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These Four Attributes Will Help You Get into Tuck’s MBA Program

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Nice guys finish last? Not so if you’re an applicant to the MBA program at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.

Tuck’s admissions director yesterday outlined new, simplified criteria for evaluating MBA applicants—part of the school’s continuing commitment to being as open and transparent in its admissions process as possible. When it comes right down to it, Tuck wants students who are a combination of the following four attributes: nice, smart, accomplished, and aware.

As part of a news story on the school’s website outlining the new evaluation criteria, Tuck Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Luke Anthony Peña stressed that despite widely varied backgrounds and experiences prior to business school, Tuck students share this short list of key traits.

“We’re now intentionally highlighting those four qualities for prospective students and inviting them to imagine themselves here,” Peña said.

tuck applicant attributes
Luke Anthony Peña, Tuck executive director of admissions and financial aid

Peña, who previously worked in admissions at Stanford Graduate School of Business, took the lead at Tuck a year ago. He succeeded Dawna Clarke, who had been in the role for more than a decade and helped establish Tuck’s reputation as one of the most applicant-friendly of leading business schools.

Building on that reputation, Peña’s stated goal is to make Tuck’s application process the least stressful and most enjoyable among top business schools. Yesterday’s announcement of the simplified evaluation criteria is part of this effort.

What Does “Nice” Mean Exactly?
So, how can prospective applicants demonstrate to Tuck just how nice they are? Peña offered clear guidance. “What we’re looking for is emotional intelligence, empathy, and respect for others,” he said. “Tuck is a distinctly collaborative community so being able to challenge others tactfully and thoughtfully is important.”

The Tuck application for the Class of 2021 will open in July, and Peña and his team will reveal a new essay and recommendation questions later this month. The new essay prompt is designed to help prospective applicants showcase their niceness and awareness. Smarts will shine through in test scores and transcripts, and resumes will reveal accomplishments. Interviews and reference letters, for their part, will help the admissions team dive deeper into all four criteria.

Earlier this spring, Peña also committed to sharing regular updates via a monthly post to the Tuck 360: MBA Blog, and his May missive included other admissions process improvements, including clearer application round names, faster decision times, and uniform enrollment deposits. Application deadlines and admissions decision dates for the 2018-19 season are listed here.

We’ll keep you posted on anything noteworthy in Peña’s upcoming June blog post, and we’ll also be on the lookout for the new essay and recommendation questions. Stay tuned!