Tuck has tweaked its essays ever so slightly, no longer asking candidates to define leadership but still asking for a leadership experience in essay two - no longer asking for constructive feedback on a difficult experience, but asking you to discuss a hurdle in essay three.  This small update - by removing the need for a definition of leadership and others' perspectives on your performance - shifts the focus entirely on you, the candidate. Our analysis follows...

Applicants should note that although there is no prescribed restriction on the length of the essays, on average most Tuck applicants use 500 words for each response. 

Essay 1

Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you? (If you are applying for a joint or dual degree, please explain how the additional degree will contribute to those goals.) 

Because Personal Statements are similar from one application to the next, we have produced the MBA Mission Personal Statement Guide. We offer this guide to candidates free of charge, via our online store.  Please feel free to download your copy today.

For additional information on the Tuck experience, please consult the MBA Mission Insider's Guide series.

Essay 2

Discuss your most meaningful leadership experience. What did you learn about your own individual strengths and weaknesses through this experience?

Your most meaningful leadership experience need not be the one where you produce the greatest end results. Indeed, Tuck is asking for meaning not impact. So, your meaningful leadership experience can be one where you challenged yourself and put forth your greatest effort, leaving your comfort zone and diversifying your skills, even if the results were negligible. Your learning is what is crucial and thus you will need to reveal how you acquitted yourself and reveal thoughtfulness with respect to your own actions and performance. Remember, strengths and weaknesses. 

Essay 3

What is the greatest challenge or hurdle you have overcome, either personally or professionally, and how did you manage to do so? 

A challenge or hurdle leaves open the possibility that you were not the cause of the problem that you faced. Tuck is not asking how you overcame a mistake of your own design, so you could theoretically discuss an instance when others left obstacles for you or where you were the victim of a happenstance occurrence (for example, you broke your leg during practice, the day before you were going to start your final season as captain of your collegiate athletics team).

Ideally, regardless of your level of culpability (and full culpability is fine and honesty is mandatory) you will need to discuss a situation wherein there was a great deal of optimism for a desired result and momentum towards it as well.  You have to raise the hopes of the reader and win him/her over, only to let him/her down emotionally with the obstacle that derails your ambition. Thereafter, you need to show that you made the best of a difficult situation, all with an emphasis on how you did so.  

Essay 4

Tuck seeks candidates of various backgrounds who can bring new perspectives to our community. How will your unique personal history, values, and/or life experiences contribute to the culture at Tuck?

Essay four is quite broad; within personal history, values, and/or life experiences, there is a great deal of range. So, it is permissible for you to develop one or two significant themes, drawing from your life experiences, and then relate them back to the Tuck experience. This is an opportunity for you not only to display your unique attributes but also to thoughtfully and subtly imply just how well you know the school. By showing true awareness of your connection with Tuck, you will complete the essay portion of your application on a very compelling note.