, and am looking forward to an amazing experience.

    This site is great as well, and looking forward to seeing more profiles, reading more smackdowns, and spreading the word to MBA candidates going forward!