Aug 14, 2023

Tuck Admissions Insights: Your Admissions Interview

By Kristin Roth
Associate Director of Admissions, Evaluation

Kristin Roth

At Tuck, our goal is to provide as much transparency as possible when it comes to admissions criteria and how we evaluate applications. Today, I’m going to dive into a component of your application that provides the admissions committee with a more complete picture of who you are—your admissions interview.

We know that you are excited about the prospect of attending Tuck, and we’re excited to meet you! Admissions interviews are an opportunity for you to share how you’ll contribute to our community, how you demonstrate our admissions criteria, and how Tuck can help you thrive. They also give you a chance to learn more about Tuck.

Our interviews are conducted primarily by Tuck Admissions Associates (TAAs). These are trained second-year students who are excited to learn your story and to share their knowledge of Tuck. While your interviewer’s goal is to hold a comfortable conversation with you during your interview, we also understand that the process of interviewing at a business school can be stressful. We hope the advice below helps alleviate interview-day anxiety.

Preparing for Your Interview—You’ve Got This!

Know our four admissions criteria well. The admissions interview is an opportunity for you to demonstrate that you are smart, accomplished, aware, and encouraging. Using only your resume, your interviewer will ask you questions to draw out evidence of these criteria. Your interviewer listens to your answers, summarizes and records notes in a form, and makes a recommendation on your candidacy to the admissions committee. The best interviews are conversations that flow naturally. Our TAAs have no pre-set questions they have to ask, and they decide how to allocate questions across the 30-45 minutes of your interview.

We might ask some common MBA interview questions. Prepare and know your answers. Although this may vary by candidate and interviewer, you will likely be asked some standard questions, such as “Walk me through your resume,” “Why are you pursuing an MBA?” and “What are your goals?” Prepare to discuss these by reviewing your resume beforehand, thinking about your academic and professional transitions, and reflecting on what is most important to you and how you can best highlight that to your interviewer. Consider asking yourself: what led you to this point in your professional journey, and what goals are you hoping to achieve post-MBA? Answers to these questions are only a small part of your interview. Learn to respond to them in 2-3 minutes to give your interviewer enough time to ask behavioral questions that explore your alignment with our four criteria.

We ask behavioral questions. Prepare examples that address each of our four criteria. We believe that behaviors demonstrate transferable skills and can predict your impact at Tuck and beyond. When you share stories from your past, you show us that you can demonstrate the same qualities here at Tuck and throughout your professional life. You may find the STAR format helpful in structuring your answers. Start with the Situation, describe the Task or problem that you faced, tell your interviewer about the Actions you took, and finish the story with a summary of the Result. The best stories are those that focus mostly on your actions.

Prepare examples but listen well to the questions asked. Be ready to improvise and think on your feet. Your interviewer will likely ask you one or more questions for which you have no prepared answer. Remember to listen carefully and answer the question being asked. It is okay (even encouraged!) to take a few seconds to collect your thoughts before answering the question as best as you can. Our interviewer may ask follow-up questions. This is a good thing! Consider this as an opportunity to provide additional evidence of one or more of the criteria in your answer. We discourage the use of pre-written notes or answers; they limit your opportunity to demonstrate that you are listening, present, and can respond in the moment.

Research Tuck well, then use the interview to learn even more about us. Think about what compelled you to apply to Tuck and articulate how you see yourself contributing to the community. Remember—we don’t expect you to know everything about the school! Your interviewer knows Tuck and can be a wealth of information for you. We encourage you to ask questions that cannot be easily answered through our marketing materials or website. As you will see, our TAAs are eager to answer your questions.

Each interview format requires different preparation. We will conduct admissions interviews both in-person and virtually for the 2023-2024 application year. Pick the format that works best for you; we value either format equally, and in-person interview availability will be limited.

Keep the following in mind when preparing for the virtual format.

  • Dress professionally, and maintain good posture and body language
  • Position your camera a little above your eye level, leaving your head and shoulders visible and 10-20% of the top of the screen unfilled
  • Sit facing your light source, allowing for a clear and bright video
  • Minimize background distractions and outside noise

When preparing for your in-person interview and visit to Tuck, be sure to account for travel time and weather conditions. Read your reminder email carefully to understand parking, bus and walking options, and your schedule.

The interview starts from the moment your interviewer greets you. First impressions are formed early on. Arrive on time, or better yet, a little early. Present yourself with confidence and composure. Your interviewer will likely initiate small talk as you establish and, if virtual, test your connection. Stay positive and be confident. Building rapport is as important in a virtual interview as it is in person; smile, maintain eye contact, and offer a confident greeting. Use small talk as a chance to shake off jitters and get to know your interviewer before you dive into the bulk of the interview.

Interviewing is a great way to demonstrate your alignment with Tuck’s criteria. It’s also an unparalleled opportunity to connect with a second-year student and get a feel for our school’s culture. We truly look forward to hearing more of your story. Prepare, relax, and be confident. You will shine!

Learn More About Applying to Tuck