Be Interview Ready

The five P's of interviewing are essential! Do you know that Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Presentation?

What’s your brand?

Getting ready for a transition? Looking to explore new paths? How do you get your best out there? Make a lasting impression that differentiates you from others and helps elevate your resume or LinkedIn profile to the top of a recruiter or admission officer’s list.

MBA Success

Are you thinking about an MBA?
The decision to apply to business school is both exhilarating and challenging! Explore ways to maximize your chances of success in the application process.

Manage Your Career Trajectory

Are you evaluating your next career steps?
Should you be looking for a significant career transformation or just looking for avenues to continue to grow and accelerate your path? We’re here to help!

Tuck Class of 2020 Essay Analysis

July 13, 2017

2017/18 essay questions

Essay 1: What are your short and long-term goals? Why is an MBA a critical next step toward achieving those goals? Why are you interested in Tuck? (target 500 words)

Essay 2: Tuck’s mission is to educate wise leaders to better the world of business. Wisdom encompasses the essential aptitudes of confident humility, about what one does and does not know; empathy, towards the diverse ideas and experiences of others; and judgment, about when and how to take risks for the better. With Tuck’s mission in mind, and with a focus on confident humility, tell us about a time you:

  • received tough feedback,
  • experienced failure, or
  • disappointed yourself or others.

How did you respond, and what did you learn about yourself as a result? (target 500 words)

Optional question: Please provide any additional insight or information that you have not addressed elsewhere that may be helpful in reviewing your application (e.g., unusual choice of evaluators, weaknesses in academic performance, unexplained job gaps or changes, etc.). Complete this question only if you feel your candidacy is not fully represented by this application.

Reapplicant question: How have you strengthened your candidacy since you last applied? Please reflect on how you have grown personally and professionally.

2017/18 essay question analysis

Essay 1

In this question, you’ll want to have clearly defined goals. A great way to measure this is to measure it up to the “SMART” framework – specific, measurable, attractive, realistic, and time-bound. In this response, highlight the next steps that require an MBA, perhaps by highlighting past experiences whose outcomes would have been enhanced with one.

In addition to highlighting your goals, Tuck also wants to gauge your understanding of its program. Our suggestion is to create a list with 10 reasons why Tuck is a great fit for you, based on research through discussion with students, staff, and alumni, visits to the school (when possible), and online research. The more specific, the better! Keep in mind some of Tuck’s global opportunities – whether it’s through treks to immersion trips to classes focused on international business. A good essay will highlight how your perspective, learned best practices, and anticipated impact will be global, not just national.

Essay 2

The natural inclination when responding to this question is to choose examples of failure that aren’t too big, or don’t highlight too many of your weaknesses. If you have a good story along those lines, by all means use it. However, emotionally raw examples of failures, setbacks, and challenges (even non-work ones) have an opportunity to stand out to the reader. The key will be to emphasize lessons learned from your past mistakes.

Tuck knows you aren’t perfect; the essay question is seeking insight into what adversity and failures have shaped who you are today. The more emotionally raw your story is, the more memorable it will be to the reader. And the more you can show how you have taken the lesson(s) learned from that experience and used them to succeed in other endeavors, the more you will showcase yourself as a leader who learns from their mistakes.

Optional essay

As with other schools, this should focus on addressing weaknesses you cannot address elsewhere in the application. While Tuck guides all essays to be a maximum of 500 words each, good optional essays will be much shorter. Be direct in your explanation. You won’t have space to be defensive in what you’re trying to explain, which may actually help you avoid a common trap in questions similar to this.  

2017/18 deadlines

Early Action: Application deadline: October 4, 2017 at 5:00pm ET, Decision date: December 15, 2017

Round 1: Application deadline: November 1, 2017 at 5:00pm ET, Decision date: February 9, 2018

Round 2: Application deadline: January 3, 2018 at 5:00pm ET, Decision date: March 9, 2018

Round 3: Application deadline: April 4, 2018 at 5:00pm ET, Decision date: May 11, 2018

Other application details

Click here for school interaction opportunities.

The online application will be available mid-July.


Check out information here.

School resources

Check out our links to several of school's resources, including blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.