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.
Three short answer questions and two essay questions must be completed before submitting your application. Prepare your responses carefully. The Admissions Committee considers your answers to the following questions important in the selection process.
Candidates who applied to The Duke MBA between July 2012 and May 2013 are considered re-applicants. All re-applicants are required to complete the Re-applicant Essay in addition to the Short Answer Questions and Applicant Essays.
Applicants also have the opportunity to submit an optional essay to explain any extenuating circumstances about which the Admissions Committee should be aware.
Short answer questions will allow for 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.
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?
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, their 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.
(Please 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, with a font size no less than 10-point.)
Have some fun with this list. It certainly allows a more creative approach. 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, 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 Director of Admissions’, advice. I believe you will find it helpful. And very friendly.
2. 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.
(Your response to this essay question should be no more than 2 pages in length, with a font size no less than 10-point. Please respond fully and concisely using 1.5 line spacing.)
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 part. 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 about 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.
Optional Essay Question:
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). Note that you should 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.
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.
|Application Deadline||Decision Notification|
|Early Action||September 18 2013||October 30 2013|
|Round 1||October 21 2013||December 20 2013|
|Round 2||January 6 2014||March 13 2014|
|Round 3||March 20 2014||May 9 2014|
By Linda Abraham, 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.