Dartmouth Tuck Interview (cont’d)

What was the GMAT score range for admitted applicants this past year?

The range for last year’s admitted class was from 580 to 790. The definitive “average” for the new class is pending the final enrollment statistics, but we expect it to be similar to last year’s.

This past year, the first essay in your application was about a case study involving ethical issues. What types of general content were you seeking with this question? Do you believe that this coming year’s application will contain the same question, or, perhaps a similar question?

We did get a lot of comments about that question! Things we looked at included how the applicant approached this sort of dilemma, what information they thought was important, and whether they provided a creative solution or a resolution based on their own experience. There was no “right” answer; it was simply a different method for us to gain insight on the applicant that the more standard questions might not provide. We change our questions every year—sometimes only one or two of them, sometimes all of them—so we are working on that process now.

How important is the interview in the admissions process? What specific applicant traits are you using the interview to gauge? What types of questions should applicants expect to be asked?

We strongly encourage candidates to set up an interview. Our policy on this is that anyone who comes to Hanover will have the opportunity for an interview, whether they have applied or not—depending on availability the day they choose to come. We do not conduct off-campus or alumni interviews unless we have the application on file because of the time constraints of our alumni and staff. For those people who have applied but who have not interviewed, we may contact them, but we prefer that they are proactive and request an interview. It is certainly the best chance that candidates have to tell us who they are, to explain things in their application that we may have questions about. It also helps them to learn more about Tuck. We will ask questions that will help us assess leadership, interpersonal, and communication skills. We believe that these skills are essential for success not only in the Tuck MBA program, but also as a business leader. Through the interview process, we try to get a sense of each candidate’s personality and communication skills. We also look for quality and clarity of thought in written answers and essays.

Are these interviews conducted blind or is the applicant’s file reviewed beforehand?

All the interviews are blind, as much of the information in the candidate’s file is confidential. Plus, we do not want to have any bias when we go into the interview so that we can be as fair and objective in our evaluation as possible. The interviewer will only have a copy of the candidate’s résumé as a starting point in the conversation.

Is there any advantage or disadvantage to interviewing with an admissions officer versus an alumnus?

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 or admissions committee member may be scheduled at the request of the admissions committee. All interviews are evaluated equally, regardless of location or interviewer. We do extensive workshops with our on-campus interviewers and our alumni interviewers to ensure overall quality and consistency of candidate evaluations. Therefore it makes no difference in the committee’s decision as to who the interviewer was because we assume that the results are reliable. If we do have a question, we’ll contact the interviewer to gather more information about his or her rapport with the candidate.

Let’s talk about waitlists. How many applicants do you anticipate will end up on the waitlist for at least some part of the year? How many of them will be eventually accepted off of the waitlist? What advice would you like to share with any waitlisted applicant who happens to come across this interview transcript?

It is hard to pin down an average, but somewhere between 100 to 150 people are on the waitlist at any given time. Again, the number of people admitted off the waitlist varies from year to year and from applicant pool to applicant pool, so it is impossible to give a definitive number. That said, if candidates do take action to address the feedback we give them, then their chances are pretty good for admission, if not this year, then next. We do give waitlist candidates feedback and we try to be honest with them as to their areas of improvement. Most candidates appreciate this very much. I know a lot of schools do not give feedback either to waitlist candidates or to denied candidates, but again this is one of the hallmarks of Tuck—we are very relationship oriented.

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