When You Failed... How To Write Tuck's Failure Essay. Admissions by Schools.  

When You Failed... How To Write Tuck's Failure Essay

Tuck MBA Admissions requires to write an essay about failure and an applicant’s reaction/attitude to it. Below is how this essay’ topic looks like:

“Tuck’s mission is to educate wise leaders to better the world of business. Wisdom

encompasses the essential aptitudes of confident humility, about what one does and does not

know; empathy, towards the diverse ideas and experiences of others; and judgment, about when and how to take risks for the better. With Tuck’s mission in mind, and with a focus on confident humility, tell us about a time you:

• received tough feedback,

• experienced failure, or

• disappointed yourself or others.

How did you respond, and what did you learn about yourself as a result?”

Well, the first thing an MBA applicant should think of is skipping any concerns regarding “How big failure is Tuck looking for?” or “What is the right failure to describe in MBA application essay?” or “Should I write about real-case failure, if I am convinced that it would only harm my profile?” All these concerns will direct to a completely wrong destination, because Tuck is only partially interested in the process (the case) and will be a lot more involved in the assessment of YOUR ATTITUDE.

So, when thinking of the most appropriate failure case to describe, focus on the result, which followed your experience. Choose the failure that:

  • Taught you core competence/skill
  • Impacted your development in one or other way (studies or career shift, new interests or activities practice etc.)
  • Gave you deeper insight into your professional knowledge and skills

Start your essay with the description of the situation by following the scheme: Challenge – Your Action – Results. While the first two parts (Challenge and Your Action) can take maximum 50% of content (limit these parts by 250 words), the last part (Results) will take another half of the essay (250 words). The cases mentioned above will help you answer the last part of the essay’s topic about your response and give you a good scope of ideas to demonstrate the lessons learnt from the failure.

Ask yourself: “What did I learn from this situation?”, “Will I act differently next time?”, “Was it a really good experience?”, “How would I value the results of my failure?”. By answering those questions you will target the main goal of this essay – to convince Tuck’s AdComs that you are a good learner and a true leader, who can turn challenges into opportunities to discover and develop.


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Author: Victoria Dudka, MBA Strategy Consultants Team Lead

MBA Admissions Consulting Services


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