The Tuck School of Business offers a unique culture that is unlike many other top business education institutions in the US. Its small, rural setting makes it stand out amongst other choices and worthy of your consideration as a contender for where you will pursue your MBA. Small but mighty, Tuck is ranked consistently amongst the top ten business schools in the country.
An MBA from Tuck would benefit your career not just materially, in the almost guaranteed boost to your salary, but also by giving you the significant prestige of having a degree from an elite institution.
About the Tuck School of Business
“Tuck develops wise, decisive leaders who better the world through business” — that is the mission statement of the Tuck School of Business, quoted directly from its website, and gives you a good understanding of the culture of this prestigious institution. Tuck seeks to instill its graduates with the knowledge and capability to change the world through business.
The Tuck School of Business is known for being a small, rural business school amongst the most elite in the US. Situated in Hanover, New Hampshire, Tuck will not bring you the thrills of big-city living like Columbia, for example. However, Tuck will undoubtedly give you a unique experience. Its small class sizes and relative rural isolation are said to significantly enhance the sense of community you feel as a student at Tuck. The significant impact of this heightened sense of community is proven by the fact that Tuck alumni donate to their university at the highest level of all top US business schools.
Tuck is also a member of the prestigious Ivy League group of universities in the American Northeast, alongside such esteemed institutions as the Harvard and Columbia business schools. Initially founded as an athletics conference amongst local universities, the Ivy League today is known for being an exclusive and elite group of private universities that consistently produce high-achieving graduates.
They also happen to be some of the oldest universities in the US, with Tuck being no exception — the Tuck School of Business is the oldest graduate school of management in the world at over a century old. The age of universities such as Tuck gives them prestige, thanks to having produced exceptional graduates for so many years. Although harder to demonstrate than the material benefits of studying at Tuck, such as the high average salary for recent graduates, you should at least consider the factor of prestige in your search for the ideal business school.
In terms of what programs it offers, you’ll find that the Tuck School of Business differs from other top institutions in a significant way: it only offers a single, full-time MBA program. Representatives from the school state that this is to avoid a “dilution” of the value of their teaching by spreading learning out over weekends, as other top schools do in their part-time MBA programs.
This does not mean that you can only study one thing at Tuck — you can study in their 4-week “business bridge” program in the summer or apply for their executive education — but if you are looking for some kind of part-time MBA program at a top business school, you’ll need to look elsewhere. If you are only interested in a full-time MBA program, Tuck could be a good choice for you.
Not only will more or less of the entire school be geared towards your education, but the sense of community will also be comprehensive, knowing that everyone else there is studying the same thing as you. Being on the same course as the rest of the student body could help your studies by making study groups easier to form across the school or by helping you form lasting connections with other students who all share your course.
Level of Competition
If its unique culture and environment appeal to you, let’s take a closer look at some of the statistics at Tuck:
One of the standout features at Tuck is its relatively small class size, compared to, for example, Wharton at 916. As mentioned, this can benefit your experience at the school, but, combined with Tuck’s 23% acceptance rate, a smaller class means it can be tough to enter. On top of that, its high academic requirements, 720 average GMAT, and a 3.48 GPA, though not extraordinary compared to other top business schools, can be intimidating.
The challenge is worth it. Successful entry into the Tuck School of Business should add a serious boost to your career. Just three months after graduation, 92% of Tuck alumni accept job offers averaging at a $150,000 salary. Despite its small size, a Tuck MBA packs a punch.
The greatest percentage of Tuck graduates go into consulting, at 42%, followed by financial services at 21%, and technology at 15%. This gives you an insight into the sorts of industries that a Tuck MBA will typically prepare you for and where you might expect to find other Tuck graduates who might be willing to collaborate. As we have seen with the high percentage of Tuck alumni donating to the school, the alumni community at Tuck is more limited (10,000) than other large business education institutions, but the close-knit nature might mean you will be more likely to leverage a fellow Tuck graduate for help than if you attended a less intimate school.
Complete Requirements and How to Apply
The process of applying to the Tuck School of Business is typical compared to that of other top business schools, but we will go through all of them here:
1. Form and Fee
Your first step will be filling out a mandatory form providing details about yourself. You will also need to pay a non-refundable fee of $250. This is not an insignificant amount of money and is intended to ensure that only serious applicants will go through the admissions process, which can be time-consuming for the school.
2. Academic Transcripts
Your full academic history, including your undergraduate school, and your all-important GPA, will need to be submitted in English. This is a vital part of the admissions process, demonstrating your past academic success and why Tuck should admit you to its prestigious MBA program.
3. Test Scores
Tuck accepts both the GMAT and GRE tests. Test scores are a key part of how the school will choose its candidates. Although top business schools will usually accept a range of test scores, high scores are typical. Lower-scoring candidates normally have some other asset, such as impressive work experience, to prove their suitability to their prospective school. Check out www.mba.com for more information regarding test scores.
4. English Language proficiency test scores
For non-native English-speaking applicants, the Tuck School of Business requires you to demonstrate your proficiency with English in order to be accepted. Due to the university teaching in English, this is as much to save you time as anything else. If you can’t understand their instruction, you are unlikely to get anything out of the experience. Tuck accepts TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the PTE (Pearson Test of English Academic), or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) as evidence of your proficiency in English.
Your resume is your chance to demonstrate what work experience you have had already. Tuck wants to develop excellent business leaders, so in your application as a whole, you need to show how their teaching would benefit you. This will be discussed in greater depth later in this article, but your resume is a particularly important place for you to prove your suitability to study at this elite business school.
6. Essay Questions
Your answer to one out of a choice of several essay questions is your best opportunity to truly show your personality in the admissions process. The questions generally lean into this aspect — “Tuck students recognize how their individuality adds to the fabric of Tuck. Tell us who you are.” — because they understand the unique opportunity of this part of your application.
Use your essay to express as clearly and thoughtfully as you can who you are and why you are suitable to study at Tuck. Your life, your experiences, and your goals are all relevant to the admissions officers. They want candidates who are not only exceptional but will truly benefit from the educational opportunities Tuck can offer. Use this opportunity to show them just that.
7. Letters of Reference
Letters of reference, sometimes referred to as letters of recommendation, are opportunities for Tuck to gain insight into you, your career, and your achievements from other people. These people should ideally have some kind of connection to your professional or academic life and can attest to the points that you are already trying to make in the rest of your application. You will need two letters of reference, and neither can be from your friends, family members, or other personal acquaintances.
All applicants who submit by September 1 or October 1, if applying to Tuck through the Consortium, are guaranteed an interview, with all other candidates only being interviewed by invitation. Your interview is your opportunity to discuss, in person, all the qualities which you have expressed in your application that make you an ideal Tuck candidate. Interviews can be an intense and nerve-racking experience, so make sure that you have got all the help you need and are well prepared ahead of time.
Application cycles for the Tuck School of Business can vary each year but generally open from late September and are composed of several rounds leading up to the summer. There are different benefits to applying at different times and rounds, but the significant takeaway is that if you miss one deadline, there will generally be another opportunity for you to apply.
Top Tips on How to Get Into Tuck School of Business
Now that we have discussed the process of applying to Tuck, we can delve into how you can best boost your profile and increase your chances of being accepted. Reviewing all of the parts of the application process should highlight ways that you can improve your profile.
One of the most obvious ways is to ensure that you have solid test scores. Almost all top business schools have an average GMAT score above 700, and Tuck is no exception. Test scores indicate that a candidate is academically capable and will be able to deal with the work expected of them at business schools. Tests such as the GMAT are particularly sophisticated and tailored towards business education in such a way that they give significant insights into the capabilities of candidates for business schools.
As such, if you feel that your test scores are lacking, improving them means you will be much more likely to get into Tuck and succeed. If you feel that you are struggling with the GMAT test, which tends to heavily emphasize quantitative skills, try the GRE test, which is also accepted by Tuck but has much less of a computational focus. Seek resources like tutors or test prep programs to ensure you perform your best, no matter which of the tests you choose.
Lastly, having a solid resume is another key way to ensure a successful application to Tuck. Top business schools are looking for top candidates, which, in business education, means you are expected to already have a significant length of experience in professional settings before applying.
As we have noted, the average work experience of accepted candidates is five years. If you don't have much experience yet, you might save yourself a lot of time and money by securing sufficient work experience before you apply. Impressive work experience on your resume is one of the most valuable things you can have for your business school application.
Schools such as Tuck will even disregard below-average test scores if you can prove that your ‘real-life’ experiences and achievements show that you are still suitable for a place in the Tuck MBA program.
1. Is Tuck worth the price?
It is more than likely that your time at Tuck will pay off in the long run. To be clear, studying for an MBA there will incur a considerable financial cost. Including the cost of living and the opportunity costs from not working for two years, you can expect your degree from Tuck to set you back at least $200,000.
That being said, Tuck does offer significant financial aid and scholarships to decrease the upfront costs of your degree, and with the increased salary which you can expect after completing your studies, you should pay off the cost of your degree within four years.
2. Is the Tuck School of Business a good graduate school?
As a member of the Ivy League, Tuck is regarded by many as an extremely prestigious institution. In addition, it consistently ranks among the top ten business schools in the US across multiple categories.
3. Who should send my letters of reference?
The ideal referee is someone who can honestly testify to your character and achievements. For example, your direct supervisor or a professor with whom you worked closely on a project at your university.
4. Should I submit test scores for both the GMAT and GRE?
The Tuck School of Business accepts both the GMAT and GRE but does not require you to submit both. You would be better served by selecting whichever test you have done or think you can do best in and submitting the highest score possible as part of your MBA application.
5. Do you have to have business experience to be accepted into Tuck?
Tuck accepts a wide variety of candidates and doesn't require formal business experience from its candidates. It does require that you are able to exhibit the skills that will be required to successfully study at a business school, and if you lack experience in some of the key quantitative concepts that will form a part of your MBA education (statistics, finance, etc.), consider taking classes to better prepare you.
6. What can I do if I cannot afford the cost of the application?
Tuck does offer waivers on a case-by-case basis to those facing financial hardship. If this is a concern for you, explore Tuck’s admissions FAQ for details on the waiver request process.
7. Does Tuck have a waitlist?
Yes, Tuck employs a waitlist for candidates that it feels are worthy of consideration in further rounds of the application cycle. This is only a very small part of the applications process, as generally very few candidates will be put on this list each year. This can be a disappointing result, but it is still a good result from the application process and means you have a good chance of acceptance in the future.
The Tuck School of Business is a historical and prestigious institution. Your approach to the school should reflect this. Applying to a top business school like Tuck requires serious commitment and a strong history of success — both academically and professionally.
This article is a good starting point to allow you to explore all that would be required of you when applying to Tuck and how to best maximize your chances of success in your application. Remember to achieve the highest test scores possible, maintain a competitive GPA, and secure strong letters of recommendation while gaining the appropriate work experience. Getting into Tuck would result in an almost guaranteed boost to your career with an increased salary and the prestige of an Ivy League business school MBA.
Tuck has a rare essence. If you believe this is the school for you, may you be successful in your pursuit of the highly-esteemed Tuck MBA.