Dartmouth MBA program makes 'niceness' a criteria for acceptance
- Dartmouth College's MBA program is now weighing whether an applicant is “smart, nice, accomplished, and aware” with the addition of “nice” gaining attention in the higher education community.
- Inside Higher Education reported that officials at the Tuck School of Business say the inclusion of “nice” in the admissions criteria emphasizes the program’s interest in students who can collaborate and support one another.
- While some were puzzled by the requirement, others said it was in line with the program's philosophy about how it trains its graduates. "Tuck has finally formalized what they’ve long valued: a community of leaders who prize empathy and emotional intelligence at least as highly as financial and strategic acumen," Chad Troutwine, co-founder of a firm that supports MBA applicants, told Inside Higher Education.
The effort to distinguish these characteristics is contained in Tuck's essay prompts, for instance: "Tuck students are nice, and invest generously in one another’s success. Share an example of how you helped someone else succeed."
Experts said that the move reflects a broader examination of the mission at business schools and whether their image should change from one of training “mean, less scrupulous people” who only want to “make it to the top."
There is emphasis on character issues in some undergraduate programs, dating back to 2011 when some officials suggested admissions policies emphasized the wrong criteria. The Institute on Character in Admissions, which includes representatives from top national institutions and higher education organizations, has a goal of “developing strategies and experiments that elevate character attributes in the admission equation,” claiming they better predict student success in higher education and the workplace.
Its members point to a detailed 2016 report from the Hamilton Project, an economic policy branch of the Brookings Institution, that noted that employers often say they need “soft skills,” along with recent other reports that have noted employers value them. “Non-cognitive skills … predict college readiness and completion –including resilience, persistence and self-control — that are also consequential for the labor market,” the Hamilton Project report states.
- Inside Higher Education Dartmouth's competitive business school announces new criteria for admission.