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Be sure to read my Key Posts on the admissions process. Topics include essay analysis, resumes, recommendations, rankings, and more.

January 16, 2012

Dartmouth Tuck MBA Interviews

My analysis of Tuck MBA admissions interviews has been significantly updated. My analysis of Tuck's essays for the Class of 2014 can be found hereFor overall suggestions on interview strategy, see herehere, and here

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth MBA interview is about fit, so make sure you can explain in great depth why you want to become a part of Tuck's small intensive community in Hanover. If you interview on-campus expect to be asked about how you liked it. If you have never been to Hanover, contact with alumni and intensive school research are all great ways to prepare. Keep in mind that the objective of this research is to determine what you really like about the school, about how Tuck is right for you, and how you imagine yourself contributing to it. Try to focus on what you need from the school, not merely stating obvious information about it.

Tuck admissions, alumni, and student interviewers tend to be very friendly, but are clearly focused on finding people who really want to join their community.  The interview, whether by invitation or open on-campus, tends play a very significant role in the outcome of an admissions decision at Tuck. According to the Tuck FAQ: "Interviews on campus are scheduled primarily with admissions associates (second-year students) and occasionally with members of the admissions committee. Off-campus interviews with an alumni interviewer, admissions committee member, or admissions associate are scheduled by invitation only. All interviews are evaluated equally, regardless of location or interviewer."

All interviews are blind. The interviewer only has access to your resume.

Open or Invitation Interview?
" Tuck offers all applicants the opportunity to interview on campus in Hanover. Interviews are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis, so request an interview as soon as you decide to apply. If you have not been able to interview by the deadline, the admissions committee may invite you to interview if they feel it is necessary. Because we cannot invite all applicants to interview, if you would like to guarantee an interview, you should schedule an on-campus interview. Tuck does not conduct student-initiated interviews off campus."

A good interview can really help overcome problems with the application, so I do encourage those are able to visit Tuck and take an open interview to do so. It really is the best way to maximize your chances of getting in.  An interview after application, if you are invited, can serve a similar role, but then you have to get invited!

The Questions

Demonstrated enthusiasm to attend Tuck is very helpful. Based on my experience, that enthusiasm in combination with the ability to provide solid answers to routine MBA questions is most critical to succeeding at this interview. Most reported interviews found at accepted.com and clearadmit.com simply consist of standard questions. See my previous post on interview strategy. Expect questions about teams, friendship, and extracurricular activities.  My colleague, Steve Green, has provided me with a great organized list of common questions:

  1. Walk me through your resume.
  2. Tell me more about yourself that I can’t see from your resume: PROBE
  3. Talk about your current job.
  4. How do you spend your free time? / What do you do apart from work?
  5. Do you have any/ What is your international experience?

  1. What makes you happy?
  2. How can I introduce you to the admissions committee in 20 seconds?
  3. Why do you want an MBA at Tuck?
  4. How will you contribute to Tuck?
  5. How will your teammates at Tuck perceive you in terms of your strengths and weaknesses?
  6. What do you see yourself doing immediately after graduation and what are your long-term plans?
  7. What motivates you to get an MBA at this point in your career? / Why do you feel you need an MBA?
  8. What did you do to know more about Tuck?  
  9. What classes and initiatives at Tuck specifically interest you?
  10. What’s unique about you that you can add to the Tuck culture and environment?
  11. What will you be involved with at Tuck? / How will you be involved at Tuck?
  12. When you'll join Tuck, you'll be put into groups.  What will be your approach if your team is not able to accomplish a task on time?
  13. How will you handle differences in your study group, for ex: Language
  14. What if MBA doesn't work out?


  1. Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an unproductive colleague.
  2. What do you bring to a team?
  3. Tell me about your teamwork and how it has influenced you.
  4. How should members of a team deal with teammates who are not contributing?
  5. Tell me about a time you had to work in a team.
  6. What are the qualities that make you successful on a team
  7. Tell me about a time you experienced conflict on a team, and how you handled it?
  8. Tell me when you have worked on a diverse team/environment


  1. What is your leadership style? Please give some examples of it.
  2. What type of leader are you?
  3. Tell me about a time you had to deal with an unproductive employee / subordinate?

  1. Tell me about a time you disagreed with your boss and how it was resolved.
  2. Tell me about a situation where you had a difficult boss.
  3. What is your biggest accomplishment in your personal and/or professional life
  4. Tell me about a failure.
  5. Tell me about your analytical skills.
  6. What are your 3 strengths?
  7. What are your 3 weaknesses?
  8. Imagine you are selling yourself to the adcom. What 3 things do you want them to know about you?
  9. What do your colleagues most admire about you?
  10. How would your colleagues describe you?
  11. What are three things you’d like the adcom to know about you?
  1. Is there anything else you’d like Tuck to know about you?
  2. Is there anything you hoped I’d ask, but didn’t?
  3. Questions for me?
Based on the many interview reports I have read, the above really does capture the questions you can expect to be asked. There tends to be a significant emphasis on teamwork related questions, so be especially prepared for the variety of those that you may encounter.

Your Resume
You need to know your resume completely as you will likely be asked about content in it. Review it carefully and consider what your interviewer might ask you to explain more thoroughly. If it is on your resume, it is fair game. Even an admissions officer interviewer will only have your resume, but you should assume they will know the contents of it fairly well. 

Reported interview length: 30 to 45 minutes.

Click here to find out about my interview preparation services.

-Adam Markus

I am a graduate admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please complete my intake form. Please don't email me any essays, other admissions consultant's intake forms, your life story, or any long email asking for a written profile assessment. The only profiles I assess are those with people who I offer initial consultations to. Please note that initial consultations are not offered when I have reached full capacity or when I determine that I am not a good fit with an applicant.
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