Tuck apps rise despite nat’l drop
By Noah Reichblum
Published on Monday, October 24, 2011
In a year that saw the volume of applications to full-time MBA programs decrease by nearly 10 percent nationwide, the Tuck School of Business bucked the trend, and was instead one of three top-10 MBA programs to experience an increase in the number of applications, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Over two-thirds of MBA programs nationwide surveyed by the Graduate Management Admission Council reported a decrease in the number of applications they received in the 2011 admissions cycle, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. This is a dramatic change from 2010, when only 47 percent of full-time MBA programs saw a drop in their application numbers. Tuck received over 200 more applications this fall compared to last year, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Tuck received 2,528 applications for the current freshman class, 20 percent of whom were accepted, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Tuck Dean Paul Danos said the increase in applications is due to the school’s world-class reputation, high job placement rate for graduates and the natural cycle of application numbers.
Tuck continues to attract prospective students due to “a reputation for having a very good placement track record and a learning experience that some people really like,” Danos said, citing the fact that 97 percent of alumni in last year’s graduating class are currently employed.
After seeing other schools’ statistics, Danos said he was surprised that the application numbers for Tuck — a small school of roughly 500 students — increased.
“I was expecting to have pretty much a steady state,” he said. “These things cycle. One year we might get less applications and sometimes we’ll do better than most.”
The increase in applications also comes during tough economic times, a sign that students believe a Tuck education is worth both the financial and time investments, Danos said.
Danos said there is always a need for “highly talented” people who have an MBA degree, even when the economy is suffering. Internationally-focused schools like Tuck, which “have a portfolio of places [graduates] can go to,” continue to place students in jobs abroad regardless of the state of the national economy, Danos said. The Economist recently ranked Tuck the number one full-time MBA program in an international assessment of business schools.
Even though Tuck’s application and admissions numbers remained unscathed this year, Danos said that admission numbers could decrease next year as a result of the continued stagnant economy.
“If economic times continue, I think over time it’s going to affect everything — all programs, including Tuck,” he said.
Vibhuti Nayar Tu’12 said the strength of Tuck’s community makes it such a popular program. After interacting with various community members throughout the application process, Nayar realized that Tuck was her number one choice, she said.
“Tuck offered one of the strongest skill sets,” she said. “When I spoke to current students, I got a sense that the school is warm and people look out for you.”
Kate Head Tu’13 said she applied to business school after working at a non-profit for three years in order to ease the career transition. After applying to three MBA programs, she chose to attend Tuck after discussions with admissions officers convinced her that Tuck alumni are “value-added.” Head said the strong Tuck alumni network is important in a business job market that is often “about who you know.”
Nayar and Head agreed that the small size of Tuck was one of the school’s most appealing aspects. The tight-knit community encourages students to work closely together in study groups, a skill that recruiters look for in MBA graduates, she said.
The national decrease in applications has raised the admission rates for many graduate programs, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. Of the top 30 business schools, 21 have seen higher admission rates than last year, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
Danos said that while extremely selective schools can afford to receive fewer applications, less competitive graduate programs are hurt by a smaller pool of applicants.
Despite current admissions numbers and worrisome prospects for future admissions rates, Tuck will continue to focus primarily on providing a high-quality education, Danos said.
“Over time, we’ve pushed to have a higher quality of experience, a high quality student body and a larger and deeper faculty,” he said. “We have to stick to this high quality of education, regardless of the application numbers.”