We had an excellent Q&A with Liz Riley Hargrove, the Associate Dean for Admissions at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. If you missed the Fuqua event or if you wish to review it, you can read the whole transcript, listen to the full audio clip online, or subscribe to our podcast in iTunes and catch as many of the MBA Admissions Q&As as you want.
Here are a few questions and answers relating to applying to Fuqua and work experience to get you started:
Linda Abraham: Chris asks, “If you have already applied, but there’s been a significant professional development in your life, how do you portray that to the admissions committee or your interviewer?” That’s a great question.
Liz Riley Hargrove: That is a great question. Oftentimes, especially recognizing that applicants have been working on their profiles and their essays and their application for admission for quite a bit of time, there could have been more recent developments that would be worth mentioning to the admissions committee. You can provide an email update of what’s happened professionally, and you can send that to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be happy to make sure that we include that with your application, and present it with your file – depending on when you submit it, of course – we’ll present it with your file to the admissions committee when the decision-making time starts.
Linda Abraham: I assume that what you’re interested in here are significant events.
Liz Riley Hargrove: Yeah, if you’ve had a promotion on your job since the time that you applied, if you’ve had the opportunity to lead a team or demonstrate your leadership and initiative professionally or within your community – I think those are things that would be of interest to the admissions committee. It shouldn’t be an update solely for the sake of sending more paper in with your application, but it should be a significant accomplishment, something that you’re proud of that would add to your candidacy and give us an additional data point on who you are and what you have to bring to the program.
Linda Abraham: Great, thank you. Winton asks, “How does Fuqua look at candidates having two to three years work experience?”
Liz Riley Hargrove: When we’re evaluating a candidate for admission, there are multiple things that are important. Oftentimes we’ll get the question, “What’s the most important thing you have to have to be admitted to a top-tier MBA program?” and there really isn’t one thing we care about. We care about everything. We care about your GMAT score, we care about your undergraduate record, we care what your recommenders have to say about you, we care about your professional experience, we care about your interview and your interpersonal skills. As far as work experience goes, we recognize that everybody’s work experience is not going to be equal. While the average at Fuqua might be 4-1/2 to 5 years, the full range of experience that our students have is anywhere from 0 to probably 20 years at the top end of the scale. So everybody’s not equal coming into the experience, and we never look at the quantity of work experience and base our decisions on what the quality of that experience might be. Someone might be able to accomplish in two to three years professionally what may have taken someone else five or six years to accomplish. It’s not the actual number of years of work experience you’ve had, so much as what you’ve done during that time that matters.
Linda Abraham: Is there such a thing as too much work experience?
Liz Riley Hargrove: I wouldn’t say that there’s necessarily a notion of too much work experience, so much as if you have a lot of work experience, what is it that you’re expecting to get out of the MBA program, based on the amount of work experience you have. For someone who has potentially 20 years of work experience, it may not necessarily be to your benefit to interrupt your career at that moment to go back to get an MBA. If you’re interested in making a complete 180-degree shift in your industry and functional area, perhaps an MBA makes sense, but you may want to consider an MBA for a working professional, where you don’t have to necessarily interrupt your career or your trajectory at that point to go back to school to earn an MBA. Duke’s a great place to consider if you’re in that situation, because we have only one MBA degree at Duke, but it’s delivered in multiple program formats.
View the full Q&A transcript or listen to the mp3 recording of the event now! Oh yes, and we even offer a new option for those who couldn’t attend or just want to review: Subscribe to the Apple iTunes MBA Admissions Podcast. If you like the podcast, please leave a 5-star review.