10 Business Schools To Watch In 2023

Dartmouth Tuck School of Business  >>> File photo

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

You’re only as good as your alumni.

By that measure, the Tuck School is the place to be.

Happy alumni are engaged alumni. They champion their alma mater and take students under their wing. Most of all, they open up their pocketbooks. The latter made news last January, when Tuck beat their $250 million goal it set in 2018 with their Tuck Difference campaign. Just as impressive, 81% of alumni had contributed to the campaign – double the response rate you’ll find at most business schools. Six months later, the news got even better when Tuck landed its biggest gift ever: $52.1 million from an anonymous friend to endow a recurring global summit hosted by Tuck on “health, wealth, and sustainability.” The summit will turn Tuck into ground zero for scholarship in the field, with the event initially addressing the intersection of public policy, health care, and climate change.

“The summit reflects the donor’s strong belief in the transformative power of scholarship at Dartmouth and its application within and beyond the classroom,” says Punam Keller, the faculty director of the Tuck Center for Business, Government and Society. “The urgency of these challenges is apparent, and The Dartmouth Summit for Health, Wealth, and Sustainability has tremendous potential to incubate creative and much-needed solutions.”

Such gifts are also an extension of the Tuck culture. “Family” is a term associated with Tuckies, a group often described as being “smart, accomplished, aware, and encouraging” – not to mention “nice.” By nice, people mean open, upbeat, and – in the words of ’20 grad Sonovia Wint – “empathetically assertive.” Supportive too, a mentality that ‘no one wins unless everyone wins.’ This bond is why you’ll find Tuckies hanging out on weekends over dinners or ski trips – or going out of their way to help each other.

“Tuck is a place where the moment you speak your dreams out loud, the whole community conspires to help you,” observes second-year Destinée Mentor-Richards.

Not surprising, Tuck is called a “destination school” – a program purposely targeted by MBA applicants because of its experience. “Students opt in at Tuck,” explains Amy Mitson, the school’s director of admissions, recruiting, and marketing, in a 2023 Q&A with P&Q. “No one ends up in Hanover by accident or because it was nearby. Our students arrive with an intentionality around their MBA experience. They arrive knowing they will create relationships with other community members who made a deliberate choice to be here and to be “in” for all sorts of new experiences together—whether that is creating a strategy for a startup in an emerging market during an Onsite Global Consulting project, putting on skates for the first time and attempting hockey, flinging themselves down a local ski slope, or vulnerably sharing a personal story during Tuck Talks.”

That spirit carries over to alumni, who are happy to pay it forward with students. “Tuck students also have more avenues than ever to personally connect with alumni, without the barriers or trepidation that a cold-call email might present,” adds Dean Matthew Slaughter in a 2020 interview with P&Q. “Our business directory enables students to easily discover companies owned and operated by alumni—who are eager to share their entrepreneurial insights. The Tuck Networking Hub, launched in 2019, also continues to facilitate connections and mentorship between students and alumni who share similar career interests and paths.”

MBA students who are part of a virtual reality course at Tuck

Another reason why Tuck culture remains fervent and consistent? The full-time MBA is the only business program at Dartmouth.  You won’t find any undergrads, EMBAs, or online students competing for resources. Full-time MBAs are the center of attention. At the same time, the school intentionally maintains a 285-student class size that fosters an intimate environment where student can better connect and grow.

“There are more resources per student due to Tuck’s small class size and sole MBA focus,” observes second-year Geet Kalra. “During one of my admissions outreach calls with a Tuckie, she said, “Think of Tuck as if the entire fraternity—deans, faculty, administrators, thousands of accomplished alumni—is invested in the success of 285 students.”

It is a formula that has been working. Take pay. In November, Tuck announced that total graduate pay had jumped 15% to $202,900 with the Class of 2022. At the same time, 98% of the class had received offers within three months of graduation, while 93% had received sign on bonus at a median rate of $30,000. One reason for Tuck’s success is a “well-resourced” and heavily-involved career services team, credits Stephen Pidgeon, executive director of career services at Tuck, in a 2022 interview with P&Q.  However, he also lauds Tuck grads for bringing the right skills at the right time.

“During times of uncertainty, such as we have had in recent years, you need leaders in your organization that can balance their hard skills with a healthy level of empathy and an ability to thrive in teams. Tuck MBAs can, by and large, be plugged into any group environment and find success because they are adept at creating spaces where people can bring their best selves to the table.”

In many ways, Tuck’s Hanover locale – deep in rural New Hampshire – actually gives it an advantage in recruiting, notes Lawrence Mur’ray, the program’s executive director of admissions and financial aid. “Tuck’s setting offers a massive advantage for students and their career journeys,” he told P&Q this month. “This is in part because of the intentionality that our location creates around reflection and recruiting—top firms come to you at Tuck and usually for a day or longer, giving students ample time to connect with potential employers. Our location also helps students build deep relationships with one another and bond with a global network of alumni who are extraordinarily distinguished, loyal, and supportive.”

Tuck may be small and remote, but they are deeply connected and never satisfied with being a Top 10 Ivy League MBA. This year, according to Dean Matthew Slaughter, the school rolled out Practicum, a set of courses he describes as “live project work with real people, real organizations, or real assets.” This year’s practicum focuses on early-stage venture capital. At the same time, Tuck has also introduced micro courses to expose MBAs to the latest trends and best practices in near real time.

“Tuck Sprints run fast (about five hours of total instruction) to examine a timely, emergent, or topical subject not currently covered in other Tuck courses—or to dive deep into a focused area that expands on material covered at a higher level in an existing course,” Slaughter adds. “Sprint Courses this academic year tackle U.S.-China relations; managing business under sanctions; horizon scanning and the latest in foresight methods; mentorship at the intersection of race, gender, and nationality; and decision biases in the NBA. Several more are in the works, too.”

Don’t let Tuck’s bucolic digs fool you, either. The area may be quiet and free from big city distractions, but it is also a place where you can snowshoe in the winter, mountain bike in the spring, canoe in the summer, and hit farmer’s markets in the fall. In other words, Tuckies are never bored, says Teo Gonzalez, a ’21 grad.

“It shocks me every day there is so much to do in the Upper Valley and at school. I’ve never been as busy as I am at Tuck, whether I’m participating in faculty chats, meeting with classmates, taking adventures in nearby national parks, trying out local restaurants and breweries, or enjoying any of the area’s other numerous activities to do.”

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