UPDATE- The tips for Duke Fuqua’s 2012 MBA Application are now available online. Please post questions or comments to the new post.
This Duke Fuqua 2011 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. You can access the entire series at https://blog.accepted.com/acceptedcom_blog/tag/2011-mba-application-tips. My tips for answering Duke Fuqua’s essay questions are in red below.
Three essay questions must be completed before submitting your application. Prepare your essays carefully. The Admissions Committee considers your responses to the following 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 2009 and April 2010 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.” (I can think of several schools that might disagree, but that’s the claim.) Fuqua launched campuses in St. Petersberg, Dubai, London, Shanghai, and New Delhi. It is serious about its global approach to business and it offers unusual opportunity for students interested in studying business on an international scale.
Furthermore Fuqua is not just trying to scale geographic boundaries; it strives to rethink intellectual boundaries. It promises a multi-disciplinary approach to studying business that also encourages study outside the business school.
Duke is very proud of its collaborative and diverse community. Consequently, it carefully chooses 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 leader. As the questions show, all facets are important to Fuqua.
Duke has slightly re-shuffled the essay deck this year.
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 assume? Where would you like to have impact? What cause is important to you? Where have you contributed in the past? When answering the essays below, keep in mind Duke’s “globally distributed” campus and its emphasis on the connections between business and non-business disciplines.
1. Describe your vision for your career and your inspiration for pursuing this career path.
Similar to last year’s first question, Duke is asking you to connect the dots between an influential experience or two and your future goals. (For different ideas on structuring goals essays, click on the link). 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 am doing it again. Just keep in mind that this essay will reveal whether you have done your homework — personal introspection and career networking or not, as the case may be.
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?
Show that you have done your homework about 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 Habitat for Humanity, a local environmental cause, your church, or a hobby, sport, or art form? Is it an unusual aspect of your personal background? Perhaps, overcoming distinctive challenges? And then how will this unique facet cause you to contribute at Duke? Will it lead to involvement in a specific club or Fuqua project? Interest in a particular program? Show your knowledge of Fuqua as well as fit between you and the program.
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 know which programs or concentrations will help you attain your dreams and also demonstrate a willingness to contribute to those programs. 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 did your grades dip during the first semester of your senior year? Why is there a six-month gap on your resume? 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.
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.
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