MBA Admissions News Roundup


  • Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business announced that David A. Thomas will become Georgetown McDonough’s new Dean and William R. Berkley Chair starting October 1, 2011. One can learn more about Dean Thomas by watching a video that has been posted on McDonough’s website.
  •’s interview with Ankur Kumar, Wharton’s deputy director of admissions, reveals the full story behind the rise in female enrollment at Wharton School of Business. Kumar explains how the school worked hard to get to the point where 45% of the incoming class is women. Kumar spearheaded many new initiatives in the past two years to attract more women to visit campus and convince them to apply.
  • The Financial Times describes how the Anderson School of Management at UCLA has restructured its curriculum to help students stay career focused and become experts in their fields of interest. The incoming class in September will have the flexibility to acquire skills early in the program that will allow them to contribute in their specialty even during their internships.
  • Businessweek announced that Blair Sheppard will be stepping down as the dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business on August 1st. Sheppard will remain at the school and work in the fundraising and business development department for Duke’s new campus in Kunshan, China.  Duke Kunshan University is expected to open in 2012.
  • looks at how China Europe International Business School’s new dean, John Quelch, wants to transform the Shanghai business school into one of the top 10-ranked, research-focused business schools. Quelch plans on changing CEIBS by focusing on what he calls the “Four F’s”: Faculty, fame, fortune and fun. Although he struggles with recruiting faculty, Quelch feels fortunate that the Chinese government has given CEIBS “tremendous scope and freedom when it comes to curriculum design and delivery.” ~ Helping You Write Your Best



Another US News Top Ten!

US News is at it again!  The magazine’s newest top ten list is the top 10 Business Schools That Receive the Most Full-Time Applications. Not surprisingly, almost all the top 10 programs listed in US News’s rankings of the best business schools were also on the list of the top 10 business schools that received the most applications for full-time admissions in the 2010-2011 academic year (Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business was the only exception).

A total of 261 business schools provided US News with application data. On average, programs received 525 applications for admission.  But Harvard Business School surpassed them all with 9,524 applications, 32% more than the Stanford Graduate School of Business, which received the second highest number of applications.

However, the US News data does not reveal the number of students accepted into the class, making application numbers misleading. For example, Stanford has a class of fewer than 400, whereas Harvard’s class size is approximately 930. These statistics are also just a close approximation of the upcoming US News’ top 10.

Other schools that made the list of “the 10 business schools that received the most applications for full-time admission in 2010” were: University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)Columbia University, Northwestern University (Kellogg), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan), New York University (Stern), University of Chicago (Booth), University of California—Berkeley (Haas), and Duke University (Fuqua).

find-out-which-b-schools-are-best-with ~ Helping You Write Your Best


Photo credit: lotyloty

Duke Fuqua 2012 MBA Application Questions, Deadlines, Tips

  The Duke Fuqua 2013 MBA tips are now available.  Click here to check them out!

This Duke Fuqua 2012 MBA Application tip post is one of a series of posts providing MBA application and essay advice for applicants to top MBA programs around the world. Check out the entire 2012 MBA Application Tips series for more valuable MBA essay advice.

Duke Fuqua 2012 MBA Essay Questions

Three essay questions must be completed before submitting your application. Prepare your essays carefully. The Admissions Committee considers your responses to the questions important in the selection process. Please respond fully and concisely using 1.5 line spacing. Your response to each question should be no more than 2 pages in length, with a font size no less than 10-point.

Candidates who applied to The Duke MBA between September 2010 and May 2011 are considered re-applicants. All re-applicants are required to complete the Re-applicant Essay in addition to the Applicant Essays.

All applicants have the opportunity to submit an optional essay to explain any extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware.

Duke has staked out a position for itself as a global university and claims Fuqua as the “world’s first legitimately global business school.” (Other schools may just disagree with that claim.) Fuqua has  campuses in St. Petersberg, Dubai, London, Shanghai, and New Delhi. First or not, its global approach to business is real, and it offers unusual opportunity for students interested in studying global business.

Furthermore Fuqua is not just trying to cross geographic or political borders; it aims to rethink intellectual borders. It promises a multi-disciplinary approach to studying business that also encourages study outside Fuqua.

Duke is very proud of its diverse and collaborative community. Consequently, it carefully selects community members. The questions below are an opportunity for you to introduce yourself as an individual, a member of your community or team, and a professional and future global business leader. All facets are important to Fuqua.

Applicant Essays: Answer all 3 essay questions.

Today, companies must navigate through complex and interdependent issues. They must deal with health and security matters, environmental impact questions, and diversity and cultural concerns. Leaders need adaptability, imagination, emotional intelligence, and business acumen. Thus, Duke is in the midst of an ambitious global venture that will embed and connect us around the world, and we are seeking future leaders of consequence, who value diversity and collaborative leadership, and who aspire to impact the companies and communities of which they are a part in a lasting and positive way.

In an effort to identify, engage, and foster the development of future leaders of consequence, the Admissions Committee would like to get to know our applicants in a more holistic manner. We would like to know who you are, what has shaped you into the person you are today, and how you hope to impact both Duke and the communities of which you will be a part in the future. The essays are your opportunity to convey that to us. Please be open, genuine, and passionate. Share with us what makes you a dynamic, multi-dimensional person.

What role in the world would you like to play? Where would you like to have impact? What do you value? Where have you contributed in the past? When answering the questions below, keep in mind Duke’s emphasis on the connections between business and non-business disciplines and its “globally distributed” campus.

1. Describe your vision for your career and your inspiration for pursuing this career path.

Duke is asking you to connect the dots between an influential experience or two and your future MBA goals.  Duke saves “Why Duke” for a separate question.

I don’t think I can overemphasize the importance of this essay in establishing your credibility as a serious candidate. I know I have harangued you regularly about the importance of goals in MBA admissions, and I will keep on doing it. Just remember that this essay will show whether you have done your homework — personal introspection and career networking — or not.

2. How will your background, values, and non-work activities enhance the experience of other Duke MBA students and add value to Fuqua’s diverse culture?

Reveal your research on Duke’s deeply collaborative culture. Where do you intend to contribute? Where have your past non-professional commitments prepared you to contribute at Fuqua? Is it an enthusiastic commitment to your church, Habitat for Humanity, a local environmental cause, or an art, hobby, or sport? Is it an distinctive facet of your background? Perhaps overcoming distinctive challenges? And then how will this unique element enable you to participate at Duke? Will it lead to involvement in a specific group or Fuqua project or a particular program? Show your knowledge of Fuqua as well as fit between you and the school.

3. Why Duke? (If you are interested in a specific concentration, joint degree, clubs or activities, please discuss how you would contribute to these in this essay.)

While #2 asks how your non-professional experiences will enable you to contribute to Fuqua, this question focuses more on how Fuqua will meet your educational needs and help you realize your professional vision.

The focus on your needs isn’t total, however. You should discuss which programs or concentrations will help you attain your dreams and also demonstrate a willingness to give. Have you reviewed the different opportunities for participation in Fuqua’s rich extra-curricular life? You should before you reply to this question.

Optional Essay (not required)

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

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. And of course an infinite number of similar subjects could be worthwhile discussing in the optional essay.

Re-applicant Essay

All re-applicants are required to complete the Re-applicant Essay. Please limit your response to two pages. Write an essay describing how you are now a stronger candidate for admission compared to the application you submitted the previous year.

This is the question that adcoms want MBA reapplicants to answer. It is self-explanatory and critical.

Duke Fuqua 2012 Deadlines

Round                   Due Date                 Notification

Early Action          September 29, 2011  December 5, 2011

Round 1               November 1, 2011       February 1, 2012

Round 2                January 4, 2012        March 20, 2012

Round 3                March 8, 2012           May 4, 2012

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

Linda Abraham By Linda Abraham, President and Founder of

Current Full-Time Duke Fuqua MBA Student is continuing a blog series featuring interviews with current MBA students, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at selected MBA programs. We hope to offer you a candid picture of student life, and what you should consider as you prepare your MBA application.

Here are some excerpts from an interview with a current full-time Duke Fuqua MBA student who is a career switcher –- from case study writing to investment banking.

How did you manage this career transition?  It’s been a tough couple of years on the job market.

 My goal was New York.  Recruiters really want to get to know you — and the beauty of Fuqua is that it’s only an hour-long flight from New York.  I would fly up every Thursday night for a semester and spend Fridays going to women’s events sponsored by the banks. Other people who couldn’t go up as often as I did would take off a week from school and schedule back-to-back informational interviews. 

Now, you would think that people that were closer, like Columbia or Wharton, would have a bit of an advantage.  But I found out that because they were so close, recruiters expected them to be around all the time. Senior level bankers would cancel interviews on them frequently because they were so close.  We may have been there less often, but because we came from farther away, our time was more respected. 

Wow. You put in a huge effort to get your face out there.  Did you get any support from the school in your job hunt?

Yes – the alums were amazing.  Fuqua is a 30-year-old business school, so we don’t have decades and decades worth of alums out there yet.  But they really want to build the brand so they are amazingly supportive. The career development office – they’re ok – but it’s really the alums who are very supportive. Team Fuqua does transcend the two years.

What stood out for you about Fuqua as you were doing your MBA research?

A lot of schools are “pigeonholed” as strong in one particular area, like marketing or finance. I wanted a well-rounded program because I was interested in finance, but I wasn’t quite sure.  If I ended up doing something like consulting, recruiters might wonder why I chose Wharton.  In my opinion, Fuqua is strong in every area, not just one area.

What was the ‘x’ factor that made you say yes to Fuqua?

There’s a phrase you hear all the time –- Team Fuqua. People really look out for each other here. For example, during internship recruiting season, people who wanted investment banking jobs came back before second semester started and we spent a week prepping each other for interviews.  We were going to compete against each other for the same jobs – but that sense of teamwork is so strong that there was no question we’d help each other out so that we could all perform our best.

What was your best day at Fuqua?

I’d gotten the “rep” as someone who was really involved in Duke’s entrepreneurial push. I was asked by the provost to address the board of trustees and implore them for direct funding toward entrepreneurship. The board included some pretty remarkable people. I found out they were really inspired by my story and it sounds like they are really onboard.

Worst day?

It was during first term –- finals week. I had forgotten what it was like to be a student and I was completely overwhelmed. I was flying up to New York every weekend, getting about 3 to 4 hours of sleep during the week. I was just exhausted.  I didn’t know how I was going to handle all the work I had to do.  But I met a 2nd year in the hallway who said, ‘This is literally the worst it will be.’

So I’m a glutton for punishment.  B-school is going to be intense, but I still want to go! Any tips on Fuqua’s application process?

The interview is huge.  Current students conduct them. As teamwork is so important here, you should have a good story about how you motivated a group, how you held them accountable, and how you dealt with any conflict that came up.  This is CLUTCH.  Also, Fuqua, for both good and bad, is largely student run. They’ll want to know you’re going to make a positive impact –- but don’t overreach.  Have a couple of really solid ideas that you’re super passionate about, rather than a laundry list. They know the workload, and they’ll know the difference between sincerity and bluster.

Who were your favorite professors?

– Bill Mayhew – Accounting

– Shane Dikoli – Managerial accounting

– David Robinson – Entrepreneurial finance

– John Graham – Corporate restructuring

Across the board the teaching style is mostly case study – except for certain classes, like statistics.

Are there any innovative programs starting up right now?

There is a major push for entrepreneurship across the entire Duke campus. One of its new goals is to become a center for entrepreneurship — much like MIT and Stanford. P4E (Program for Entrepreneurs) is a second year program that allows you to bring your idea to school, find teammates, and earn up to 25 percent of your credit focusing on a start up.

There’s also the Health Sector Management program –- it’s the top health-related business program in the country. 

What about international exposure?

Duke is extremely focused on becoming an international school. Fuqua has opened satellite schools in Shanghai and Dubai to really make Fuqua a global brand.

There’s also the GATE (Global Academic Travel Experience) program. You take a class on the region you’re going to and then you travel there at the end of the term.  You spend half the time doing cultural activities and then you meet with high-level business executives.  I went to Istanbul and Dubai – two Muslim cities that are incredibly different and provided amazing perspective.

Finally, the class itself is extremely diverse – 36% of the students are international.  There’s a strong Indian presence as well as a strong South American presence.

Any last words of advice?

Go where you feel comfortable – the interview process clinched the decision for me.  The Team Fuqua spirit is real – people really do watch out for each other here.

Interview conducted by Michelle Stockman, who worked in the Columbia Business School admissions office, has a Masters in Journalism from Columbia, and has assisted clients applying to top business schools since 2007.  She is happy to help you with your application. ~ Helping You Write Your Best

U.S. News Ranks Best EMBA Programs

U.S. News & World Report just released its annual Execute MBA rankings, which we’ve posted below.

Top 10 Best Executive MBA Programs

1. University of Pennsylvania Wharton

2. Chicago Booth

3. Northwestern Kellogg

4. Duke Fuqua

5. Columbia

6. NYU Stern

6. UCLA Anderson

8. Michigan Ross

9. UC Berkeley Haas

10. UNC Kenan-Flagler

You’ll see that this list varies only slightly from the Poets & Quants best EMBA list that we posted yesterday. You can also compare this list to U.S. News‘ list of best business schools and you’ll find that if a school is regarded as the best for its MBA program, then it likely offers a top EMBA program as well. 

(Please see U.S. News‘ “Business School Rankings Methodology” for details on how these programs were chosen.) ~ Helping You Write Your Best