Head-to-head: Yale SOM Vs. Dartmouth Tuck
For those of you familiar with US undergraduate colleges, it might seem odd to compare Dartmouth to Yale. Dartmouth is traditionally considered a “Lesser Ivy” and a consolation prize to someone who didn’t get into Harvard, Princeton, or Yale.
However, when it comes to business school, Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business is highly regarded and often ranks in the top 10 US business schools. Yale SOM is a relative newcomer, having climbed up the rankings quite rapidly over the past few years. Dartmouth and Yale have kept pace with one another’s rankings over the past several years.
There are a few differences between the schools, not least of which is that Tuck has existed since 1900, while Yale SOM was founded in 1994. In the world of legacy business schools, Tuck is a clear winner. However, Yale SOM can trade on the fact that it is part of the Yale brand.
Personality and Placement
Generally, Tuck’s MBA program is considered to be more traditional. It deeply encourages collaboration and students tend to be very involved with the school’s community. This may be largely out of practicality, however, given Dartmouth’s rural location.
Yale SOM, on the other hand, attracts many candidates aiming to use their MBAs for social impact. An important part of the school’s mission is to teach its students to improve communities and work towards a sustainable future while building their careers. Anecdotally, there is also a very decided focus toward Consulting at SOM.
Both schools send a substantial proportion (around 50%) of their graduates to Finance and Consulting. Unsurprisingly given their reputations, Yale sends more people to nonprofits and other “non-traditional” roles, and Tuck places many of its candidates in the Tech sector.
Both schools offer their students access to diverse hubs like Boston and New York for interviews and job placements. Yale is closer to New York (a two-hour train ride), while Dartmouth is closer to Boston (three hours’ drive, five to New York). In both cases, the school is well-situated in the Northeastern United States, which also gives easy access to places like Providence, Baltimore, and Hartford.
Tuck also places a larger percentage of its graduates in the Midwest than Yale SOM.
Class Profile (Average/Median)
Years of Work Experience
Having been around for over a century, it is unsurprising that Tuck has a larger alumni network. Tuck alumni love Tuck, and the school has at times been ranked number one among top b-schools for alumni donations.
Yale SOM’s alumni are just as engaged, however. Factor in that Yale takes approximately 100 more students per cohort (around 250 for Tuck and 350 for Yale SOM), and you’ll find that their network size may not be a disadvantage here.
Yale SOM is in New Haven, Connecticut, a city of 130,000 with fairly easy (two hours) and cheap ($15 train tickets) access to New York City. This can be excellent for recruiting opportunities and company visits.
New Haven is a reasonably-sized university town and boasts the nightlife that you might expect: lots of restaurants and bars open until odd times. This can be particularly useful while networking with fellow students as well as professors and lecturers.
Tuck is in Hanover, New Hampshire, with a population of 11,000. Hanover is a cute, quaint town, but it can seem quite isolated during particularly rough winters.
One excellent movie theater aside, the only hub of note is Dartmouth itself. That said, the school is fully aware that it is essentially in the middle of nowhere and makes sure that the campus is a lively, vibrant place for students. Check out the schedule at Dartmouth’s renowned Hopkins Center to get an idea.
On the other hand, social opportunities other than frat houses are somewhat lacking in Hanover. That said, being on a remote outpost with one’s cohort does inspire close ties, and Tuck has a notably strong (and old) alumni network.
Dartmouth’s real advantage is for those who love the outdoors, particularly skiing and hiking. It is near the famed Appalachian Trail and the school even has its own ski resort, the Dartmouth Skiway.
How to Decide?
Neither school is an M7, but both have a lot to offer. They are excellent investments in terms of academic offerings, and any differences in the size of the alumni networks will shake out over time.
That said, there is really no substitute for doing your own research: speak to alumni and faculty, sit in on classes if possible, and most of all, tour the campuses to get a feel for what life is like at each school.
Whether you select Tuck’s MBA program or Yale SOM, pursuing an MBA is a fantastic way to kick off the next phase of your career–you simply need to choose the one that fits your temperament better.
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