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 qualities 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 Duke Fuqua MBA essay tips are in blue below.
Duke Fuqua 2019-20 MBA application essay instructions
You’ll need to provide your thoughts on two short-answer questions and two essays as part of your application.
Instructions for all written submissions:
- Responses should use 1.5-line spacing and a font size no smaller than 10-point.
- Do not repeat the question in the document you upload with your application.
- Respond fully and concisely.
- Length requirements vary by question and are detailed below.
- Responses must be completed before submitting your application.
All submissions 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.
Duke Fuqua required short-answer essay questions
Duke announced on its blog that it is changing its short answer questions and reducing them from 3 to 2 as part of a broader effort to increase accessibility and ease the application process. It also changed the questions slightly while keeping the per question character limits unchanged.
- Why is pursuing an MBA the right next step for you? (500 characters, or about 100 words)
- What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first-choice career plan and your alternate plan. (500 characters, or about 100 words)
Your answers to these two questions should complement and support each other.
To respond to #1, think about what you want to accomplish that you can’t accomplish without an MBA? Or at least what can you achieve more efficiently with an MBA than without one?
Your first impulse might be to share your short-term MBA goals in response to #1. Frankly I recommend you succinctly share your broader, more aspirational MBA goals and motivations in responding to #1.
Then in your response to #2, your post MBA career goals should lead to whatever you aim for in #1 and so should the alternate plan, your Plan B.
In both responses you’ll need to be highly focused.
Duke Fuqua MBA essay #1 (25 random things about yourself)
Instructions: 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 two pages.
For context: Fuqua believes different types of people, points of view, and experiences bring out the best in everyone. And above all, we place a premium on succeeding while making a positive impact on businesses, organizations, and the world. These ways of thinking set the Duke MBA experience apart, and this concept 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 question 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 ages 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. Yes, it’s old, but I believe you will find it helpful. And very friendly. For even more ideas, check out Associate Dean for Admissions Shari Hubert’s 25 Random Things or these examples from different Fuqua students.
Duke Fuqua MBA Essay #2 (The Fuqua community and you)
Instructions: Your response should be no more than two pages in length.
Fuqua prides itself on cultivating a culture of engagement. Our students enjoy a wide range of student-led organizations that provide opportunities for leadership development and personal fulfillment, as well as an outlet for contributing to society. Our student-led government, clubs, centers, and events are an integral part of the student culture and are vital to providing you with a range of experiential learning and individual development experiences.
Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, how do you see yourself engaging in and contributing to our community, outside of the classroom?
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? Imagine how you would participate and sometimes lead. While you can reference similar activities in the past, keep the focus of this essay on what you would do at Fuqua.
One approach to responding to this question: Address a letter to a close friend or colleague and tell them how you would contribute to this very participatory culture. That letter could morph into this essay.
Duke Fuqua MBA Essay #3 (Optional – tell us more)
If you feel there are circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware (such as unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance), please explain them in an optional essay.
Please do not upload additional essays or additional recommendations in this area of the application, and limit your response to one page.
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.
For expert guidance with your Duke Fuqua MBA application, check out Accepted’s MBA Application Packages, which include comprehensive guidance from an experienced admissions consultant. We’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to Duke Fuqua’s MBA program and look forward to helping you too!
Duke Fuqua 2019-20 MBA Application Deadlines
|Submission Deadline||Decisions Released|
|Early Action||September 19, 2019||October 28, 2019|
|Round 1||October 14, 2019||December 18, 2019|
|Round 2||January 6, 2020||March 19, 2020|
|Round 3||March 11, 2020||April 20, 2020|
Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the application date.
***Disclaimer: Information is subject to change. Please check with individual programs to verify the essay questions, instructions and deadlines.***Want an admissions expert help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!
• 5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid in Your Application Essays, a free guide
• Journey to Duke Fuqua: Marine-Turned-MBA, Entrepreneur, and Dad, interview with a current Fuqua student
• Meet Duke Fuqua’s Associate Dean of Admissions, Shari Hubert, a podcast episode