July 26, 2022

Duke Fuqua Essay Tips

Duke Fuqua has released their application deadlines and essay questions for the 2022-23 application cycle. Here are the important dates and Admitify’s guidance on the required essays.




Early Action

Round 1Round 2Round 3

Application Deadline

7 September 202226 September 20225 January 202328 March 2023

Interview Decision

22 September 202226 October 20221 February 2023

12 April 2023

Final Decision

20 October 20228 December 202210 March 2023

2 May 2023


Required short-answer essay question: What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first-choice career plan and your alternate plan.

Instructions: Answer the following question in 100 words.


Admitify Guidance

Given the word limit here, cut to the chase from the first sentence and state your long-term goals as concretely and specifically as you can. I recommend starting with your big-picture, change-the-world long-term goal because it should be the inspirational high-impact mission that’s driving you to business school. If that dream goal turns out not to be possible, what is your backup path toward fulfilling that mission?  State roles and even specific job titles; state organization types but also specific examples of those organizations. If you have space to mention actual people who are doing what you want to do, then go for it, especially if they have Duke MBAs and/or you actually reached out to them to learn about their careers. After stating your long-term goal, backfill the short-term goals (plan A and plan B), again mentioning specific job titles and organization names if you can. If you have space state what skills the short-term goals will give you that will make the long-term goals more achievable.


First required essay: 25 random things about yourself: Please share with us “25 Random Things” about you.

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.  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.


Admitify Guidance

Duke us helpfully explaining exactly what they want and don’t want here. Yes, to important life experiences, your hobbies, achievements, fun facts; no to professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. Follow their guidance and check out the sample responses on Duke’s website. You’ll see that good responses have tons of personality and show the respondents’ fun side and humility – the facts that show that the respondent is someone future classmates will enjoy being around and learning with. Lean on the ‘fun fact’ side of you with details/stories that will make the reader smile or see you as a real person with foibles and kooky interests. This doesn’t mean you can’t share some personal, even heavy, life facts but keep the tone positive/upbeat (if you share something difficult, mention how you grew from it).  Aim for variety – show them as many different sides of you as you can; don’t worry about chronological order or any kind of order at all. Try to keep the reader’s interest by mixing up the fun facts, so they are continually learning new, interesting things about you. It’s OK if some of your fun facts show that you like to do some things solo, but remember Duke’s team culture and be sure your fun facts show you as a people person who enjoys groups.


Second required essay: The Fuqua community and you. Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, what are 3 ways you expect to contribute at Fuqua?

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. 

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


Admitify Guidance

Duke is giving you so much space here that you will find it difficult to BS around 3 potential contributions; you will have to drill down on your 3 potential contributions and offer substantive ideas. Start with the non-academic interests that most define you. Visit Duke’s website and speak with Duke people to find activities (not necessarily only student clubs) that best align with your 3 main non-academic interests. (note that Duke’s prompt makes clear that they like leadership and social impact; take the hint).  Here’s the hard part: don’t just say ‘I will be an active member of the Blue Devils cheerleading squad’ – joining a club or activity isn’t a contribution. You need to do research around the club or activity (perhaps find the club’s website and reach out to one of its officers with questions). What does this club/activity actually do now? Given your knowledge of this activity (remember, you’re only talking about clubs/activities that you already have a demonstrated affinity toward), where could you add value? What new directions or events or initiatives might you launch to break new ground? How might that new initiative look? How specifically might you go about pursuing that new direction? Put some meat on the bones of your potential ‘contribution’; do your best to ensure that your idea is doable and hasn’t already been tried, but don’t worry if your idea comes across as too ambition or unrealistic. The point is to show Duke that you have thought about your contribution and you are full of ideas (and because your 3 contributions are only activities that you already have a passion for your ideas are savvy and specific).


Check back each week for more essay tips. Round 1 is just around the corner – contact us now and speak with one of our expert coaches!