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Tuck MBA Admissions Success Story

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 around 720 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. Read more about what the Regional Director (India, SE Asia) has to say about Tuck MBA Admission & Placements.

Marketing consultant, Subhajit (named changed) 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. Subhajit narrates more about his MBA admissions experience.

Tuck MBA Application Experience

by Subhajit

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.

GMAT preparation

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.

In my next attempt, I was fortunate to have scored 740 with 51 in GMAT Quant and 38 in GMAT Verbal.

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! 🙂

Subhajit 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 below.

Also read What Dartmouth Tuck looks for in MBA applicants

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Manish Gupta
About Manish Gupta
Chief Consulting Officer at MBA Crystal Ball, ex-McKinsey, IIT & ISB topper. MG can help you get into the top B-schools. Read more about this top MBA admissions consultant. Connect with MG on Linkedin, Facebook or Email: mcb [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

8 thoughts on “Tuck MBA Admissions Success Story”

  1. I have completed my electrical and electronics engineering in 2014 (cgpa: 9.14) and currently pursuing in IIT Roorkee in power systems ( 3rd sem; cgpa till now : 8.1). I want to do Ph.d (with research related to renewable sources of energy). At present I dont have an overall picture in my mind as in which direction I should proceed for research. Should I try for Ph.d in US or Australia ? Also my financial background is not good

    • Arindam, at a very high level, research opportunities are likely to be better in the US. Many PhD programs come with a stipend which helps students manage their financials. Start researching on your options and go for it.

  2. .Firstly, i am very thankful to you for your blog, its really of great help to students like me.

    I am a third year chemical engineering student from one of our IITs and i am planning for my higher studies.The problem is that i am not too sure whether i must apply now or should i go for a mtech degree in one of our IITs,make a better research oriented profile and then go for it.My CGPA right now is 8.67, so i was thinking that i can get better graduate schools after my MTech, maybe i can do better during my MTech programme.You also wrote that one must not blindly run for phd after undergraduate rather must be patient regarding the decision and so i am trying to be, which is the reason that i am asking for your advice.

    So, is it worth spending two years for a MTech degree before phd, given the scenario that right now i am in?

    You also belong to the same engineering background as i do and so i thought it it would be worth asking you for your advice. I would be very grateful to you for your help.It’s really a very important decision for me and i am sure you understand that,maybe,better than me.

  3. Hi
    I have recently given the Gre and have scored 299/340. I wanted to do MS in finance and I have around four years of experience in IT firm as a software developer.please suggest the best universities in U.S. And are there any chances of scholarship??

  4. For getting into the ivy coleges for a PhD would 1 be needing a decent gre score or just the top gre scorers gets a chance? And how much strong position does 1s SOP hold?


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