Duke Fuqua 2016 MBA Essay Tips & Deadlines

Check out more school specific MBA Essay TipsLeadership, 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.

Required Short Answers Questions

Instructions: Answer all 3 of the following questions. For each short answer question, respond in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).

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

State what you see yourself doing immediately after you earn your MBA 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. Without sponsorship, a “Company X” answer is probably too narrow, but saying you would like to work for a firm like Company X would work.

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 too vague.

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 — your first choice — what do you want to do? If Plan A is investment banking, what’s Plan B?

First Required Essay: 25 Random Things About Yourself

Instructions: 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.

1. 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.

Second Required Essay (choose 1 of 2)

Instructions: Choose only 1 of the following 2 essay questions to answer. Your response should be no more than 2 pages in length, and should reflect your knowledge of the Fuqua program and experience, and the types of activities and leadership you would engage in as a Fuqua student.

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. Why Duke: 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 attracts you 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.

Duke Fuqua 2016 MBA Application Deadlines:

Duke Fuqua 2016 MBA Timeline

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. 

12 Terrific Tips for MBA Applicants - Download your free copy today!

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

Related Resources:

How To Earn A Spot On Team Fuqua [Podcast]
• Culture, Location, and Support: A Duke MBA Speaks
• 2016 MBA Application Essay Tips

How To Earn A Spot On Team Fuqua

Listen to the show!For an extra-strong dose of concrete MBA admissions advice, tune in to our conversation with Liz Riley Hargrove, Associate Dean for Admissions at The Fuqua School of Business. She is the woman responsible for all elements of the applicant evaluation process at one of the world’s top b-schools. In fact, Bloomberg Business ranked Fuqua #1 in its 2014 ranking.

We couldn’t be more excited to have Liz Riley Hargrove as the star of this episode of Admissions Straight Talk.

00:02:02 – A customized b-school experience: The Duke 2-year MBA program.

00:03:30 – No conflict here: the fusion of team culture and consequential leadership.

00:08:49 – Profile of a recent grad who is doing something super exciting.

00:11:33 – Fuqua’s position on GMAT vs GRE.

00:14:47 – One thing not enough people realize about Fuqua.

00:16:35 –  A look at the Energy Finance and Energy and Environment concentrations.

00:18:36 – About Fuqua’s 25 random facts application question (and why its optional).

00:20:41 – Understanding how the open interview season works and what the adcom wants from you.

00:23:13 – What makes Liz excited about an application.

00:24:14 – The Golden Rule for applicants: Tell the story that only you can tell.

Click here to listen to the show!*Theme music is courtesy of podcastthemes.com

Related links:

• Duke Fuqua Application Instructions
Why Fuqua and the Leadership
• The MBA Gatekeeper At Duke’s Fuqua School

Related shows:

The Admissions Team at the Very Center of Business
It’s MBA Season: Do You Know Where Your Applications Are?
Bruce DelMonico on The Yale School of Management
• Interview with Sheryl Dirks, Associate Dean for Career Management at Duke Fuqua

Leave a Review for Admissions Straight Talk:

Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in iTunes! Check Out Admissions Straight Talk in Stitcher!





Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One - Download your copy today!



U.S. News 2016 Best Graduate Business Schools

U.S. News released its graduate school rankings today. Let’s see how our top b-schools fared…

Top 20 U.S. B-Schools – 2016

Visit our b-school zone page for info on the top business schools.1. Stanford GSB (1)
2. Harvard Business School (1)
3. UPenn Wharton (1)
4. Chicago Booth (4)
5. MIT Sloan (5)
6. Northwestern Kellogg (6)
7. UC Berkeley Haas (7)
8. Columbia Business School (8)
9. Dartmouth Tuck (9)
10. UVA Darden (11)
11. NYU Stern (10)
11. Michigan Ross (11)
13. Duke Fuqua (14)
13. Yale SOM (13)
15. UCLA Anderson (16)
16. Cornell Johnson (17)
17. Texas McCombs (15)
18. UNC Kenan-Flagler (19)
19. Washington Olin (22)
20. CMU Tepper (18)

25% of US News rankings is made up of survey responses from business school deans and directors; 15% is based on recruiters’ survey responses. The remaining 60% is based on statistical data reflecting program selectivity and placement success. (For details, read up on U.S. News methodology.)

Here are some highlights from the Poets & Quants article on the rankings:

• Last year’s three-way Stanford/Harvard/Wharton tie was broken this year with each school taking one of the first three spots (Stanford in first, HBS in second, and Wharton in third).

• The P&Q article states that Wharton’s slip to third is due to lower peer assessment and corporate recruiter survey scores.

• Wharton also reported an acceptance rate of 20.7%, up from last year’s 18.7% — this is another metric used by U.S. News in their methodology.

• Another factor contributing to Wharton’s position this year is its position regarding salary and bonus. Last year it took top slot at $141,243, while this year it slipped to fourth place at $142,574 – yes, higher than last year, but this year, Harvard, MIT, and Stanford reported even higher salaries/bonuses (HBS took the cake at $144,936 this year).

• Stanford’s top stats this year: average GMAT – 732; average GPA – 3.74; acceptance rate – 7.1%.

• In the top 20, there weren’t significant changes beyond a given school moving up or down a couple places. But further down in the rankings there were some big shifts. Texas A&M jumped 10 places to 27th place (tied with Carlson); Wake Forest jumped 13 places to 45th place; and Louisville moved up at least 31 places to 71st place – it was previously unranked.

• Big drops include Missouri Trulaske which fell 21 places from 58th to 79th place; Pepperdine Graziadio which fell at least 25 places, from last year’s 76th place to its unranked position this year.

Wondering how much rankings should play a roll in determining where you apply? Watch the video below for Linda Abraham’s answer:

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?

Accepted: The Premier Admissions Cosultancy

Related Resources:

• Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2015
• What’s an MBA Really Worth?
• PayScale: How Much Can You Earn, and How to Earn It?

2015 Duke MBA—Cross-Continent Essays Tips

Read more school specific essays tips.The Duke Cross Continent MBA program is unique in its format and mission, and it targets a special segment of the MBA applicant pool: those who intend to continue working during the MBA and whose work and goals have a global focus.  The average age of Cross-Continent students is a couple of years older than that of traditional MBA students.  

Given the above, it’s not surprising to see the essay questions both addressing, directly and indirectly, fit with this one-of-a-kind program.  And that’s exactly what you should keep your eye on as you develop your essays.  While creating essays that answer the questions and also showcase your strengths, spotlight those experiences and elements that demonstrate both your understanding of the program’s specialness and how you align with and will enhance it.  

Required Short Answer Question:

What are your career goalsRespond in a maximum of 100 words.

Give the basic facts – position, company example, industry (if not apparent from the company) and a word about responsibilities and desired impacts. Don’t repeat the question (it wastes space).

Required Essays:

1. How will your skills, training and background enhance your cohort’s experience? Please include both personal and professional insight that may not be apparent through your resume and other application materials. Your response should be a maximum of 250 words.

This question is asking you to look behind your accomplishments and identify what “drives” or enables your success.  The quality of your insight in this regard is the key point.  With only 250 words, focus on 2-4 things; probably 3 would be ideal.   Draw from at least 2 of the 3 categories (skills, training, background) as each category has a different type of influence.

Use examples and anecdotes to make the actual points – it they will make the essay more vivid, memorable, and credible. Obviously you won’t have room for lengthy stories, but you can sometimes convey an anecdote in one sentence, e.g., “When confronted with ABC, I drew on my [specific background/skill/training] and did DEF, resulting in XYZ.”

2. Duke University is embedded in the world’s most important economic regions. As a result, our students experience a unique learning environment in which programs are delivered on 4 different continents, by our world-renowned faculty. Our diverse student cohorts represent a vast array of professional backgrounds, nationalities, interests, and experiences. Serving students who are also working professionals, The Duke MBA—Cross Continent program allows student to apply new skills immediately in the workplace and reap the benefits from their first-hand global experiences.  Explain how you and your organization will benefit from the global education offered at Duke. Your response should be a maximum of 500 words.

There’s a lot of preamble before the actual question, “Explain…”  Don’t gloss over it – this intro encapsulates Duke’s vision for this program, and it can help you focus your goals essay accordingly.

Start with the immediate and short-term – discuss what you want to accomplish while in the program, and how applying the MBA learning “in real time” including its global aspect will enable you to do so.  Be concrete, be specific.  Discuss benefits to you (how you’ll be able to achieve more, grow, strengthen your impact) and to your company – they will connect with your impacts.  Being specific in this discussion will also convey what you’ll bring to the table in terms of issues you’re addressing and working on, your industry and functional perspective, etc. so select points that will be interesting to the adcom and future classmates.

Finally, add a similar discussion for longer term goals, but make it shorter and less detailed.  

Optional Essay: 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). Do NOT upload additional essays nor additional recommendations in this area. The Optional Essay is intended to provide the admissions committee with insight into your extenuating circumstances only.

This optional essay should focus on matters that require explanation; it does not invite you to further market yourself. Only write it if you do indeed have extenuating circumstances to discuss for a full and clear presentation of your candidacy.

 Re-applicant Essay:

An additional essay is required for re-applicants. It is not uncommon for it to take more than one try to achieve a goal. Please share with us the self-reflection process that you underwent after last year’s application and how you have grown as a result. How did it shape your commitment to Fuqua and inspire your decision to reapply?

The reapplicant essay focuses on “how” you approached growth and change as much as “what” that growth was.  They are not just looking for updates on new achievements – they want to know that you have deliberately pursued a path of growth and development, what they results were, and, finally, how it spurs your reapplication to Fuqua.  To avoid the potential pitfall of a lot of explanation in this essay, make the main part of the essay – the self-reflection and the growth – into a story, and conclude with how it incorporates Fuqua.

The deadlines are:
Make sure your applications are ready with a final check!

 

 

 

 

The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes: Get your free copy!

Cindy Tokumitsu 

By , author and co-author of numerous ebooks, articles, and special reports, including Why MBA and Best MBA Programs: A Guide to Selecting the Right One. Cindy has advised hundreds of successful applicants in her fifteen years with Accepted.com.

Related Resources:

 Top MBA Program Essay Questions: How to Answer Them Right
• 4 Goals of an MBA Application
• 7 Signs an Experience Belongs in Your Application Essays 

QS Global TopMBA Rankings 2014

TopMBA’s new 2014/2015 global report ranks business programs according to geographic location based on surveys completed by 5,669 actively-hiring MBA employers and 7,187 academics in the field of business and management. (See more about the methodology here.)

Top 20 B-Schools in North America

Learn how to make the business school rankings work for you, not against you!

Some highlights:

•  The top 10 remained virtually the same this year as last, with two rather large exceptions: Ross and Stern entered the top 10 scene from 12th place to 8th place for Ross and 12th place to 10th place for Stern. Losing top 10 stature this year were Duke Fuqua which fell from 10th to 13th place and Toronto Rotman which fell from 8th to 14th.

•  There were three newcomers to the top 10 this year – NYU Stern (see above), Texas McCombs (29th last year to 19th this year), and BU School of Management (24th to 20th). HEC Montreal fell from the top 20 (16th place last year to 22nd this year), as did York Schulich (13th to 28th) and Queen’s School of Business (18th to 31st).

•  Big jumpers further down in the rankings include USC Marshall (42nd to 23rd), UC Irvine Merage (51st to 33rd), UC Davis (54th to 36th), Michigan State Broad (71st to 38th), UC San Diego Rady (61st to 40th), Ohio State Fisher (60th to 42nd), UT Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management (83rd to 45th), Washington Olin (83rd to 47th), and Minnesota Carlson (87th to 49th).

•  Big droppers include UVA Darden (28th to 37th), University of Miami School of Business Administration (32nd to 77th), Rutgers Business School (67th to 82nd), and Vanderbilt Owen (37th to 86th).

Top 20 B-Schools in Europe

Learn how to make the rankings work for you and not against you!Some highlights:

•  HEC Paris jumped from 10th place last year to 4th place this year and Cambridge Judge jumped from 13th to 10th place; otherwise, the top 10 in Europe remain pretty much the same. Copenhagen fell from the top 10, from 9th place last year to 12th place this year.

•  New to the top 20 this year are ESSEC (29th place to 16th place), Manchester Bossiness School (27th to 14th place), and European Business School (21st to 19th). Trinity MBA in Dublin fell from the top 20, from 12th place to 21st

•  UK programs dominate the 65 schools on the European list with 26 programs represented. This is followed by France (9), Spain (5), Switzerland (4), Germany (4), the Netherlands (4), Italy (3), Denmark (2), Ireland (2), Greece (2), Finland (1), Portugal (1), Turkey (1), and Belgium (1).

You can download the full report here.

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?

Accepted.com: Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Businessweek Rankings 2014
• 2014 Economist MBA Rankings
• MBA Rankings: Why Should I Care?