The 4 Attributes You Need for the Tuck MBA Essay

Updated for the 2019-20 admissions season.

It’s an exciting time to apply to The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. Tuck has always been transparent in the application process, providing the keys to success to all applicants who look for them. True to form, Tuck has released new admission criteria clearly explaining what they are looking for in applicants. The simplified admission criteria reflects four attributes of Tuckies: smart, accomplished, nice, and aware.

These four attributes are going to be the key to success for Tuck’s MBA application and new essays questions. So, let’s dive into what these words mean to Tuck.

Smart and Accomplished

Tuck is not expecting you to directly demonstrate these two attributes in your essays, but they want you to know that they’re important. This means that, yes, you will need to have strong academic achievement and test scores to get into Tuck. The academic curriculum at Tuck is rigorous to say the least, and they need some evidence that you can not only handle it but excel in it.

Your accomplishments should be demonstrated in your resumes. This is critical because your essays should not be used to outline all that you’ve accomplished inside and outside of your work. Your resume does that. In your essays, focus on one or two key anecdotes from your life that exemplify the attributes of nice and aware.


When Tuck says “nice,” what they have in mind is teamwork. In your essays, prove that you play well with others. Do you help ensure that there is space for diverse ideas and perspectives? Do you encourage thoughtful dialogue and tactful disagreement? Do you try to understand where others are coming from? Do you go out of your way to support your teammates? All of these questions are to help you identify and demonstrate your emotional intelligence, empathy, and respect for others. These are the traits that the keep the Tuck community famously tight-knit and supportive.


At Tuck, they believe you cannot be a good leader if you are not self-aware. Reveal in your essays that you reflect on your experiences and values in order to be your best self. When you get critical feedback, do you fight back or use it to work on yourself? When you have a failure at work, do you blame others or identify what you could have done better? While Tuck is looking for smart and accomplished people, they’d rather someone who knows their weaknesses than expects to be perfect.