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MBA Essay Tips for Round 2 from Dartmouth Tuck

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As the Round 2 deadline approaches, Dartmouth Tuck’s Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid Luke Anthony Peña recently took to the Tuck 360 Blog to offer prospective students advice on admissions essays.

Luke Anthony Peña, Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business

As Peña has shared before, the ideal Tuck MBA is smart, aware, accomplished and nice, and the essays provide a vehicle for showcasing some of these qualities.  While he and his team have expanded on what makes a strong essay, they now offer a keyword to keep in mind: simplicity.

He explains, “I tend not to dwell much on mistakes or pitfalls, because I want to empower you to apply with confidence, and that means focusing on all that can go right rather than all that can go wrong. I do often tell applicants that the best way to stand out is to stop trying so hard to do so. We care a lot at Tuck about your awareness, both of your strengths and your areas for growth and development.”

Peña has read an estimated 9,000 essays in his two years at Tuck, and more than 10,000 combined with his prior work.  With that in mind, he also cautioned that the goal of an essay should not be to leave a lasting impression on the reader—something memorable is not necessarily informative.  Instead, make sure you answer the question and also ensure the reader can get a sense of who you are.

Peña’s best advice for the essays is, “Write them, share them with someone whom you know and trust, and ask them not ‘Is this a good Tuck MBA essay?’ but instead ‘Is this truly me?’ If yes, you’ve done good work. If no, keep at it—you’ll get there!”

The Tuck offices will reopen January 2nd, 2020, but applicants can still meet up with current Tuckies or contact Peña with their questions.

See more advice here.

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.