We know you are currently conducting intensive research on MBA programs, including Tuck’s, to find the program that is the right fit for you. As you consider an MBA with Tuck, the Tuck Admissions team wants to ensure you have all the right resources and information to help inform your decision. Here are five myths we’ve heard from applicants when applying to Tuck, and why they are simply not true.
1. I must have a business background to get admitted to Tuck.
Not true! Tuck seeks qualified applicants from all backgrounds, including those who do not have traditional business experience.
Bringing together a talented and dynamic student body is critical to our mission of educating tomorrow’s wise, decisive leaders. Tuck is enriched by the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and dreams of our students and strengthened by what they share: an exceptional record of accomplishment and a desire to use their talents to better the world through business. Tuck classes are diverse by design, but our students share four common characteristics that form the basis of our admissions criteria. Tuck students are smart, accomplished, aware, and encouraging; no two candidates are equally strong across all criteria, and you may demonstrate different strengths in different ways.
2. I shouldn’t share my loftiest aspirations on my application.
We don’t want you to minimize your goals and aspirations. We do want you to think about goal alignment and how to best articulate your vision for your future.
As we map your application to our criteria, your goals reflect your awareness. As articulated in our criteria, aware Tuck candidates craft a compelling vision for the future and identify coherent goals—audacious in scope yet grounded in reality. We can’t overstate the importance of this balance. On one hand, the Tuck School and the world of business need wise, decisive leaders who dream big. You don’t better the world through low ambition, so share your highest aspirations with us. At the same time, remember that judgment is an essential aptitude of wise leadership. You need that good judgment to identify the right steps on the path to your goals and to assess whether the Tuck MBA makes sense as one of those steps.
Both your short- and long-term goals should be ambitious and realistic, though on the margin, we will expect your long-term goals to tilt towards the former and your short-term goals to tilt towards the latter. Be authentic. Your goals should align with your story, who you are, and what you want to bring to Tuck. Don’t “tell us what you think we want to hear.” We truly want to get to know you.
3. I need managerial leadership experience to get admitted to Tuck.
While work experience certainly demonstrates leadership potential, your pre-MBA experience does not have to come with a big salary or what some might consider a lofty title.
Your personal and professional experiences, including the teams you were part of prior to an MBA and even community engagement and volunteer work, all reflect leadership and impact, adaptability, philanthropy, and confidence. Remember that the passion around the story you tell in your application can signal future desired impact in the MBA community. Focus on connecting your professional trajectory and accomplishments to Tuck’s mission of developing wise, decisive leaders who better the world through business. Remember also that Tuck seeks students who are accomplished, impactful, and principled. In your application, focus on not only your professional performance, but how you act with conviction, thrive in tough moments, and seek to win the right way. Your principled commitment to these behaviors, in both success and setback, will help you make bold decisions, solve problems, seize opportunities, and take the right risks at Tuck and beyond.
4. I need to hire an application/admissions advisor to review my application.
The short answer here is: no, you do not need to hire an admissions advisor in order to get admitted to Tuck.
We often recommend to our applicants that they consult a mentor, colleague, or friend to closely review their application and offer feedback. In general, it is recommended to access sounding boards in this process, and we understand hiring an admissions advisor is a natural impulse for many prospective MBA students. We’ll share a few benefits of both approaches.
Whether or not to use an admissions advisor is one of the many, many decisions applicants are faced with during the application process. Though you have probably read and re-read your application half a dozen times and edited and reviewed your story a dozen times, you may still need a pair of fresh eyes to review from a big picture perspective. Admissions consultants can be helpful in providing information about different programs, can help flesh out your school wish list, and usually have extensive knowledge of MBA programs out there and what they offer. Think of admissions advisors as an assistant on your path to self-reflection and discovery—someone on the outside who can ask the right questions to help you narrow down your goals and what you need in order to achieve them.
That being said, you can absolutely do all of this work on your own, using school resources and your personal and professional networks as sources of information and sounding boards. Maybe you choose a consultant as your application advisor or maybe you choose your best friend or work colleague who has been through the process before. A trusted friend, colleague, or mentor—someone who already knows you and your personal and career goals well—could serve as your fresh set of eyes, ensuring your story makes sense and that you are representing yourself well in all you’ll bring to Tuck.
5. I can’t afford an MBA.
We know the cost of an MBA program can be overwhelming, but we offer myriad ways to finance your degree.
Tuck offers scholarships—ranging from $10,000 to full tuition with the average being $29,290—to enroll outstanding students who, absent funding, might not attend. Our trusted Financial Aid Office will help you find the best combination of loans for your personal situation whether they are institutional, federal, and/or private. Our Financial Aid advisors will work with you one-on-one to answer your questions, point you to resources, and provide valuable insight as you navigate the financial commitments of your MBA. They are your best resource for the most current and comprehensive information to help prepare you financially, and they are available anytime to take your calls—they also regularly schedule phone appointments and online events. Here are a few financial aid testimonials from recent graduates.
Bottom line: An MBA is an investment in yourself. The upfront cost may seem overwhelming, but with our history of record-breaking employment numbers, your return on investment will come sooner than you think. Tuck students who borrow student loans are, on average, able to repay loans in full within three to six years of graduation.
Amy Mitson is a Co-Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and has been at Tuck since 2000. Amy serves on the admissions committee and leads recruitment and diversity-focused initiatives. Her student services and admissions experiences have helped acquaint her with Tuck’s operations, history, vibrant campus, and alumni community. Amy’s favorite aspect of Tuck is the people; working with current and prospective members of the Tuck community is a consistent source of motivation and inspiration!