I had been told by my Boston host that Tuck was just 11/2 hours from his place. Since my class was at 10:15, I was looking forward to my first decent night's sleep in 3 days. But I should have known better - it was just too good to be true. As it turned out my friend had looked up directions to Hanover, MA instead of Hanover, NH and the real drive time was 3 hours. So there I was, once again getting woken up at an unearthly hour and wondering why the !@@# I was doing all this.
The drive however made it all worth it. The dense foliage, early morning mist and the fall colors near Hanover were simply amazing. I entered Dartmouth well in time but then got lost while trying to find a parking lot and ended up at the Tuck admissions office late and out of breath. I just hope that what people say about 1st impressions is a bunch load of crap. Fortunately for me, a student guide was also running late and I was able to tag along with him.
We visitors were asked to give introductions - without any warning this time. But after having gone through this drill once already at Sloan I had my 2 line introduction ready at hand. Infact I might even have made my job sound more important than what it really is. It was interesting that a couple of guys gave me a shout out after my introduction and the Professor immediately explained that it was because they were from Colorado as well. I wonder whether she guessed or really knew where they were from. It was after all not a small class (~60).
The subject matter for the day was pretty exciting - FIFO and LIFO methods in accounting :) The professor however was making an attempt to keep the class engaged and the student questions were more impressive than the day before. Or maybe that's how it seemed to me because I am less ignorant about bonds than I am about accounting.
After that we had the tour which was more of a building tour than a campus tour as all Tuck buildings are connected together. Most of the students live in dorms which are right next to the school. 'Cozy' pretty much sums up the decor of all the rooms - both old and new. Infact during my last minute dash to the admissions office I for a moment thought that I had gotten lost again and entered a gigantic log cabin. The facilities are not huge but since they have a small class I guess it should work out.
My best experience of the visit came right at the end. The director of admissions gave a short presentation to us visitors where she emphasized on what they look for in applicants. It was a elaboration on what they have on their website. After the presentation she asked people to come talk to her personally if they had any further questions. I decided to take her up on the offer, as much to see if she really meant it as to clarify a few questions I had about Tuck. I was pleasantly surprised. She really sat down with me and answered all my questions in a detailed, thoughtful fashion. I ofcourse made an ass of myself and now hope that she doesn't remember me when my application comes up. But that's beside the point. During my interactions with Tuck students, I had heard that because of the small size of the school, students were able to get personalized attention - from career services, from professors. I actually saw this in action during my discussion with the director. I was sitting on the fence wrt my Tuck application. The content and nature of this discussion tipped me over (to the applicant side).
2 interesting points she made during the discussion
1. During the weak job market they could request their alumni to take 1-2 people each at their firms - which was doable even in that market. Because of their small class size this approach ultimately resulted in good recruitment stats for the graduating class.
2. They are trying to brand Tuck as being part of Dartmouth (Ivy league). This is part of their efforts to increase the brand recognition of Tuck in the international arena.
My note : Rankings matter a lot internationally, especially in Asia. Tuck's good showing in many rankings of late must also be helping with this agenda.