Jul 18, 2018

July 2018: What’s Up At Tuck?

By Luke Anthony Peña

Luke Anthony Peña

By Luke Anthony Peña
Executive Director of Admissions and Financial Aid

Happy July, friends! I’m back on the blog after a brief hiatus in June. Summer is in full swing in Hanover, and while I’m soaking up all the New Hampshire summer sun I can, my colleagues and I are also traveling the world to come see you and our wonderful alums at receptions, information sessions, fairs, forums, and coffee chats. You can see our full events calendar online, and I’ll personally be in Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing, Chicago, New York, Houston, Dallas, and Mexico City between now and my August blog post. Come see us!

If you’re planning to attend business school events in the coming months, you’ve likely encountered an abundance of guidance about how to “stand out” at these events. And if you’re like me, all this “do this, don’t do this” guidance only adds to your stress and anxiety. So let me offer some encouragement: relax. Our events aren’t exercises in assessment, and we’re not sizing you up or evaluating you. Yes, we like meeting you and getting to know you, but the purpose is really for you to get to know us. If you show up to an event fretting about standing out or making an impression, you’re missing the opportunity to fully engage with our community and check in with yourself to see if Tuck resonates with you. Remember that you’re in charge; you have full agency over when and where you apply, and our events are meant to help you make those important decisions. So leave the agenda -- and the stress and anxiety that come with it -- at home, and come hang out with us to explore Tuck and envision yourself as a member of our community.

While our events aren’t exercises in assessment, I’d be remiss not to say a few words about our evaluation efforts. Since I last wrote, we’ve been busy; we’ve shared application dates, admissions criteria, and essay and reference letter questions, all of which have been updated to simplify and streamline your application experience. My colleagues and I are big believers in transparency; we’re telling you exactly what we’re looking for, and exactly where we find it. Before our first application deadline on September 24, we’ll be sharing more details about how we review applications. You can already learn much about this from my interview with Clear Admit last year.

Since our simplified and streamlined criteria and questions posted, I’ve been listening carefully to thoughts and reactions far and wide, including from you. Amidst the enthusiastic and positive responses, two questions have consistently come up that I’d like to address here.  

First, why so much change? Yes, the criteria and questions look different from years past.  In fact, they’re more cleanly and crispy aligned with the strong values of the Tuck School, which are not changing. (The eagle-eyed reader will spot our mission and values embedded directly in the criteria.) So we’re not changing what a strong Tuck student and a great Tuck class looks like… we’re simplifying and streamlining how we articulate these elements so that you can better articulate your candidacy.

Second, can you actually assess if someone is nice? This is the criterion that has generated the majority of attention thus far, and rightfully so -- it’s quintessential Tuck, and a proud declaration of a particularly distinct element of the Tuck experience. Of course, it’s not the only criteria for admission, nor is it singularly important; the nicest applicant in the world must still be smart, accomplished, and aware to succeed here. Yes, there’s considerable curiosity about how we assess “niceness” in the application, and yes, anyone can claim to be nice. But look again at the deliberate way we’ve articulated what being nice at Tuck means -- it’s rooted not in arbitrary personality traits but in demonstrable behaviors and outcomes, which we’ll be exploring in detail in essays, interviews, and reference letters. You can say you’re nice, but the proof will be in your actions and their impact on others, and those of you who have made a habit of kindness will undoubtedly shine brighter than those who merely pay lip service.

By the time I return to this space in August, our application will be live, so I’ll look forward to sharing thoughts and reflections on the application then. In the meantime, see you on the road and on Twitter!