A “NICE” CLASS
Ask the Class of 2021 – or anyone else, for that matter – for a word that describes Tuck MBAs and “nice” is certain to pop up. “They are the type of people,” says Carol Maria Reyes Rios, “who will help you carry your heaviest boxes up two flights of stairs on move-in day, pick you up when your car breaks down on Interstate 89, and stay after Math Camp ends to help you work through an ungodly statistics problem – all while being award-winning ballroom dancers, decorated military officers, and leading advisors to their home country’s government.”
Indeed, “nice” manes different things to the Class of 2021. Zoya Imam calls them “humble and helpful,” while Roberto Ayora Peon applies the term, “confident humility” to his classmates. It is a niceness, however, that amplifies their business skills, a servant leadership mentality that fosters openness and belonging. That said, don’t ever mistake Tuck “nice” for being deferential or weak.
“It is because of our nice—empathetic, interdependent and principled—community that we are empowered to challenge, dissent and disagree with each other,” writes Sam Humbert, a 2019 P&Q MBA To Watch. “It deepens our respect and relationships. For example, study group members are very honest in their assessments of one another because the ethos is that we’re ultimately all on the same team. Competition is friendly, and we have each other’s best interests at heart.”
Thus far, that’s exactly the spirit that infuses the Class of 2021, adds Sarah Elizabeth Blatt. “They are thoughtful people who encourage, challenge, and truly care for one another’s ideas, life experiences, and goals.
FEWER LIBERAL ARTS MAJORS
Aside from “nice,” you could also label the class as diverse. The class hails from 45 countries – an all-time high at the school. In fact, 38% of the class were born overseas, up a point over the previous class. Overall, 73% of the class hold U.S. or Canadian citizenship, followed by Asia (20%) and Europe and Latin America (6% each) and the Middle East and Africa (4%).
By the same token, women comprise 42% of the Class of 2021, a rate equal to Yale SOM and Chicago Booth. In addition, the percentage of underrepresented minorities continues to climb at Tuck, going from 20% for the 2019 Class to 24% today. Among the class, 29% are married, with 3% being parents.
Academically, the class represents 113 domestic and 55 international undergraduate programs, with 15% holding advanced academic degrees. Traditionally, Dartmouth Tuck has skewed towards Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences majors. That was true for the Class of 2021 as well, with 43% of the class earning undergraduate degrees in these disciplines. However, these academic backgrounds are far less pronounced now, with the percentage dropping from 51% to 43% in the past year alone. Business majors made up most of the difference, rising from 20% to 27%. STEM majors accounted for the remaining 30% of the class seats.
A GOOD TIME TO BE A ‘TUCKIE’
As a whole, the class has worked for 228 employers, with the class’ professional profile looking similar to previous years. Financial Services again composed 25% of the class, followed again by consulting (20%), non-profits and government (13%), technology (12%), consumer goods (7%), and healthcare (7%). Overall, the non-profit sector lost two points this year, a number that was made up by a two point rise in healthcare.
The big news, however, was a decrease in applications, a trend that has reverberated across American full-time MBA programs. This year, Tuck saw applications fall from 2,621 to 2,032. In the process, the program’s acceptance rate rocketed from 22.7% to 34.5%. That doesn’t mean the talent pool has been diluted. Notably, the Class of 2021 posted a 723 GMAT average, a record for the school. At the same time, average undergraduate GPAs held steady at 3.52. In other words, the class is as academically accomplished as any before them.
That makes Tuck grads valuable in the marketplace. Last year, the Class of 2018 set a starting pay record at 151,750, a $5,500 increase that went along with a 96% placement rate within three months of graduation. At the same time, Forbes found that Tuck grads enjoyed an $82,700 pay increase within five years of graduation. While Tuck MBAs remain popular among recruiters, the school is hardly in a standby mode.
Notably, the program has restructured its curriculum, which includes greater attention to leadership and data analytics, along with greater flexibility to accommodate recruiters. In addition, the program received a $25 million dollar in September from Zdenek Bakala (’89) to create a global suite devoted to TuckGo, the school’s signature global immersion program. As a result, Tuck students will soon enjoy more global experiences in a wider swath of industries and regions. What’s more, the school announced last week that it had doubled the number of scholarships doled out to MBA students – and that’s on top of boosting scholarship dollars by 110% over the past four years. With the MBA program nearing its $250 million dollar “Tuck Difference” goal – coupled with Dean Matthew Slaughter being reappointed to a new term – the program has made solid footing for years to come.
FOUR QUESTIONS WITH TUCK LEADERSHIP
This fall, P&Q sent four questions to Dartmouth Tuck administration to get a greater handle on new programming developments, school traditions, and the secrets behind its uber-responsive alumni network. Here are their responses about what current and future classes can expect from the program.
1) What are the most exciting new developments at your program? And how will they impact and benefit incoming MBA students?
“Recent broadscale changes to our comprehensive first-year core curriculum—along with ongoing and new curriculum enhancements and innovations—have laid the groundwork for a richer and more rewarding learning experience for our MBA students, starting this academic year. Tuck’s signature core curriculum develops the functional expertise at the heart of strategic thinking and management, the analytical skills used to develop and defend points of view, and the personal leadership capabilities to craft, communicate, and execute a vision for change with and through other people. Central to these refinements were structural changes to the academic calendar. We have decompressed the Fall A term, adjusted the timing of certain courses to better support student internship interview preparation, introduced a new sequence of data analytics courses, refined our management course sequence and leadership framework, reduced the required course load in winter to allow for concentrated recruiting, and increased the optionality of elective courses.
In addition, our talented Tuck class of 2021 began their two-year journey with us with an expanded and enhanced orientation program. This new orientation program, Tuck Launch, ensures students have an even richer and more vibrant start to their Tuck MBA experience. Sessions by Tuck faculty, alumni, and staff ranged from how to create high-performing study groups, to the principles of strategic leadership, to telling one’s personal story when recruiting. When our second-year students returned to campus this fall, they experienced Tuck Recharge, a new half-day event designed to ready them to take full advantage of the opportunities and connections available throughout their second year.
Exciting changes to Tuck’s academic leadership and to Admissions and Career Services—departments that are integral to the student journey—have further positioned our students and our school for success. For example, Career Services has added three new career advisers and the team’s office has been relocated to Tuck Hall in order to deepen its integration with the MBA Program Office.”
Matthew Slaughter, Dean
2) What is the most underrated part of your program that you wish prospective students knew more about?
“I encourage prospective students to consider how a school’s focus meaningfully impacts its learning community and the return on investment for students. The MBA remains the heart of what we do. Tuck has no Ph.D. program. We have no Executive MBA, no part-time, night, or weekend MBA, and no undergraduate business major. This means that our students have the attention of all of our resources, including our renowned faculty and our first-rate Career Services team. At Tuck, you have a community better equipped to challenge you, support you, and know you because our program offerings are focused on you.
I’d also like to acknowledge our growing financial support for Tuck students. In years past, we’ve admitted strong candidates who really wanted to be at Tuck but enrolled elsewhere because Tuck was out of reach financially. Our current capital campaign is changing that. In the past year alone, we’ve nearly doubled our scholarship budget. This has allowed us to enroll more strong applicants who, absent funding support, would not have chosen Tuck. We’re reducing financial barriers and helping all candidates—regardless of scholarship awards—to plan financially for an MBA. The Tuck MBA is an investment in your future, and our team is eager to support you in preparing for that investment and the returns that follow.”
Luke Anthony Peña, Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid
* Go to Page 3 for a dozen in-depth profiles of Tuck students.