After my Fuqua interivew, I had to change gears quickly. The next weekend, I had my Tuck interview. So after a quick work week, another round of shoe polish, and a freshly packed bag, I headed to the airport once again. Rather than fly in to Lebanon Airport, the closest to Tuck, I decided to fly to Boston and rent a car. The drive is only 2 hours, and having my own wheels would allow me to explore the surrounding area, as well as enter/leave campus at will. I’ve heard of people riding the Dartmouth coach before, and I’m sure that is a great deal, but I wanted as much freedom as possible. In short, I was willing to pay to be on my own schedule. Additionally, I thought the drive would be nice, 2 hours through New England as the leaves changed? Yes please.
Turns out, the joke was on me, though. I touched down in Boston at sunset, and by the time I deplaned and sourced my rental, it was already plenty dark. After navigating the Big Dig, I popped out on the highway, and headed North. It took me about 2 hours to get to Tuck from Logan Airport, but I also stopped to use the rest room, and pick up a gift for my host. I arrived at the Days Inn in nearby and aforementioned Lebenon, and was pretty pleased with my decision. At $93 per night, it is significantly cheaper than the $300+ they wanted at the much closer Hanover Inn. Campus is just 10 minutes drive away, and includes a wifi and a breakfast. The Hanover Inn can’t be there times as good. I did a quick recap of my notes, resume, and talking points before trying to get some sleep – tomorrow was a long day that starts early.
After a 6AM wake up, quick shower, and last minute review of my notes, I was northbound once again to Tuck. I found the lot they were directing us to (Same lot first year MBA’s park in), and it is quite a walk from campus. I consider myself to be a fast walker, and it took me 10 minutes to make it to Tuck from the lot – plan accordingly if you’re visiting. However long the walk, I underestimated my pace and was the first one to the admissions office – they were just turning on the lights. After a nervously chatting with the other applicants that filtered in for 15 minutes, I was paired with my first year MBA who would be taking me to the class visit. As an applicant, you have no choice in the class, as you just sign up for a time slot. I ended up in a first year core course called Managerial Economics, or ManEc. On the walk to the course, I found my host was from the same area of the country my grandparents are from – small world. He also spent 5 years in banking before coming to Tuck. ManEC was interesting – I was there on one of the last days of class, so I got to see how the exams were handled as well-It would be a take home exam. The professor was entertaining and seemed to keep the students interested, even as the quarter’s classes were wrapping up. Side note: Tuck’s Fall A is fast and furious. Students were already taking finals while Booth students had not yet reported to class. My impression from the students was that they are much like Ducks – calm on the surface, paddling furiously underwater.
After class, it was back to the admissions office, for more awkward conversation with the 20 other hopefuls. I decided to skip out with another applicant, and went to the cafeteria for some coffee. The cashier mistakenly rang up our coffee’s together, and with her being first, she paid for them both – oops! (if you’re out there and reading this, thanks for the coffee!) We sat in Stell hall for a half hour, as we both had 11:00 interviews, chatting about application season, what our stories are, etc. It was a nice relaxing way to pass the time, while staying close to the admissions office. At a quarter to, we decided to move back to the waiting room, and look over our notes one last time. Before I even sat down, my interviewer called out my name, and off we went. Good thing I was 15 minutes early!
The interview was very similar to my experience at Fuqua. That is to say, it was very conversational. The main difference, I felt, was that at Fuqua it seemed as if my interviewer had a set of a dozen questions that admissions gave him, from which he pulled 8 or so. At Tuck, my interviewer didn’t seem to have an agenda as much as he let the conversation drive what we talked about. Before I knew it, my 30 minutes were up, and I was once again ushered back to the admissions lounge. Since my interview started 15 minutes early, I was now 15 minutes early for lunch, which provided some time to reflect on what just happened. I felt I accomplished everything I wanted to, and didn’t leave too much on the table. I certainly nailed the “why Tuck part” as I gushed about everything that ruled about the program (that is to say, A LOT). Soon enough, it was time for more free food!
Lunch consisted of sandwiches, chips, fruit – the usual spread. I don’t think the food at Tuck measured up to Fuqua’s, but it was manageable. Hanover has some decent dining options as well, should you tire of the cafeteria on Tuck’s campus. The prospectives and I were joined by 2 first years per table, where we had an informal q&a about everything Tuck, as well as some selling on their end. I always thought it was silly that students tried to sell a school to EA candidates – if we’re EA, you probably don’t need to sell to us! Immediately following lunch, we had a tour of the Tuck campus with a second year student. From admissions all the way through to the dorm/apartment buildings for first years, you can navigate the campus indoors – important given the winters that Tuck gets. I was surprised about the overall size of the campus, especially given the 280 students per class, it was bigger than I thought. The apartment rooms for first years was pretty impressive – new rooms, nothing fancy, but ideal for getting acquainted/starting your MBA. Being a 2 minute walk to classrooms is nice too, as the first year curriculum is pretty intense. As an architecture buff, the variety of styles at Tuck was interesting – the overall Dartmouth campus is one of my favorite I’ve been on.
Finally, after my tour, we had a Q&A with someone from the admissions team. If you’re coming to Tuck, and doing *everything* available, like I did, prepare lots of questions. You will have PLENTY of opportunity to ask. No one likes a Q&A where the prospectives don’t ask anything, so come ready! We talked about everything from the admissions process, international recruitment, where Tuck is going, etc. I won’t delve into answers to those questions here – I’ll let you find out on your own! Finally, my “on the map” tour of Tuck was done. The prospectives filed out of the campus, off to the airport, and eventually their respective corners of the world. I, however, had different plans. Stay tuned for Part II.