A Candid Interview With Tuck’s Head Of MBA Admissions

Has there been a measurable impact on international student application volume since the election of Donald Trump? Have there been discussions in incoming classes the last two years about comfort level or any other related issue?

Our international application volume has been very steady over recent years, including this last year. We have not experienced the scope of decline in international volume that we’re seeing in some of our peer schools. I believe that this has much to do with the supportive community in Hanover. I believe that international applicants look at Tuck and see a community where they will be supported, where they will be safe, where they will be cared for by a community that is known for being supportive, helpful, and collaborative.

Certainly we’ve had many discussions on campus, among faculty and staff and students, about what we are doing to make sure that we are both welcoming and supportive to international students who have concerns about studying in the U.S. I believe that our Career Development Office, our career development team is absolutely fantastic at working individually with all students — particularly with international students — in how to navigate the dynamic and changing recruiting and job markets, so that they are well-positioned to understand what opportunities are available to them.

The most significant questions we get from international students, not surprisingly, are about employment opportunities and employment support, and the distinct scale of the school and the individual career coaching from our office has, I believe, alleviated many concerns and provided great confidence and comfort for our international students.

Thus far, we are fortunate to not have experienced meaningful declines in our international application volume.

What is the lowest GMAT of any class member, and what did they do different or offer different to get you to overlook the low score? Give people hope: What can be done to overcome a bad GMAT score?

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I checked our numbers and I’m comfortable sharing that we expect the low end of the GMAT range to be 620, same as it was for the Class of 2019.

We have taken deliberate steps to align each piece of our application directly to the criteria, the refined and simplified criteria. The first criteria is “Smart,” and we readily acknowledge that GMAT and GPA, test scores and grades, are measures of intellectual aptitude. And yet this is only part of what being smart at Tuck means. We believe that “Smart” means not just that you have intellectual aptitude, but that you also are resourceful and creative when you have reached the limits of that aptitude. So when we see applicants in our application pool that have lower grades or lower scores, our response is to ask ourselves, “Where else might we see this person as ‘Smart’ according to how we think of this at Tuck?” So we will be looking for creativity, resourcefulness — an awareness, from this applicant, of what they know and what they do not know, and then steps and behavior and actions in that applicant to seek out new knowledge, seek out answers, seek out how to supplement their aptitudes. And when we see that, that gives confidence that the applicant can be resourceful and creative within our community in terms of growing their knowledge and their capabilities.

It’s been a little over a year since you joined Tuck. Hanover, New Hampshire is very different from Palo Alto, California, where you last worked. What has the last year been like for you?

Everything that I had heard about the Tuck School and that the Tuck School is renowned for has proven to be true, and more. The welcoming, supportive nature of the community has been wonderful to me in supporting me and helping me transition and acclimating me to a new professional opportunity, and a new location. I have to mention first and foremost how amazingly wonderful the admissions team is. We’ve got a well-tenured, experienced admissions team that lives up to their reputation for being very caring and thoughtful. That same care and thought that they show our applicants, they have certainly given to me, and helped me feel very welcome and very comfortable and also hopefully learn and grow.

The dean of our school, Matt Slaughter, has an unparalleled energy, and he is channeling that energy into advancing our mission of wise leadership, into our current fundraising campaign, the Campaign for Tomorrow’s Wise Leaders, and in leading a curriculum review at the school. And so it’s exciting to see the vision and direction that he has set forth for the school.

And I’ll say on a personal note, Hanover is amazing and wonderful. I have found Hanover to be absolutely delightful. The interaction between Tuck and Dartmouth College and Hanover is very strong, and it is a beautiful place. The natural beauty of the Upper Valley is stunning and refreshing, and it is an extraordinarily high quality of life. It’s a welcome transition for me. I see myself being here and doing good work at Tuck for a very long time.

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