EssaySnark loves Tuck. If Tuck allowed people who already have an MBA to apply, EssaySnark would be all over it. Are you kidding? Two years hermited away in the mountains of New Hampshire? Learning about leadership and business-y stuff with all these really smart people? And such a glorious Great Outdoors to enjoy with them?
Let’s let a current Tuckie describe it — way better than we can:
Part of the reason why I came to Tuck was that I wanted to be in an immersive MBA program where I could cast off the shackles of my life in New York and replace my old friends with ones better positioned to help me in my career. Kidding aside, I wanted Tuck to be my life for 21 months – my own personal Walden, but with Wifi and really good coffee.
The pros of Tuck are the intimate environment, the amazing close bonds you develop with your peers (did you know that Tuckies are the highest per-capita donors to their school than any other set of bschool alums?), a focused MBA program without a bunch of EMBAs and undergrads, and a captive audience dedicated faculty. The Tuck professors get to know you well — after all, they don’t have anywhere else to go. It’s not like they’re just commuting in for a class one night a week and spending the rest of their life in their “real” jobs.
The cons of Tuck are pretty much the flipside of those pros: You’re practically a shut-in up in Hanover for extended periods, not just due to the intensity of the Tuck experience, but also due to the intensity of the winters. There’s plenty of opportunity to get away, however mostly you don’t; you’ll spend much of your time sequestered with your teams, working on projects. Boston and even NYC aren’t that far away but how much will you really get to leave campus? It’s a trek. And this works both ways: it’s hard for others to get up to Tuck, too. This means that they have much fewer guest speakers on campus than the big-city schools (Columbia has some big name on campus just about every day), and they don’t have as diverse a mix of faculty since most professors are the full-time tenured type. And, recruiting works differently, because the recruiters don’t necessarily make it to the school. As a point of reference, Tuck is one of the few schools that actively encourages recruiters to do their interviewing by videoconference or telephone — it’s that tough to get there.
In terms of curriculum, Tuck offers a top-notch general management education. Tuck hits in the top segment of most rankings systems year after year, including several international lists. The issue though is that the Tuck name isn’t a widely recognized brand. Dartmouth most certainly is, but not everyone will understand the value of a Tuck MBA — it’s not like Harvard or Stanford in terms of brand equity. That is not necessarily a problem though, since recruiters certainly value Tuck’s graduates, and Tuck sends a lot of people to the very best management consulting firms and even to the nearly-impossible-to-break-into field of private equity every year.
Because of its location and perhaps due to the less-known name, Tuck gets fewer applications than other top schools every year — especially from international candidates. Many of those who do apply are rejected because of a cookie-cutter or generic application; it’s important to show Tuck why you’re applying and what type of person you are. Many people don’t know anything about the Tuck culture and it shows in how they present their application. Because of this, a candidate who has done her research and is able to articulate why the Tuck experience would be valuable for her can easily stand out among the candidate poool.
Note that on-campus interviews are strongly encouraged at Tuck — before applying. This is Tuck’s way of getting their applicants to know what they’re about, to experience the school firsthand (and to understand exactly what the experience will be like up in the mountains of Hanover), before wasting anyone’s time with an application to a school that they’re just not a good fit for. EssaySnark strongly encourages anyone interested in Tuck — even international candidates* — to find a way to get on campus and go through the interview process before putting together their essays. The experience can be invaluable, and will likely be very inspiring.
*Yes, Tuck wants even international candidates to make the trip to campus before applying. Bschool is a significant investment; the cost/benefit ratio of such a pre-application journey is definitely worthwhile.