Duke is a highly desired target school with an incredibly warm and people-oriented approach. A number of unique aspects of the MBA can help explain what that means, notably Duke’s “Team Fuqua” mentality. Indeed, Team Fuqua has a particular focus on teamwork-based leadership, which informs the entire Duke educational process. Duke seeks students who both excel professionally and have characters that will fit into this Fuqua culture. It can therefore be extremely helpful to read about Duke and connect with alumni well before you begin your application. And, if you’re planning to join Team Fuqua, be sure to check out Duke’s 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.

With only 100 words, you need to think about and streamline an arch that stretches from your past, through the MBA, and into your near future. A strategic and realisable answer will be based off of skills from past experiences, and will grow from skills that you’ll gain through an MBA. The final aspect of this question is also very interesting: What would your alternate plan be? Most MBA candidates go into programs with a certain post-MBA vision, and ultimately leave with another plan. Duke wants applicants who can realistically anticipate this possibility, and who are open to following multiple routes to reach their goals. This doesn’t mean you have to anticipate a completely different future path. It may simply mean being open to the same position in an adjacent industry. Whatever you share, make sure it links your past experiences to your short-term goals, and is an alternate that you’d be genuinely happy to pursue.

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.

In this open and personal essay, Duke wants to get a sense of your colorful personality – your struggles, your humor, your values and your accomplishments. Before jumping in, take a bit of time to reflect on  memorable moments in your life and what they could be summed up by. How do you spend your time? What cracks you up? What makes you cry? What or who are you most proud of? Has anything unexpectedly changed your life’s direction? Keep a list from which you can later select 25 facts about yourself. Alongside brainstorming alone, it can also help to talk with family, friends or acquaintances to hear what they think stands out from knowing you. Overall, keep in mind to also concentrate on listing a variety of elements – from funny to serious, from old to new – so that the whole will say more than the sum of its parts.

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).

For this essay, it is important to seriously look into what Fuqua can offer its MBA students. While researching the program or speaking to alumni, keep track of what you’re most excited about doing, learning, and sharing at Duke, as well as what aspects of Fuqua’s philosophy might appeal to you most. With a thorough list in hand, try to connect key points about what you look forward to at Duke with a personal or professional experience. The essay is ultimately asking you to focus in on three ways you’ll contribute to Fuqua, which can be in or beyond its classrooms. Duke is looking for applicants who aspire to be of benefit to Fuqua’s larger community, so it may help to highlight activities where you will be equipped to go beyond merely participating.

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 should only be used to address problematic aspects of your application. Resist trying to wrench another essay into this space, regardless of how well-written it may be. However, if you have any issues that require clarification, be sure to use this chance to explain them. Without extra information, Duke may be left to assume the worst about them in your application. When accounting for an issue in your application, it’s always best to include how you’ve learned from and rectified the problem, all while keeping explanations short and matter-of-fact. Demonstrate that, whatever the initial problem, you have analysed and corrected it, proving that it can now be moved on from.

For support addressing any and all parts of your application to Duke’s MBA, be sure to reach out to our application experts. Additionally, information about application logistics can also be found on Duke Fuqua’s MBA website.

Published On: October 27th, 2021 / Categories: Duke, Essay, MBA / Tags: , , , , /