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In it to win it - Interact with Tuck/Darden R1 admit

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MBA Section Director
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In it to win it - Interact with Tuck/Darden R1 admit  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jan 2019, 23:48

Tuck R1 Admit Is Here to Answer YOUR Questions!

One of our forum members, Amaranth recently got an admit at Tuck and Darden in Round 1. He accepted our invitation to interact with the new applicants, share his insights about the application process, and answer the queries of applicants.

If you have any questions about the application process of Tuck or Darden now is your chance to get them clarified by posting your questions here in this topic. For follow up communication, we have a live chat with him on Thursday, Jan 6th, 10 PM IST in our chat room.

MBA Section Director
User avatar
Affiliations: GMATClub
Joined: 22 May 2017
Posts: 2855
GPA: 4
WE: Engineering (Computer Software)
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Re: In it to win it - Interact with Tuck/Darden R1 admit  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jan 2019, 23:49

Transcript from the Darden/Tuck R1 admit chat with @Amaranth

What is your professional background?

Thank you! Happy to be here. I have a background in Marketing. I’ve done a B.Com and a Master’s in Marketing from the UK. I’ve worked in the marketing department of a large financial services company and am currently employed at my family business

What are your post-MBA goals?

I’m looking to get a job in consulting or general management after my MBA, but I am keeping an open mind going into bschool

My question is for the Tuck application. As I understand, Tuck places a lot of emphasis on outreach. I am based in India and did not schedule any campus interview. However, there is a small question in the form that asks applicants to justify if they have not attended/scheduled any interview. Is it ok to write that there were no dates available that suited my professional schedule? (FYI - all available dates are already filled up)

Tuck does not expect you to visit campus to schedule an interview. They do understand that making an international trip just to visit and interview on campus is fairly expensive. You can just say that an international trip is beyond your means/you don’t have enough time off from work. Or your own reason works, I wouldn’t overthink this too much.

As a quick follow up, did you yourself make the campus visit?

I actually did visit campus, but I didn’t use an admissions consultant. Decided I’d rather spend the money visiting campuses and I’m really happy with that decision :)

Smart call, I’ll keep that in mind in case I have to re-apply next year. Thanks!

I am a reapplicant at Tuck, so feel free to get in touch if that is the situation!

Did you visit both Tuck and Darden and can you tell us a little bit about that experience?

I visited both schools, among a couple others. I’d say the Darden classroom experience is one of the best I’ve ever had. The professor was absolutely fantastic at keeping a discussion going and there was a lot of energy from the students attending the class. Additionally, Charlottesville is a quintessential college town and the campus is beautiful.
I, unfortunately, visited Tuck at a bad time, most first years were writing exams so there were no classes going on. But Tuck was also a really great visit, our student guide had to keep pausing to say hi to people everytime they passed her. I think the community at both schools is extremely similar and friendly.

Despite the fact that the current season is really tough for international applicants (especially Indian applicants), you managed to secure admits from two very prestigious programs. Which factors or components of the application you think played a decisive role in gaining these admits?

I think the biggest factor in my case was understanding why I needed an MBA and how it would help me. No consultant in the world knows your story better than you, so it is important for you to explain to the adcom why an MBA makes sense, why a specific school makes sense and what you see yourself doing with that MBA. I did have improvements in my GMAT score, but I’d say that understanding my story and improving my Resume were the two biggest factors for me.

I would like to point out here that my grades at college weren’t great and my college brand is non-existent, the companies I’ve worked in are not big brands and my family business is small. So in my case, the diversity of my work experience and ECs were my biggest strengths.

Amaranth Seems like a very tough call but have you decided on where you will be matriculating? :)

I have, it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. But I am going to be a proud Tuckie and will be matriculating there in the fall :)

What is generally the right time to visit any school?

It depends. If you want to just visit campuses I’d say go early in the year before you start writing essays. I wanted to interview, so I visited in September end/October. It wasn’t easy because I was writing essays while I was visiting and had to finish a lot of my applications before I even started my trip

If I may ask, how early did you have to schedule an interview to find slots for September end/October (will use that as a yardstick in case it’s needed later)

I decided that I was visiting in early July and bookmarked the interview pages of the colleges I wanted to visit. I also came up with a flight plan beforehand so I knew in what order to look for dates.

So what are your plans after MBA? Going for MBB or coming back to India to lead the family business?

I am looking to recruit for consulting as soon as I’m done with my MBA. My family business might be a long-term thing, maybe 10 years down the line.

so did you mention consulting at ST and family business as LT goal in apps?

Yup, I did! Exactly this :)

Did you interact with the Indian students at the two colleges? ANd what was their view of the overall job market in the US? Many Thanks

The general understanding is that it is harder. That said, most of the students I’d spoken to seemed well-prepared for the recruiting season. I didn’t get into too much detail on this, unfortunately, but you can reach out to ambassadors and they’ll be able to give you a more accurate picture.

Just wondering, did you visit any other schools too?

I did a formal visit/interview to UNC and a visit to Ross. I also informally visited Kellogg, CBS, and Stern. By informally, I mean I didn’t register for an official visit on their website

I understand you were a reapplicant at Tuck. Do you know/feel is there anything specific that Tuck looks for in reapplicants?

I’m not sure if there’s anything specific for reapplicants. But Tuck really does care about the 4 factors in their current application. All their essay questions and recommendations are around that, so bringing those into your essays and your interview would be a good idea.

You mentioned you were a re-applicant. Could you describe some common points you heard in the feedback that you received then from Tuck/others?

I actually did not request feedback from Tuck. I had a fairly good idea why I was rejected (thanks to ApplicantLab!). The biggest thing was my career vision and story, I did not connect the dots well and did not convince the schools that I could achieve the goals I was looking for.

Can you tell us a little about your recommendations? Whom did you chose and did you work with them on your recommendations?

So I actually had different recommendations for Tuck and Darden.
For Tuck - I had a consultant who works with my family business write one. But my second recommendation came from the Founding Trustee of one of the NGOs I volunteer with. I felt she would be able to answer the Nice, Smart, Accomplished and Aware questions better.

For Darden, I had the same consultant with my family business and a former supervisor from my previous company. I did not have to work with my recommenders at all. I did give them a background on the schools I was applying to, why I wanted an MBA and what I felt were my biggest strengths. I also did explain to them the cultural differences in recommendations from India and other places. For instance, we tend to downplay a lot of things. But aside from that, I trusted them to do a good job.

I have another question - a lot of T’20 people I contacted from Indian background had some international experience (1yr+). This was simply a trend I observed in a small sample. Are you able to identify any recent Indian admits who got in with less international experience than that?

I don’t think this was something I noticed. Anecdotally, I know that one of my friends who’s a T’20 does not have any international experience. I think this could be one of those points that will help you if it exists in your background but won’t necessarily hurt you if it isn’t

Do you think a lack of significant/impactful social work hurts applicants in general? Focusing on Darden here

It is understandable if you have very hectic job schedules that don’t allow you to spend time on social work. That said, I personally believe that not having any extra-curriculars will hurt you because you lose out on a chance to show the adcom a side of you aside from your Resume. It's also a chance to showcase your initiative and it could show adcom how you will give back to the school as a student there.

like I said earlier, one of my biggest strength was the diversity of my ECs because the pedigree of my jobs and lack of good grades is something I cannot change at this time

Can you tell us more about your interviews? Do you feel that on-campus interviews are better than skype especially if one can afford and has the time to do it?

I’m extremely uncomfortable with Skype interviews. I did a skype interview later on in the application season, and it did not feel as good as doing one in person.

I think on-campus interviews are great if you can afford it. I decided to spend the money on that instead of a consultant and I’m very happy with that choice. It felt relaxed, natural and the school and students really did appreciate the effort I put in to understand what made their program unique. I got into both schools after I visited and interviewed on campus, I think that alone makes the trips worth it =)

If you don’t mind me asking, can you tell us the reasons for choosing Tuck over Darden?

Like I said, this was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. Darden was my top choice going into this application season. I feel both schools are extremely similar - both have really great communities, strong general management focus and both use the case method (Darden more than Tuck in this point).

Culturally, I felt that I would fit into both places. I did not want to give up the brand and prestige of Tuck given the current visa situation. I feel that if I’m 100% staying on in the US, Darden and Tuck are the same, but if I had to return to India the brand of Tuck will be slightly better. I also didn’t get a scholarship at Darden so it felt that I was giving up the ivy name and prestige for a slightly better fit which didn’t make sense.

Not sure if this would make sense for anyone else, but it seemed to me like I was choosing between two amazing options, so I picked the more practical one in the long run.

Did you ever feel 710 may hamper your chances since you mentioned low GPA?

Yeah, my GPA is low, but I did retake the GMAT and get a 750. I still did have a low quant score, but I didn’t think a 750 would keep me out of any school.

Oh I thought 710 was your last attempt.

I had an unsuccessful year of applying and improved the score while I was on the waitlist. I still didn’t get off the waitlist, but the improved score did help with my applications this year :)

Do you think Indian applicants are disadvantaged in terms of scholarships because we are just too many? And the adcom doesn’t need to make efforts to recruit Indians as compared to other geographies?

I think Darden has been extremely generous to Indians in terms of scholarships. I’d say we aren’t disadvantaged, but we do have higher competition. A lot of other admits from India have received a fairly significant scholarship.

Particularly since Darden is known to give scholarships, I am surprised you didn’t get one :)

I’m not actually. I think the lack of pedigree and grades on my Resume did hurt me. It's fairly humbling to read the profiles of other candidates who have been admitted.

Amaranth says "Thank you all, happy to be here! Feel free to get in touch if you have any specific questions!"
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Re: In it to win it - Interact with Tuck/Darden R1 admit   [#permalink] 06 Jan 2019, 23:49
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