Duke Fuqua 2015 MBA Essay Tips and Deadlines

Want to learn more about Duke Fuqua? Click here!Leadership, teamwork, ethics, and a global approach to business are essential elements of the Duke Fuqua MBA, which is why you’ll need to make sure you express your passion for these ideals in your application essays. Impress the Fuqua adcom by positioning yourself as an innovative leader and team player, as someone who can see the big picture, work collaboratively, and shape global business.

My tips are in blue below. 

Three short answer questions and 2 essays are required from all applicants.

• Responses should use 1.5 line spacing and a font size no smaller than 10-point.
• Respond fully and concisely.
• Responses must be completed before submitting your application.
• Prepare your responses carefully. The Admissions Committee considers your answers important in the selection process.
• All essays are scanned using plagiarism detection software. Plagiarism is considered a cheating violation within the Honor Code and will not be tolerated in the admissions process.

Application Tip: Check out Fuqua’s section criteria.

Short Answers

Answer all 3 of the following questions. For each short answer question, respond in 250 characters only (the equivalent of about 50 words).

1. What are your short term goals, post-MBA?

State what you see yourself doing in terms of function and industry. If location or geography are important to your goal, include them.  If you know the type of companies you would like to work for, you can include that information too, but don’t say you want to work for Company X, unless Company X is sponsoring you. That’s probably too narrow.

2. What are your long term goals?

Your long term goals should flow logically from your short-term goals. They can be fuzzier and both in terms of direction and timing. But you should have them. They can, but don’t have to, include larger aspirations and present a broader perspective on where you are headed. But please don’t go so general and say something like “I aspire to be a good person” or “I strive to leave a lasting impact on my community.” Nice sentiments, but way to general.

3. Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short term goals that you provided above not materialize, what alternative directions have you considered?

What’s your Plan B? If you can’t get a job at a leading strategy consulting firm, what do you want to do? If Plan A is investment banking, what’s Plan B?

Essays:

1. Answer the following question — present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed 2 pages.

The “Team Fuqua” spirit and community is one of the things that sets The Duke MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. When a new person joins the Admissions team, we ask that person to share with everyone in the office a list of “25 Random Things About Yourself.” As an Admissions team, we already know the new hire’s professional and academic background, so learning these “25 Random Things” helps us get to know someone’s personality, background, special talents, and more.

In this spirit, the Admissions Committee also wants to get to know you–beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. You can share with us important life experiences, your likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are. Share with us your list of “25 Random Things” about YOU. 

Have some fun with this list. It certainly allows a more creative approach than permitted by most essay prompts. Note that the questions asks you to go “beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript.”  So you can list your Pez collection or perhaps your brief membership in a rock band or the fact that you took violin from age 6-18 or your membership in a gospel choir or your volunteer work in a hospital, your needlepoint, your favorite recipe or photo. Gosh the list is endless. Just let it reflect you. Think of this list as an introduction to potential friends.   For more insight into this question and the  motivation behind, please read Megan Overbay’s, the former Director of Admissions’, advice. I believe you will find it helpful. And very friendly.

2. Choose only 1 of the following 2 essay questions to answer. Your response should be no more than 2 pages in length.

Choose to the prompt that will let you reveal something important to you and impressive about you. Write the essay that you will be able to draft most enthusiastically and easily.

1. When asked by your family, friends, and colleagues why you want to go to Duke, what do you tell them? Share the reasons that are most meaningful to you

Why Duke? But you’re not talking to the admissions committee, whom you just may be a tad less than candid with. You are talking to your family, friends, and colleagues, people you know and like (at least the friends).  The Fuqua admissions staff really wants to get to know you. Authenticity is the goal. The admissions readers want to be able to imagine you as a part of Team Fuqua — their family — as a friend or colleague. Will you be real stiff and formal? Of course not. You will be friendly in a professional way. Don’t take this as an invitation to be inappropriate, coarse, or rude. Just friendly.

What appeals to you at Duke? What about its program, culture, and professional opportunities propels you to apply and would compel you to accept an offer of admission? Maybe address a letter to a close friend and tell her why you want to go to Duke.  That letter may morph into this essay.

2. The Team Fuqua community is as unique as the individuals who comprise it. Underlying our individuality are a number of shared ideas and principles that we live out in our own ways. Our students have identified and defined 6 “Team Fuqua Principles” that we feel are the guiding philosophies that make our community special. At the end of your 2 years at Fuqua, if you were to receive an award for exemplifying one of the 6 Principles listed below, which one would it be and why? Your response should reflect the research you have done, your knowledge of Fuqua and the Daytime MBA program and experience, and the types of activities and leadership you would engage in as a Fuqua student.

1. Authentic Engagement: We care and we take action. We each make a difference to Team Fuqua by being ourselves and engaging in and supporting activities about which we are passionate.
2. Supportive Ambition: We support each other to achieve great things, because your success is my success. The success of each individual member of Team Fuqua makes the whole of Team Fuqua better.
3. Collective Diversity:  We embrace all of our classmates because our individuality is better and stronger together.
4. Impactful Stewardship: We are leaders who focus on solutions to improve our communities both now and in the future. We aren’t satisfied with just maintaining the status quo.
5. Loyal Community: We are a family who looks out for each other. Team Fuqua supports you when you need it the most.
6. Uncompromising Integrity: We internalize and live the honor code in the classroom and beyond. We conduct ourselves with integrity within Fuqua, within Duke, and within all communities of which we are a part.

Do your homework about Fuqua (and yourself) before responding to this question. What activities and groups appeal to you? How do you see yourself participating? Making a difference? Then look at the list of six principles above. Which do you most identify with? Imagine how you would exemplify that principle in your activities. The story of that role and how would see yourself earning an award is your essay.  While you can reference similar activities in the past, keep the focus of this essay on what you would do at Fuqua and why you would earn recognition for exemplifying one of these six principles.

Optional Essay Question:

If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them in an optional essay (e.g. unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, or any significant weakness in your application).

• Do NOT upload additional essays nor additional recommendations in this area of the application.
• The Optional Essay is intended to provide the Admissions Committee with insight into your extenuating circumstances only.
• Limit your response to two pages.

Why isn’t your current supervisor writing your rec? Why is there a six-month gap on your resume? Why did your grades dip during the first semester of your senior year? What are your responsibilities while working for a family business after having left a prestigious investment bank, and why did you make the change? Answering any of those questions (but not all) could be the topic of your optional essay.

If you would like professional guidance with your Duke Fuqua MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Duke application. 

Duke Fuqua 2015 MBA Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline Decision Notification
Early Action Sept. 17, 2014 Oct. 29, 2014
Round 1 Oct. 20, 2014 Dec. 19, 2014
Round 2 Jan. 5, 2015 Mar. 13, 2015
Round 3 Mar. 19, 2015 May 6, 2015

Click here for more school-specific MBA application essay tips!

Apply with an admissions pro at your side! Click here to learn more.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

 

Related Resources:

• What I Wish I Knew Before Entering the Duke MBA
• Culture, Location, and Support: A Duke MBA Speaks
• 2015 MBA Application Essay Tips

 

Kellogg 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

I strongly urge you to watch the videos where Kellogg defines what it means by Think Bravely. The qualified applicants who show they profoundly identify with that mission will have the best chance of acceptance.

Essays:

1.
 Resilience. Perseverance. Grit. Call it what you will…. Challenges can build character. Describe a challenging experience you’ve had. How were you tested? What did you learn? (450 words)

A perfect prompt for an essay showing that you take responsibility for you actions — even in challenging situations — and that you courageously face those challenges, deal with them, and grow from them.

The question asks you to describe one experience that you found challenging. I suggest you open with either a difficult moment or interaction, then describe what led up to it and continue with how you dealt with it. Reveal results both in terms of the situation and more importantly in terms of your personal character growth.

For more thoughts on resilience, please see Resilience: Moving On.

2.
 Leadership requires an ability to collaborate with and motivate others. Describe a professional experience that required you to influence people. What did this experience teach you about working with others, and how will it make you a better leader? (450 words)

This question reflects Kellogg’s emphasis on collaborative leadership. As in question 1, Kellogg is asking you to describe one experience. This time  the school seeks a professional one where you influenced others. You can use a STAR framework for this response (Situation, Task, Action, Results). Start with the situation and simply describe what was going on. Then relate your group’s task and responsibility. How did you motivate the others to move in one direction? How did you influence and persuade? Finally what were the results for the group, but more importantly for you? What did you learn about leadership, collaboration, and influence?

While it isn’t a requirement and I can imagine instances where this may not be true, in general examples where you led by virtue of your stature and others’ respect for you will be more compelling than those where you led by virtue of station and title. 

Re-Applicants Only: Since your previous application, what steps have you taken to strengthen your candidacy? (250 word limit)

No trick questions here. How are you a better candidate today than when Kellogg rejected you? Have you addressed weaknesses in your previous application? Check out MBA Reapplicant 101 — a lot of (free) resources. 

Additional Information (Optional): If needed, use this section to briefly describe any extenuating circumstances (e.g. unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, etc.) (no word count)

This is a true optional question If necessary, use it to provide context for possible negatives. Take responsibility for mistakes if necessary and discuss what you have changed so that you don’t err in the same way again.

Keep this section short and to-the-point. Don’t be fooled by “No word count.”

Video Essay: 

 • The Video Essays provide applicants with an additional opportunity to demonstrate what they will bring to our vibrant Kellogg community – in an interactive way. Each applicant will complete two short video essay questions. The questions are designed to bring to life the person we have learned about on paper.

 • After submitting a completed application, each applicant will be asked to complete two Video Essay Questions. One will be about the candidate’s interest in Kellogg and the other will be a “getting to know you” type of question.

 • There are 10 practice questions which candidates can complete as many times as they like to get comfortable with the format and technology. The practice questions and experience will simulate the actual video essay experience, so this is meant to be a useful tool and help applicants feel prepared.

 • There is not an opportunity to re-do the answer to the official video essay questions. We encourage applicants to practice so they are comfortable with the format once it is time to complete the official questions.

 • Candidates will have 20 seconds to think about their question and up to 1 minute to give their response.

• We estimate the Video Essays will take 30 minutes to complete – which includes time for set-up and answering all the practice questions.

To prepare for your webcam session, you need to practice for the experience of talking to a video camera with no responses from another human being. For tips on how to prepare and behave during the webcam session, please see Kellogg’s “Video Essay” on its Application Components page as well as my Tips for Video MBA Essay Questions.

If you would like professional guidance with your Kellogg MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the Kellogg application. 

Kellogg 2015 MBA Application Deadlines:

Round     . Due Date*            . Decisions Released
Round 1 September 24, 2014 December 17, 2014
Round 2 January 7, 2015 March 25, 2015
Round 3 April 1, 2015 May 13, 2015

*Your application must be received by Kellogg no later than 5p.m. CT on the deadline for the round in which you are applying.

Click here for more school-specific MBA application essay tips!

Apply with an admissions pro at your side! Click here to learn more.

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

UVA Darden 2015 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

UVA_DardenDarden led the way with a one-essay application.  Some may feel that fewer essays indicate that essays are losing importance. My suspicion is that the remaining essays and short-answers are as or more important than they ever were. Especially at a program emphasizing the case method and experiential learning, evidence that you can communicate, analyze a problem from multiple perspectives, and handle the rigorous program that Darden is famous for are all critical. 

My tips for answering the Darden application essay are in blue below.

Essay:

1. Describe the most courageous professional decision you have made or most courageous action you have taken at work. What did you learn from that experience? (500 word maximum)

First of all, I strongly encourage you to watch the video with Darden’s Assistant Dean of MBA Admissions Sarah Neher where she lays out what they’re looking for in this essay:

What is courage? The strength to act in the face of fear, difficulty, criticism, opposition, and possibly danger. Hopefully you didn’t need courage because you were facing true danger on the job, but perhaps you needed it for some of the other reasons I provided. When did you have the strength and courage to take ownership of a project, position, or initiative? When did something become your baby?  What was the decision?  What did you do? Why was it so important to you? What was the result? And most importantly (per the video), what did you learn? 

They not only want to know your reaction to a particularly challenging situation; they want to see how you respond when you are personally invested and excited about a challenge, initiative, or project.

Final tidbit: Make sure you answer all elements of the question. That’s critical.

If you would like professional guidance with your UVA Darden MBA application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the UVA Darden application. 

UVA Darden 2015 Application Deadlines:

Application Deadline Decisions Released
Round 1 October 10, 2014 December 17, 2014
Round 2 January 7, 2015 March 25, 2015
Round 3 April 1, 2015 May 6, 2015

Want more school specific MBA application essay tips? Click here!

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

UCLA Anderson 2015 Essay Tips & Deadlines

Check out the rest of our school-specific application essay tips!

UCLA Anderson

The advice that UCLA Anderson provides below is excellent, not just for Anderson’s essays, but for most MBA essays. Read it carefully. 

My tips are in blue below.

Your essays are the primary way for you to share your perspectives and plans with the admissions committee. The best essays are introspective, genuine and succinct in directly answering our questions and responding to our topics.

• Essay questions are listed below for both first-time applicants and re-applicants.
• You should try to distinguish yourself by showing what makes you different from others who share similar profiles.
• Personal expression is what we are looking for, not platitudes.
• Making a strong case for your future plans requires you to first do research on career paths and find one that resonates. Even if this target will change during business school, your application essays should lay out a clear trajectory for short-term and long-term goals. Do this by demonstrating how you expect to build on skills from your past, and those you expect to gain from the MBA.
• Essays are more compelling if they include specific courses, programs, groups, opportunities, activities, etc. from which you would benefit, if admitted to UCLA Anderson. These references are best found through website research, personal discussions and a campus visit (if possible).
• Content and clarity are key elements, as we seek superior communication skills.
• Style is a consideration too, although we understand that those who speak other languages may have different manners of expression in English.
• We do check your essays for plagiarism, so make sure you always submit your own work.
• Length does not equal strength. A well-written short essay can have even more impact than a longer essay. Please try to respect the word limits indicated below.
• All responses to essays must be on double-spaced pages that are uploaded as a document. We do not accept essays in any other media but written form.

Essay:

UCLA Anderson is distinguished by three defining principles: Share Success, Think Fearlessly, Drive Change. What principles have defined your life and pre-MBA career? How do you believe that UCLA Anderson’s principles, and the environment they create, will help you attain your post-MBA career goals?  (750 words maximum)

Anderson has simplified it’s essay requirements but gives you enough room to write a revealing response. Make sure that essay shows that can answer the question articulately and belong at Anderson.

First think about what’s important to you. What guides and drives your behavior? If you can summarize those principles in two words as Anderson does, that’s great. If not, don’t sweat it, but do be succinct. If you come up with more than three principles, choose the three that are most important to you, but I advise against going with more than three. If you want to use fewer than three, that’s OK too. And, for Heaven’s sake don’t be tempted to say that your guiding principles are verbatim identical to Anderson’s.

A great way to approach this essay would be to discuss an experience or anecdote that represents your guiding principles and then connect that story and your values to UCLA’s critical principles and the Anderson culture.  Then conclude by addressing the last part of the question: How Anderson’s principles and “environment” will help you realize your post-MBA career goals.

Optional Essay:

Are there any extenuating circumstances in your profile about which the Admissions Committee should be aware?  (250 words maximum)

If there are extenuating circumstances that would add perspective on or “explain” a weakness, you can discuss them here. A few years ago, UCLA added the following: “Please do not submit redundant information in the Optional Essay.” Good advice for all optional questions. For more suggestions, please see The Optional Question: To Be or not To Be

Required Re-applicant Essay:

Reapplicants who applied for the class entering Fall 2013 or 2014 are required to complete the following essay. Please be introspective and authentic in your response. We value the opportunity to learn about your aspirations and goals.

Please describe your career progress since you last applied and ways in which you have enhanced your candidacy. Include updates on short-term and long-term career goals, as well as your continued interest in UCLA Anderson. (750 words maximum)

This is the key question in every MBA reapplication: How have you enhanced your candidacy? Career progress is an obvious place to start and something you must address, but if academics were a weakness, then what have you done since you last applied to show you can excel at Anderson? 

If you would like professional guidance with your UCLA Anderson application, please consider Accepted’s MBA essay editing and MBA admissions consulting or our  MBA Application Packages, which include advising, editing, interview coaching, and a resume edit for the UCLA application.  

Want more school specific MBA application essay tips? Click here!

UCLA 2015 Application Deadlines:

UCLA Anderson Application Deadlines

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

 

Related Resources:

UCLA Anderson B-School Zone
• Student Body, Recruitment, Location: Future UCLA Anderson MBA Interview
• Hard Work and Humility: Reflections of a UCLA Anderson Student

MBA Admission: The Great Round 1/Round 2 Fight

Check out MBA Admissions 101 for more b-school admissions advice!

“On my right, now entering the ring is Round 1. A perennial favorite with those who have stratospheric GMATs, patents, Nobel Prizes, and the like. And on my left, waving to the crowd is Round 2. He is favored by those with more average, but still respectable scores, grades, and experience.”

So goes the fight about when to submit an application. I am not impressed by attempts to win the admissions game through timing, at least using these arguments, which are specious and weigh less significant or non-existent factors as opposed to those that really count.

What counts above all else  is the quality of your application. You want to submit when it is at its best.

The argument that Round 1 is for superstars simply isn’t true. Many superstars apply round 2 (and even later, but I am going to limit this discussion to Rounds 1 and 2). But when you wait to apply Round 2, many seats have already been given to round 1 applicants.

At the same time, some applicants are absolutely determined to submit Round 1 because they want the “early advantage.” They will even foolishly rush their applications, submit something less than their best in this mad dash to a R1 deadline.

Let’s call this match a draw. The boxers can take off their gloves and pull up a chair. Listen to Linda’s rule:

“Apply as early as possible PROVIDED you don’t compromise the quality of your application.”

Just today I received an email from an applicant who has been struggling with her GMAT and wants to attend a top 15 program. She is unlikely to be admitted with her current score and she wants to apply Round 1. She is better off raising her GMAT and postponing her application to Round 2.

Someone else writes to a mailing list that he has good scores, grades, and work experience, but is in a common applicant sub-group and wants to apply round 2 because he believes competition will be less intense.

Big mistake. Competition is intense both rounds. Instead of focusing on this timing question, he should be working to improve his profile, differentiate himself, learn about the schools, and start on his essays so that he can submit round 1 when there are more spots available.

Is there an advantage to applying early in a round, especially round 1?

I don’t think so. More importantly, there is an advantage to holding onto a completed first application and submitting it closer to the deadline (Any school, CBS for example, on rolling admissions could be exceptions to this part of this post.) As you work on subsequent applications, you will improve your essays and see (and relate) experiences and goals with greater clarity. If you just put that first completed application away while you work on applications 2, 3, & N, then you can go back to Application 1 before that school’s R1 deadline and tweak it before you submit. That first application will then benefit from your recent writing experience and greater clarity.

Don’t, however, wait until the 11th hour to  upload your app and press SUBMIT. Many times servers are overloaded on deadline day. You don’t want to miss a deadline on an application that was completed weeks earlier because you waited too long.

Navigating the MBA Maze

Linda Abraham By , president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

 

Related Resources:

• How Many B-Schools Should You Apply To?
• How to Write and Edit MBA Essays
• Top MBA Program Zones