New Admission Requirement: Being Nice
There’s a new requirement for MBA acceptance: being nice.
Darmouth College’s Tuck School of Business announced that it will now seek applicants who possess four qualities: smart, nice, accomplished, and aware, Inside Higher Ed reports.
“The pathways students take to Tuck are numerous,” Luke Anthony Peña, executive director of admissions and financial aid at Tuck, says in a press release. “They bring a wide range of experiences and perspectives to our community and incredible professional diversity. Yet we’ve found that no matter their path to Tuck, there are four attributes that our students consistently demonstrate. We’re now intentionally highlighting those four qualities for prospective students and inviting them to imagine themselves here.”
What Does “Nice” Really Mean?
While “nice” may seem vague, it seems Tuck admissions is really seeking high emotional intelligence (EQ) in their applicants.
“What we’re looking for is emotional intelligence, empathy, and respect for others,” Peña explains. “Tuck is a distinctly collaborative community so being able to challenge others tactfully and thoughtfully is important.”
Emotional intelligence, according to Psychology Today, is the ability to identify and manage self-emotions and the emotions of others. In other words, it’s being aware that emotion can drive our behavior and impact people, and learning how to manage those emotions under pressure, according to the Institute for Health and Human Potential.
How Will “Nice” Be Evaluated?
According to Inside Higher Ed, the criteria for “niceness” among Tuck applicants will be demonstrated in both essays and recommendation letters. In addition to the traditional “why Tuck” essay question, applicants will be asked to write to a new prompt: “Tuck students are nice, and invest generously in one another’s success. Share an example of how you helped someone else succeed.”
Just last year, NYU’s Stern School of Business announced its own version of the EQ requirement: an EQ endorsement. The endorsement is submitted in the form of a testimonial written by an advocate of the applicant and must illustrate specific examples of the applicant’s EQ. Conventionally, endorsements are written my professional mentors or supervisors, but NYU’s EQ Endorsement broke tradition by opening the endorsement to team members, colleague, or friends who can best illustrate the applicant’s EQ.
“It’s a brand new idea and a new concept,” NYU Stern’s Isser Gallogly, associate dean of MBA admissions & innovation, explained in an interview with Poets&Quants. “We are looking for students who are not only capable academically but also capable in leadership, managing teams and having emotional intelligence. So we really asked ourselves what can we do to get more insight into a person’s emotional intelligence into their character.”
Chad Troutwine, co-founder and CEO of Veritas Prep, tells Inside Higher Ed that the new emphasis on “nice” might work out for Tuck.
“Tuck has finally formalized what they’ve long valued: a community of leaders who prize empathy and emotional intelligence at least as highly as financial and strategic acumen,” Troutwine tells Inside Higher Ed. “Those are not mutually exclusive qualities, so Tuck will likely attract even more of the high-quality applicants they seek. It’s a proud declaration of who they are.”