August 22, 2023Read More
Duke Fuqua School of Business has released its MBA application deadlines and essay questions for the 2023-24 application cycle. Here are the important dates and Admitify’s guidance on the essays.
EA: Sep 7, 2023 / R1: Sep 28, 2023 / R2: Jan 9, 2024 / R3: Feb 22, 2024 / R4: Apr 4, 2024
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.
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
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.
Duke is 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
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).
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 ambitious 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).
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).
Duke is clearly asking only for explanatory or extenuating circumstance material here: “unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance.” Their language (“you should NOT,” “insight into your circumstances only”) makes abundantly clear that they do not want you to share another accomplishment or community involvement or hobby. Sorry.