Among the Ivy League MBA programs, the Tuck MBA from Dartmouth University figures prominently on the list of many MBA applicants from India. But there are several hurdles you’d need to cross first to get into the high ranking course.
The Tuck MBA application process is highly selective. And it has to be, because the class size is pretty small. The average GMAT score of 718 is just one of those indicators that provide an insight into the competition level. The average age, experience level, international student mix are all in the same range as the rest of the elite MBA programs.
Marketing consultant, Mithun Sundar Raj scored a 660 in his first attempt and he knew this could be a deterrent in his journey. And then there were other other challenges of writing essays, tackling the MBA interview. Mithun narrates more about his MBA admissions experience.
Tuck MBA Application Experience
by Mithun Sundar Raj
Pre MBA Profile
Post undergrad from NIT Calicut, I obtained four years of sales and marketing consulting experience in ZS Associates. I started my career in Pune office of ZS and moved to the Princeton office early 2013. I have consulted for pharmaceutical companies across US, Canada and Western European geographies in business intelligence, sales force effectiveness and performance measurement areas.
Outside ZS, as an independent consultant, I have consulted start-ups and small businesses for sales and marketing, strategy and operations.
To transition from niche pharmaceutical consulting work at ZS to a broad strategy consulting role, I felt the need for an MBA. Additionally, I wanted to learn the nuts and bolts of business functions such as finance, accounting etc. to become an impactful consultant.
I also felt the need for a strong alum network, which will be my support system for my personal and professional growth. Based on my personal and career goals, I decided to apply to a few Top 10 schools in the United States.
I realized that the first step to admission to a good business school is a high GMAT score. Also, I belonged to the best possible applicant pool: Indian/Male/Engineer, and I recognized that it was nearly impossible to get into a top business school without a top score.
In my first attempt, I obtained GMAT score of 660 and, as expected, I was terribly disappointed. Deciding to retake the test, I diligently prepared for two months, referring to the GMAT Bible: Official Guide, and Manhattan GMAT books.
Tuck MBA application strategy
After GMAT, the next big hurdle is my ‘story’ or what is popularly known as MBA application strategy.
MBA Crystal Ball (MCB) was very critical in my success in the following ways:
1) Building a strong MBA application strategy.
My first interaction with Manish (MG) at MCB helped build a strong, convincing ‘story’.
More importantly, with more interactions, I developed clarity in my application strategy which was based on the past experiences and future goals, and how the MBA is critical to fulfill my career aspirations.
2) Strong support system and no-nonsense approach.
Ask for an honest feedback from Manish, and he will give you a frank opinion about which schools to apply, MBA essay responses and follow-up questions. There is absolutely no sugar-coating.
Many of my friends had a hard time with their MBA admission consultants, who over-promised in the first sales call and under delivered during the application process.
I never felt off the hooks with Manish throughout the entire MBA application process.
3) Responsiveness and Quality of work.
In many cases, Manish responded to my questions in less than 24 hours.
Secondly, the quality of his work is truly commendable. He pushes you to refine the essays 2-3 times, strengthening the overall story in the MBA application.
The proof of his work is my offer of admission to two of the top business schools in United States.
Simply put, I had a remarkable experience working with MCB and strongly recommend to all the applicants. If you have any questions, I will be happy to share more about my experience with Manish.
I applied to four of the Top 10 US Business Schools and was accepted to Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College and Darden School of Business, University of Virginia.
Advice for MBA Applicants
1) Start early in your application process:
You’ll be amazed that many successful applicants plan 2-3 years before applying to business school.
Business Schools evaluate applicants on a three-dimensional basis: Work Experience, Academic Ability (GPA, GMAT etc.) and Extra-curricular activities.
It takes several months, if not years, to build a strong profile for business school.
2) Crack GMAT two years before school:
Many applicants, including me, postpone MBA applications since they have not written their GMAT already.
If the school requires GMAT and you intend to start the program in three years, go ahead and crack the GMAT.
After GMAT, you can focus on your full-time work and building your profile.
3) Develop strong relationship with recommenders:
If you are applying to 4-5 business schools, you’ll have to reach out to at least three recommenders.
Ensure that the recommenders are aware about your MBA plans, coach them as needed and explain your story to them.
You will have a winning application if your recommenders can endorse as strong as, if not stronger, you sell your personal brand in the application.
4) Visit your target schools:
If you are ready to spend 200,000 USD, you can spend a fraction of that cost to visit the target schools. Personally, I benefitted a lot interacting with students and faculty at the schools.
I could bring those conversations in my essays and personal interviews. However, no business schools mandate school visits for acceptance.
5) Go to MBA Crystal Ball for your MBA applications
You are in safe hands!
Mithun has been over-generous in his praise for us. Over to you now. What’s your plan? Are you targetting Tuck? What do you think are your main strengths / weaknesses? Post your queries for Mithun below