Personal MBA Coach’s Guide To The Dartmouth Tuck 2019-2020 Application Essays

PMC's Tuck application essay tips

This week Tuck joined the growing list of MBA programs that have released application details for 2019-2020 applicants.

Most applicants will be pleased with this year’s changes, which include a later round 1 deadline, the elimination of short-answer questions and a simplified LOR process. In fact, one of the main messages of my talk with admissions directors a few weeks ago was the need for more schools to adopt similar recommendation questions. It is great to see Tuck adopt the common LOR! The school has also pledged shorter wait times for admission decisions.

This year’s deadlines are as follows:

Below, Personal MBA Coach has shared Tuck’s questions and our tips for candidates.

Question 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)

Personal MBA Coach’s Thoughts: There is a lot to fit into this short 300-word essay. First, candidates need to clearly articulate their goals, including both short-term and long-term aspirations. If you need help thinking through your goals, we have published a blog with our general tips. Next, candidates should reflect upon the skills they will need to succeed in this desired career and how SPECIFICALLY Tuck will help them. Be sure to do your research into everything Tuck has to offer and discuss what you will take advantage of on campus and how. Tuck has a unique program and it is more than just being close-knit. As always, avoid vague statements here.

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

Personal MBA Coach’s Thoughts: This second question is a modified version of the one asked last year. With the shortened word count, Tuck is no longer specifically asking candidates how they will contribute on campus. However, a strong answer will not completely ignore this discussion. For this question, candidates should reflect upon what makes them unique. Hobbies, passions, skills and aspirations are all fair game here. This essay should also paint a picture of what studying and living with you would be like and at least briefly discuss the role you will play within the class of 2022 and how you will improve life at Tuck.

Question 3: Tuck students invest generously in one another’s success even when it is not convenient or easy. Share an example of how you helped someone else succeed. (300 words)

Personal MBA Coach’s Thoughts: This third question was also asked last year, but with a longer word limit. With only 300 words, succinct writing will be particularly important. While naturally, the story selected should show how you live Tuck’s values, it should also be one that is easy to set up. You do not want to use many words explaining the situation, but instead, you want to SHOW your actions. This question is yet another opportunity for candidates to allow the reader to assess what studying and living with them would be like. Tuck looks for candidates who portray four attributes: smart, nice, accomplished and aware. This essay should show how you depict these qualities, particularly nice and aware. While stories discussing volunteer and extracurricular work could be logical choices for this question, examples of how candidates went above in beyond in their personal or professional lives would work equally well.

Tuck also has an optional question that should only be answered by those candidates with unique circumstances. Read our advice on how to address optional questions here.

Finally, candidates (and recommenders) will be pleased to learn that Tuck will be leveraging the GMAC common letter of recommendation questions this year, further simplifying the process for Tuck hopefuls.


Personal MBA Coach LogoScott Edinburgh is a Wharton MBA and MIT Sloan BS graduate and founded Personal MBA Coach over 11 years ago with the goal of providing customized one-on-one support. Scott also serves on the Board of Directors for AIGAC, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants and is invited to speak at MBA Admissions events globally. Our clients have been accepted to all top schools globally
with a 96% success rate. They received $4.5M in total scholarships last year.