Duke is an especially popular target school among those interested in superb post-MBA opportunities in the mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. What many find so compelling about Fuqua is its incredibly warm and people-oriented approach. If you’re interested in what that concretely means, you need to look into and understand a number of unique aspects of this MBA program, starting with Duke’s “Team Fuqua” mentality. Team Fuqua is a particular focus on leadership through teamwork that colors the entire educational experience at Duke.

As for the essays, they haven’t changed this admissions cycle. Duke continues to search for students who not only excel in their careers, but also have strong characters that fit into its unique culture. So, if you want to be a competitive applicant, you should take the time to learn everything you can about Duke and to connect with its alumni, even before beginning to attack the questions below.

If you’d like to join Team Fuqua, it’ll also help to keep track of its MBA Deadlines here.


Required short-answer essay question

Instructions: Answer the following question in 100 words.

  • What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first-choice career plan and your alternate plan.

Imagine an arrow that stretches from your past work experiences, through your MBA studies and into your immediate post-degree role. That’s the crux of the first part of this question. To answer it, you need to think about what makes that arrow streamlined. If you target short-term goals based off of the skills and network that you’ve gained in your past experiences and those which you’ll gain through your MBA at Duke, your answer will seem appropriately strategic and realizable. Moreover, you can explain how this short-term objective will further enable your long-term career goals.

The final section is a very interesting one. Many MBA candidates go into a program with one idea about their career and exit with an entirely different one. It’s only natural that all sorts of unexpected factors may come to influence your post-MBA professional objectives. However, Fuqua wants applicants who can anticipate this possibility and prepare contingencies for it. This doesn’t mean that you need to plan to enter a completely different role; for instance, it could be the same position but in a different industry or region. Whatever you choose, make sure that it still fits sensibly in the arrow of your career.

First required essay: 25 random things about yourself

The ‘Team Fuqua’ spirit and community is one of the things that sets the MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. Please share with us “25 Random Things” about you. The Admissions Committee wants to get to know YOU – beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. Share with us important life experiences, your hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are.

 Your list will be limited to 2 pages (750 words maximum). Please present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be brief, while others may be longer.

This is an extremely open and personal essay. Looking for some inspiration and a wonderful example? Shari Hubert, associate dean of admissions at Duke, shares an impressive list of her own. If you look through Dean Hubert’s list, you’ll instantly get a sense of her struggles, her humor, her values and her accomplishments. Even if the article didn’t have her photo, I’m sure she’d come across in your mind as a vivid person. That’s what Duke wants to see in your list: a colorful personality.

However, don’t just jump in and try to write down 25 facts about yourself. Take a bit of time to reflect on what the memorable moments in your life have been made up of. What takes up most of your time? What made you laugh for days? What made you cry? What made you most proud? What changed the direction of your life? Keep a running list of questions and answers as you search out the final 25.

Outside of your own opinion, talk with family, friends and acquaintances to find out what they believe most stands out about your lived experience. In this essay, you should focus on including a representative variety of instances: from the funny to the tragic, the individual elements should work to create a clear vision of the whole.

Second required essay: The Fuqua community and you

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 to the development of leaders. Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, what are 3 ways you expect to contribute at Fuqua?

 Your response will be limited to 1 page (500 words maximum).

Your first step towards responding to this essay should be to do a deep dive into what Fuqua offers its student body. As you research the program and speak with alumni, take some time to record what you’re most excited about pursuing, joining, and developing, as well as what aspects of Duke’s philosophy or culture most appeal to you.

Once you’ve developed a thorough list, connect each of the points with a personal or professional experience. Since Duke wants applicants that will contribute and be of benefit to the larger Fuqua community, it would help to highlight those activities where you could go beyond simple participation; you can’t be a leader and a team player if you aren’t able to figure out where you’ll be of most use. At the same time, remember to be humble, because the admissions committee dislikes individuals who come across as arrogant, aggressive and/or overreaching.

Optional essay: Tell us more

If you feel there are 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). Note that you should NOT upload additional essays nor additional recommendations in this area. The Optional Information section is intended to provide the admissions committee with insight into your circumstances only.

 Your response will be limited to 1 page (500 words maximum).

This essay clearly states that it should only be used for explaining problematic areas in your app. So, as tempting as it might be, you shouldn’t wrench another story inside this space. On the other hand, if you do have an issue that needs clarifying, take the time to do so here. Without an explanation, Duke will have no choice but to assume the worst possible reason for a problem.

If you are explaining some sort of issue, it’s best to do so by showing how you’ve completely resolved it. Your answer should be short and to the point. Prove to Duke that, whatever the problem was that you faced originally, you’ve now analyzed it, corrected for it, and moved on.

If you’re looking for support to maximize your entry chances to this program, reach out to our Fuqua Experts. Otherwise, you can find technical info about the application process on Duke’s website.

Published On: July 20th, 2022 / Categories: Duke, Essay, MBA / Tags: , , , , /