Thursday, April 25, 2013

Feedback from Tuck

I have nothing but good things to say about Dartmouth Tuck School of Business.  First, the school is super friendly with a tight community and arguably the most alumni b-school network in the world.  Second, the interview with the second-year student was laid back and casual, and I felt like I was chatting with a friend over coffee.  Third, they are one of the very few schools that offer actual feedback from an admissions officer!

My talk with adcom was earlier today and lasted about 20 minutes.  She started off by asking me "What do you think were your strengths and weaknesses in your application?"  I was a bit caught off guard, and having just woken up, my answers weren't that great.  She then said that she agreed with my self-assessment and highlighted a few areas that concerned adcom.  The BIGGEST weakness in my application was my part-time unpaid projects that I've been working on since leaving trading and the quality of that experience.  Consequently, this threw my trading experience into question as well because in adcom's mind, if my latest experience was mediocre, what does that say about the quality of my previous job?  It's the classic "what have you done for me lately?" theme. 

Moreover, they were a bit puzzled that my job title did not change during my 6 years at the firm (this is due to the unique nature of the firm), but it did not seem like a major issue.  Thankfully though, my age was not an issue.  She joked that she even forgot how old I was.  On the plus side, my recommendations, extracurriculars, GMAT, and interview were stellar.  I did a great job of demonstrating why I wanted to attend Tuck during the interview. The one weakness of my interview, according to the student, was that I did not demonstrate enough examples of teamwork, which is HUGE at Tuck (as well as Kellogg).  Finally, the adcom lady said that I totally whiffed on the leadership essay, with not enough concrete examples of what Tuck calls "collaborative leadership."  The stories I told from the trading floor were a bit too vague and aggressive and did not show my "softer" side. 

Overall, a great experience.  I wish more schools offered feedback, especially for older applicants, but I know that's not realistic given the volume of applicants.  The feedback really clarified what I've been thinking all along after getting dinged at 6 MBA programs this year.  In the next 6-8 months it is my job to improve on those areas and show these schools why I deserve to get in.


  1. I suspected the work experience may have been what did you in. Glad to know that Tuck have you actionable feedback for the next application cycle. Best of luck!

    1. Well, the whole job title thing was a concern to me from the beginning, but that's something i had zero control over. It's still unclear to me whether my experience at the trading firm will continue to haunt me going forward or whether it was what i've been doing since leaving that firm that primarily did me in. The impression I got was that it was the latter, in which case there is actual room for substantive improvement.