Call it business as unusual. In a blog post April 30, Luke Anthony Peña, executive director of admissions and financial aid at the Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business, says despite the disruption caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Tuck’s leadership plans to open as scheduled in the fall.
At least for now.
“We plan to welcome the Class of 2022 with Tuck Launch in August, as scheduled,” Peña writes in his regular Tuck 360 Blog. “If, for whatever reason, an incoming student is unable to join us in person this August, we will have a plan in place to allow students to begin their Tuck education remotely. This plan will cover all curricular, co-curricular, and career-related aspects of the MBA experience.
“As the success of our virtual learning environment this spring is showing, we have the capabilities, resources, and — importantly — the community to achieve this.”
‘WE CONSIDER ALL REQUESTS TO DEFER ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS’
Tuck was one of the first U.S. B-schools to get a coronavirus scare when hundreds of MBA students attended an off-campus event in early March that later turned out to also have been attended by someone who tested positive for the coronavirus Covid-19. However, the school has avoided any close calls since then.
Of course, anything can happen in a pandemic. Further decisions about the fall term will be announced as events dictate, Peña says.
“Given the continued public health uncertainty, Tuck’s senior leaders are exploring all options for how we can best achieve our mission in the upcoming academic year,” he writes. “Our deans, along with an advisory committee comprised of members of the Tuck faculty, are meeting regularly and actively considering possible scenarios and contingencies. While the situation remains dynamic, we intend to resume in-person learning at Tuck as soon as it is safe for our community to do so, consistent with public health guidelines. We will continue to update you on this work as it progresses, and to inform you of plans as we make decisions.”
Will Tuck offer deferrals to admitted students?
“We consider all requests to defer on a case-by-case basis,” Peña writes. “We believe each personal and individual request deserves a personal response based on individual circumstances. Given that we will have a plan in place for all admitted students to join us, either in person or remotely, we do not expect to offer many deferrals. We empathize with those who choose not to enroll this year, and we will work personally with these admitted students to encourage their reapplications.”
Why not offer more deferrals? “We at Tuck strive to consider and appreciate the perspectives of all of our applicants and admitted students,” Peña writes. “Even in these historic times, many applicants and admitted students express continued enthusiasm about joining the Class of 2022 — but only if we maintain our commitment to building a strong, diverse global class. Given Tuck’s distinct scale, granting mass deferrals significantly changes our class composition, more so than if our community was larger. Mass deferrals also dramatically reduce our available seats next year, and make applying for our Class of 2023 more artificially competitive.
“We want to ensure this year’s class is strong and next year’s seats are attainable.”
APP REQUIREMENT CHANGES WOULD ‘INTRODUCE UNFAIRNESS’
Dartmouth Tuck has a rolling Round 4 with a final application deadline of June 1. Will the school modify or waive application requirements for Round 4 applicants?
“We remain committed to both our criteria for a great Tuck candidate and the application materials where these criteria emerge,” Peña writes. “We continue to require a complete application, including in-person or online/at-home test scores, for Round 4 applicants to be considered for admission. Fairness and equity are paramount to the integrity of our evaluation efforts. We required a complete application for all applicants in our first three rounds, and we made admissions decisions accordingly. Changing or waiving application requirements now would introduce unfairness and inequity for candidates who applied earlier in this application year.”
Tuck will not, however, reconsider applicants who were not offered admission, as at least one peer school has opted to do.
“We stand by our admissions decisions made earlier in this cycle. We do not intend to reconsider or reverse decisions,” Peña says.
A BRIGHT RECRUITMENT PICTURE
Asked how recruiting is going as the pandemic continues and job and internship offers contract, Peña paints a bright picture.
“As of today, more T’20s have accepted a full-time offer than the T’17s or T’18s had at graduation,” he writes. “At this time, all companies plan to honor accepted offers for full-time employment. The number of first-year students who are finalizing internships remains typical for this point in the term, and Tuck Career Services continues to communicate with our recruiting partners. For summer 2020, some companies are rethinking what MBA internships look like in practice because of remote work conditions related to coronavirus.
“Last week, Career Services reported a strong number of new internship postings and accepted offers for Tuck first-year students relative to last year. We’re encouraged to see T’21s successfully pitching project opportunities to career contacts and Tuck alumni. Finally, building on the infrastructure and expertise of the OnSite Consulting Team, Tuck is also creating a new project opportunity for the summer in which we will source projects with well-known companies to help them consider the ramifications of the COVID-19 crisis.”