Tuck students can articulate how the distinctive Tuck MBA will advance their aspirations. Why are you pursuing an MBA and why Tuck? (300 words)
Let’s start with a little thought experiment. Think about three business school applicants you know—friends, colleagues, people you’ve read about on GMATClub, etc. You can include yourself in the mix if you want to, we just need three applicants whose reason for getting an MBA you know and understand.
Got your three applicants? Great, now imagine how an MBA will advance their aspirations. Not a Tuck MBA, any MBA. How does Generic McBusiness school move each of these three applicants to their goals? How is “Joe Applicant” better able to pull off his goals with a generic MBA?
Cool, now flow these three applicants through TUCK. What’s changed compared to the “generic MBA” scenario? How do the applicants end up achieving their goals faster/better? In what way does going to Tuck change them as people? We’re interested only in what Tuck adds to the picture—all the changes that you identified in the first part of the thought experiment (Generic MBA) are already “priced in” and aren’t worth mentioning. What does TUCK add that “an MBA” didn’t?
Let’s visualize that value add a few ways. First fling your three applicants into the future 5, 10, 25 years. Our first task is to identify how the 25-years-later Tuck graduate’s life is different from that of the 25-years-later generic MBA alum. For example, if applicant #1’s goal is to “help my family business do XYZ,” what might be different about her family business 25 years from now if she goes to Tuck instead of Kellogg, Stanford GSB, or CBS? Perhaps Tuck has a certain professor who has worked on a specific problem in the applicant’s target industry, giving her XYZ special advantage that she wouldn’t have had if she went to any other school. How might that advantage play out over the next 25 years?
This is the kind of thinking the adcom is looking for here. After practicing with our three example applicants, let’s do the thought experiment with YOU and your goals. Our task is to articulate how the future version of you that went to Tuck is different and better than the future version of you that just got a generic MBA. Why is the “Tuck Version of You” more exciting and compelling than the others? What’s different about his or her future career arc? What special advantages does s/he have?
Our answer should be 2-3 paragraphs. We recommend first identifying 2-3 special things that you NEED from business school. Then spend the rest of the essay connecting aspects of Tuck to your needs, showing how Tuck’s version of meeting those needs is distinct and makes for a better “future you” than any other program. Being specific is key here: it’s not “I need leadership skills, and Tuck has a seminar on leadership,” it’s “I need to learn how to manage international sales teams in order to become a (title) at (target company). Professor Smith is perfectly suited to teach me this skill, because she worked as (title) at (similar company), achieving (amazing result)….”
In short, this essay is about identifying things only you need, that only Tuck can provide. They’re trying to suss out the folks who are DRAWN to Tuck as their first choice from those who have “thrown Tuck in” to their larger basket of target schools that include mostly M7s. Suppose you were to be handed admits from all M7s… why might you elect to say no to all of them and attend Tuck instead? The answer will have everything to do with something VERY SPECIFIC you want/need, and something VERY SPECIFIC about Tuck that makes for a particularly synergistic fit.