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How to Write a Great MBA Essay for Tuck School of Business

Tuck maintains one of the smallest class sizes of any top MBA program. This fact should influence how you write your business school essay to align with Tuck’s goal of creating a tight-knit community of students and alumni.

Tuck values candidates who can contribute to this community by being a strong team player and supportive leader. These essays are an opportunity to demonstrate patterns of both personal drive and contribution to something beyond yourself – whether that’s a friend, team, community, or something larger.

Essay 1: (Required) Tuck educates wise leaders who better the world of business. What are your short- and long-term goals? How will a Tuck MBA enable you to become a wise leader with global impact? (500-700 words)

Every MBA program wants to believe that they are filling the 2017 class with the future successful leaders of the world, and this essay is your chance to demonstrate that you will be one of those future success stories. You should prove that you know what you want to achieve and how the Tuck MBA will help you achieve it. Consider the following:

1) Be focused and specific about your goals. Even if you’re not sure what you want to do after you graduate, you should choose a path and stick to it in your essays. The more focused and specific you are, the more confidence you will elicit from the reader that you will be a successful alum. The goals should be tied to what motivates and drives you, and if this is connected to the global impact you aspire to make, even better.

2) Think broadly about what impact means. Impact can mean many things to many people, and you can interpret it in the way that most fits your career path. Whether you’re a social entrepreneur aiming to improve communities or an investment banker aspiring to influence financial institutions, you should tie your goals to something bigger and outside of yourself.

3) Demonstrate sincere excitement about Tuck. Remember, cultural fit is critical for Tuck. You can demonstrate that you are a Tuckie at heart with enthusiasm for the specific classes, clubs, and programs that you are eager to get involved with and contribute to. Do you play a trumpet and want to join the Tuck band? Have you heard about the accounting professor leading a global trip to South Africa? Are you excited about the first year study groups? Great – mention it.

Essay 2: (Required) As a diverse and global community, our students arrive at the same place from many different paths. Tell us about an experience in which you have had to live, learn and/or work with other people very different from yourself. What challenges and/or opportunities did you experience, how did you respond, and what did you learn about yourself as a result? (500 words)

As mentioned, Tuck is a small, tight-knit community in Hanover, New Hampshire. Because it is smaller and more isolated than schools in larger cities, classmates spend a huge amount of time together. A lot of that time is spent in group work. This forges strong bonds among classmates and necessitates admissions to bring together a diverse group of people who can “play well with others.” To answer this question effectively:

1) Exhibit resiliency. There is a reason that the average number of years of work experience at top MBA programs is usually around 5 – maturity and experience. It’s critical to use examples that demonstrate how you overcame setbacks and learned from mistakes. Nobody is perfect.

2) Emphasize collaboration. Tuck wants team players – the kind of person who is going to help others succeed. Pick examples where you can highlight work that was collaborative and leadership that looked more like supporting others than directing others.

3) Show that you are self-aware. Leadership requires self-awareness, so show Tuck you’ve got it. The ‘what you learned about yourself’ part of the question is arguably most important.

Essay 3: (Optional) Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application. (500 words)

Even though it says optional, it’s a good idea to complete it. Every application has an aspect that is weaker than the others, and this is a great opportunity to address whatever that might be for you. Keep in mind:

1) Make sure not to come across defensive.
2) Do not pass blame or criticize anyone.
3) Be candid without being too hard on yourself.

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