The Love of Tuck - A look at Tuck essays

I have submitted just one application till now and there are at least 3 more to go for R1. I say "at least" because I'm too busy at work, there's a visit to the client site scheduled for the last week of October. So practically, I have very less time. I just want to squeeze in as much I can, not compromising on the quality of the essays.

I am targetting the following, at least:

Tuck (EA 15th Oct)
Darden (28th Oct)
Haas (4 Nov)
LBS R1 (14th Oct).

I have removed INSEAD from the list since I will apply to INSEAD for the Jan 2010 cycle. I want the internship and I am no superman. The essays are progressing very very slowly. I am getting only 1-2 hours daily at max to work on my apps. One thing I have learnt during this process. I am bad at time management. I know some people are good. Awesome Soni!!! Keep it up. As of now, I have completed rough drafts of Tuck Essays 1 and 2, written bullets for Tuck essay 4 and just now it struck me what to write for essay 3.

1. Why is an MBA a critical next step toward your short- and long-term career goals? Why is Tuck the best MBA program for you?

This one was pretty straightforward. A typical career goals essay where I am following this format -> What I have done so far -> Where I want to be -> Why Tuck. The funny thing is, the more I read and research about Tuck, the more I fall in love with that place. I have never visited the place, but I have already started imagining what it would be like in Hanover. Being in a close-knit community where the alumni is so attached to the school and concerned about the people, where the faculty and the staff is so approachable, would be awesome. I just learnt that within 5 minutes of walking distance, there is a canoeing club where you can rent a canoe for just $5. Isn't it great!!!

2. Tuck defines leadership as “inspiring others to strive and enabling them to accomplish great things.” We believe great things and great leadership can be accomplished in pursuit of business and societal goals. Describe a time when you exercised such leadership. Discuss the challenges you faced and the results you achieved. What characteristics helped you to be effective, and what areas do you feel you need to develop in order to be a better leader?

Wow!!! A bg question. But again, straightforward for me. I just picked up an example from work where I did have an impact on my team and myself. But my concern here is that example is more than 3 years old. I have chosen that situation because it is very impactful and the circumstances were difficult. I hope it will not be perceived as too old and leave an impression on the adcom that there is no significant leadership experence in my life within the last 3 years???

3. Discuss the most difficult constructive criticism or feedback you have received. How did you address it? What have you learned from it?

This was where I was stuck thinking for the past one week. I just wrote down everything I could remember from my personal life to professional where I have received feedbacks. Of course, there were many instances of the same. But picking the one that left an impact on me to a large extent was a difficult one. I wanted to pick an example where it had an effect on my personality and to which I could relate my current being. In addition, I wanted to pick a feedback on which I have developed a lot and that weakness of mine, or the area of improvement has been long taken care of. So that example had to be old.

I wrote down my current area of work, what I do and how I do. Then I thought "was I the same 3-4 years ago?" If I were in the same situation or role a couple of years back, had I performed with the same level of confidence? No. Then what changed me? What was that "moment of truth"? This approach of thinking helped me and I was very well able to think of one such situation.

4. Tuck seeks candidates of various backgrounds who can bring new perspectives to our community. How will your unique personal history, values, and/or life experiences contribute to the culture at Tuck?

Of course, differentiate yourself. This application thing is like I am writing a personal diary. But I do appreciate the process. The more I introspect, the more I know myself, and the more I know what to improve in me.

My advice for everyone: Even if you do not want to do an MBA. Just apply to a B-school. Think of the business you are in from a larger perspective and write down a couple of B-schools' application essays. It is an excellent introspection excercise and it will bring out a lot from within, that you will appreciate.

Well, I should get back to my essays. Rough drafts are not reviewed. Only first drafts are. My personal deadline for Tuck essays: 2 days for the first drafts.

ISB Application Submitted

I hope I can justify my long break from blogging. I was too much into the ISB App. And finally when it is submitted, I am feeling a sigh a relief.

The fact that I am staying on the ISB campus has certainly helped me. Having interacted with so many people here, I developed very good relations. So there were a lot of people to review my essays and provide valuable comments, beyond pointing out cosmetic errors. Anyway, the night of 14th September (15th being the deadline) was very long. On 13th, I thought my essays are near completion and I made 14th afternoon as my target. But on 14th morning, my final reviewer gave solid comments that required me change my 1st essay completely.

I spent the whole day on the 1st essay itself and getting that reviewed twice again by other friends here. But at the end, I was satisfied. The new essay had come out very well and was a true reflection of who I am. I learnt a lot of things with respect to essay writing. I was highlighting a lot of aspects of my personality, but I was not highlighting my best. When people probe you, that brings out the best in you and that is what you have to focus on in your application essays.

I was awake till 6 am on 15th and slept only after I had made the final payment. There were a lot of things to do. The word limit specified by ISB (300) was too stringent. And guess what, you are not even allowed 301 words. So I guess it is strict and it involves a lot of word play, reframing of sentences, etc. At times, you feel the essence or the meaning is lost if you forcefully eat up words. So it is advisable that you complete your drafts long before the deadline and try to reframe the sentences in a logical manner so as to not lose the meaning. Believe me, it is possible.

Monday was a bad day since I showed up at office only at 3pm. It took me two days to get bac to my normal schedule. Now too much of procrastination and break from essays, I have to get back to another set. Now let's see what I have:

Tuck (EA 15th Oct)
INSEAD (R1 1st Oct)
Darden (28th Oct)
Haas (4 Nov)

Well, it's a pretty difficult target considering I have a lot going on at work and a few work related visits are also planned in October that will not allow me to give my 100% to essay writing during that time. But then, I have no other choice but to squeeze out every minute and put into essay writing. You do not procrastinate over important decisions in life. Let's get to Tuck, I love that school.