Duke MBA Application Essays for 2019-20
Required short-answer essay question
For each question, respond in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).
1. Why is pursuing an MBA the right next step for you?
2. What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first choice career plan and your alternate plan.
First Required Essay : 25 Random Things about yourself
Second required essay: The Fuqua community and you. Tell us more
Duke Fuqua MBA Winning Sample Essays – 1
Duke Fuqua Essay 1: Share with us your list of “25 Random Things” about YOU
1. I am right handed but I taught myself to write with my left hand as well, simply because being called ambidextrous sounded cool.
2. Fine gourmet food and street food – I love them both equally. I am a self proclaimed food connoisseur.
3. My favorite hobby is to edit and enhance 3D renderings. I enjoy working with lighting, brush strokes, frames, etc.
4. I am a fitness freak and I enjoy outdoor activities. Recently, I went para-gliding in Koh Phagnan in Thailand, and snorkeling in Vietnam.
5. Although people tell me I sing well in public, my best impression of Whitney Houston only comes when I’m driving or in the shower.
6. My grandfather passed away unexpectedly one morning in 2009 and my biggest regret in life is not visiting him the previous night due to some (now silly) work assignment.
7. I play a mean game of tennis. While on holiday, I practice regularly with my mom.
8. Since my parents are entrepreneurs, growing up we never had the time to take many family vacations. I’ve always wanted to travel the world. Someday.
9. I became a vegan by choice over 8 years ago, only because I got bored of eating meat one fine day I recently got back to eating it just to increase my protein intake but I still stick to vegetarian food mostly.
10. I’ve played many strong characters in plays and skits in school, college and church festivals, such as Penelope, Ella Fitzgerald, Queen Mary, and Jane Austin.
11. I’m a certified grade 5 piano player. I also try my hand at the drums occasionally.
12. In a parallel universe, I’d be a lifestyle consultant, because I love giving advise. A little improvement goes a long way!
13. My family owned 5 elephants in Chiang Mai province, Thailand and I’ve fond memories of my childhood riding them in the rubber plantations. I’ve even fed eggs to a king cobra once.
14. I am agoraphobic and generally afraid of crowds but the World Cup is definitely on my bucket list.
15. My mom is my role model and she has taught me all of life’s lessons during what we now fondly call our “couch sessions” and I miss them. After high school, there have been times when I thought that I’ve outgrown the “couch sessions” but you never stop learning and the right guidance is forever priceless.
16. I have a great memory for remembering names (not matching them with faces though) and acronyms.
17. My brother and I were arch enemies when we were small but as we grew older, we got really close. Discovering that he wrote her national award winning essay on me as his role model was a speechless and truly touching moment for me.
18. I am irritatingly punctual and I expect the rest of the world to follow suit.
19. When I was asked to fill up a medical form in 4th grade in school, I listed my allergies as “work” and emergency contact as “doctor” – pretty clever, huh?
20. I think you can tell more about a person by who they keep in their imaginary audience and friends than you can by any other means.
21. I believe appearance and actions speak louder than words – your stance, confidence and carriage can create lifelong impressions at first glance.
22. I can make alphabets out of origami!
23. I am super organized. I run through my lists in my head even in my sleep!
24. My childhood dream was to either be a politician or a midwife.
25. I love puzzles and mind games! I have a ton of them at home. Its just another reason to never sit idle.
26. I am a firm believer in the God Almighty – “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Tim 2:15)
27. Last year on Independence Day, I was attending the flag hoisting ceremony at GVTI’s local School, when a little boy walked up to me and gave me a small lapel pin of the Thai flag. While pinning it on, I smiled, thanked him and asked him where his was, upon which he replied that they were each given only one and he wanted to give shiny new pin to me. I was so moved by his love! I wore the same pin to this year’s ceremony and saw him beaming when he noticed it.
28. Once a month, a few of the wives, mothers and other women from Intel Connected Women gather to cook a themed lunch and watch Master Chef. I find this a brilliant opportunity to connect with them, share recipes and show off some of my cooking skills!
29. I love surfing and I was thrilled to ride the fastest surfing beach in the world, at Bali’s Kuta Beach. 3 times!
30. I collect vases. My collection ranges from utilitarian antiques to tall slender urns.
31. I love watching anti-war themed movies. Some of my favourite ones are Saving Private Ryan, Jar Head and Life is Beautiful.
32. I love everything about Qatar – the people, their culture, the city’s landscape architecture, the rapid advancement in the last few years and so much more.
Duke Fuqua Essay 2: Describe your vision for your career and your inspiration for pursuing this career path.
My motivation to decrease our country’s dependence on oil, especially foreign oil, began as a result of my first deployment to Iraq in March of 2004.It was on this deployment that I understood, and saw first hand, the amount of wealth our nation was sending to the Middle East in an effort to satisfy our oil-based energy needs. From the coast of Kuwait to the streets of Baghdad, there were several realizations that motivated me to make a considerable effort in the future to better understand energy, how it is developed and used, and how we could begin to move away from foreign oil.
For example, any person traveling a main thoroughfare in and around Baghdad could purchase, from a dealer or small supply stack distributor on the side of the street, enough unleaded fuel to fill up their vehicle for the equivalent of what was one dollar. I also understood the amount of wealth surging into the more developed areas of the Middle East, from my soldiers’ stories upon returning from their quick R&R trips to Doha or Dubai. The pictures they painted, of numerous building cranes at work and ongoing construction projects, were of local economies in little need of financial assistance.
Over time, especially with the downturn of the global economy, I began to ask questions – Why can’t we keep more of that wealth for our own economic needs? Why should we be sending this wealth only to oil-export nations? Our nation’s dependence on foreign oil was much too high then, and hasn’t improved much since 2004. Therefore, upon leaving the military in 2008, I joined an energy company, which was the number two overall producer of natural gas in the U.S., as my first step towards helping to decrease U.S. foreign oil dependency.
Over recent years, the U.S. has been making a significant effort to find a sustainable, viable, and efficient alternative fuel source. One example is natural gas – a cleaner, sustainable, and more economically-viable fuel than oil, and which currently accounts for approximately 25% of the U.S.’s overall energy consumption. However, our commitment as a global partner to advance the use of cleaner energy is not yet sufficient, and our national energy focus remains on foreign oil, rather than other available, feasible energy sources.
I hope to influence this change by joining the collaborative and innovative MBA culture at Fuqua, where I can begin this new journey of becoming a future leader of energy focus on a global scale. In the short term, I hope to become a Finance Associate at an alternative-based energy company, such as Schott Solar, Inc, or in alternative energy division at a larger company, such as Chevron. I could even return to my company in the Finance group, because I want to join a company that is devoted to truly developing an alternative to cleaner, non-oil based energy sources. In my new position, I plan to gain perspective on the economic objectives and scope of applying our alternative energy options.
Additionally, I will learn the basics of the company’s operations, research and development program, and production capabilities. I will need the understanding of these operational fundamentals in order to comprehend how to take the first steps to improve the company in areas that could affect our financial outlook. There will be much to learn from not only the financial side of whatever company I join, but also the actual energy focus of the company and how it intends to implement its energy plan in the near future. Hopefully, I will be able to contribute to the future successful marketability and sustainability of our alternative energy in an efficient and timely manner. In the long term, I hope to move up within the organization I join and effect change on a larger scale as the VP of Energy Development. This position should provide me the opportunities to continue to not only push our group to find, evaluate, and pursue an economically-viable energy source, but to influence other energy companies to take a look at an alternative to oil-based energy sources.
Additionally, I would focus on communicating with government officials in the energy policy arena about our products and their applications in order to garner more support for these alternative energy sources. This continued communication effort would allow for our company to prove how our energy source could be applied in an economically and environmentally friendly manner. Initially, these efforts will take time, but after several years of operating in this Energy Development position, our team will be able take even more risks in finding feasible applications for our alternative energy products. Our development team will also work with different industries and sectors where we think our energy application best suits their business. For example, our blended fuel or more powerful solar panel may be better suited to large-haul trucks as opposed to passenger vehicles, so we would move our efforts to work with companies such as JB Hunt Trucking or ABF Freight to focus on improving their fuel usage plan. Hopefully, these efforts will gain enough momentum that our proved alternative energy source, combined with a practical application, could allow other third-party companies to truly understand the economic and environmental advantages to using non-oil based energy sources. Eventually, I hope to be in a position of impact that will enable us to employ our tested and refined source on a larger scale. My ultimate vision in this pursuit is to keep funds that would otherwise be used to import oil to be used to improve our national economic position with respect to energy dependence. Eventually, I want to allow for outside influence and recruitment of other industries where our alternative/renewable energy applications are most feasible and best suited both economically and environmentally.
It will only be through this comprehensive and collaborative effort across varied companies that we can achieve our goal of finding applications where alternative energy sources will replace foreign oil. Once we have gained another foothold in improving the economics of our future energy needs, in a more environmentally-approachable fashion, we can begin pursuing international partners in this effort to help prepare other nations that are looking for an alternative to an oil-based energy policy.
Duke Fuqua MBA Winning Sample Essays – 2
Duke Fuqua Essay 1: Individuals choose a business school for many different reasons. Through your research, what attributes or characteristics of The Duke MBA program have most resonated with you and why? How do you plan to contribute to the strengthening and enhancement of those attributes and characteristics during your time at Duke and beyond?
In today’s global and competitive business environment, managers are continuously challenged to stay ahead of the game. To achieve that, they are required to be jacks of all trades, rather than aces of one. As such, I believe I have much to contribute from my diverse work and personal experience, and I believe I have the team-player personality to do it. In this context, one of the things I like most about Duke is the embrace of collaborative leadership and teamwork. I feel this is an ideal setting for sharing with and learning from others.
My teamwork skills started to develop alongside my competitiveness when I played Volleyball and Handball professionally in high-school. They were refined while I served as an instructor in the Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) Flight School in the military. There, I collaborated with a team of 6 other flight instructors and technical experts, with the goal of turning 30 soldiers into certified UAV operators within one year. Since then, I find teamwork to be one of the most important skills needed to succeed in every position I filled. For instance, as a project leader and senior consultant at Oracle, leading implementations of enterprise-wide systems required the cooperation of up to 15 IT experts, business managers, and Oracle consultants.
First, I plan to contribute to my peers by sharing my diverse professional experience in the software applications industry. I have filled a range of positions in system architecture, consulting, pre-sale, project management, product management, and marketing. Furthermore, taking for example my current position, I am positioned on the intersection between our executive management, development teams, sales teams, and customers. I gained the skill to understand both the big picture, and the specific challenges and interests of each discipline. This assisted me in leading innovative projects such as launching our company website, rebranding our product, and defining our flagship module for the next product version. My work experience with various types of organizations will also enable me to contribute diverse knowledge. I have worked for small startups as well as for large corporations. Another aspect I will contribute in is my international experience. I love to travel and be exposed to new cultures, sceneries, and wildlife. Overall I have been to 23 countries all over the world.
I believe that my international experience will help me contribute socially, in interacting with and building friendships within an international student body. I look forward to making other students feel welcome and comfortable around me. Moreover, my international experience also helped me overcome cultural barriers while managing global projects and interacting with international customers. For example, while working as a UAV test pilot and system architect for a large aircraft manufacturer, I leveraged the knowledge and cultural sensitivity gained during my 6-month trip to South America. While presenting the system to a South American customer delegation, I was able both to explain the system better, and to establish good personal connections, which assisted in closing this multi-million dollar deal.
Duke Fuqua Essay 2: How will your background, values, and non-work activities enhance the experience of other Duke MBA students and add value to Fuqua’s diverse culture?
My background has allowed me many opportunities to be involved with diverse people and situations, where my values were different from others and my opinions did not fall in line with the majority. From my first summer job as a teen, to meeting with Sheiks in Iraq and facilitating group changes at the company I worked for, I believe that the lessons I obtained from these experiences, through which I grew significantly as a person, would definitely add value my fellow MBA students at Fuqua and contribute to the Fuqua community and culture. My first moment of true responsibility occurred when I was a young teenager, and my parents decided it was time for me to get a job and earn a little money.
A local self-storage facility was looking for someone to clean their storage doors, all 500 of them, for about $4.00 an hour. I worked eight hours a day, Monday through Friday, for what seemed like years, in the hot Memphis sun, cleaning every door from top to bottom until all 500 were completely clean. Believe me, those doors had more mildew and grime than any door I have seen to this day. Yet it was at this storage facility that I not only learned the value of hard work, but also taught myself how to create my own budget, to allocate the money I earned. I bought my first stereo soon after finishing that job, and by living according to the budget I created, several years later bought my own car, purchasing my own gas, insurance, and clothes for high school. I continue to value hard work, following a budget and overall self-reliance to this day. These simple lessons could enhance the culture at Fuqua in an ethics class or case method discussion based on integrity or leadership decisions based on moral principles.
Additionally, I might be able to push my teammates to work a little harder or longer when the time arises. Some years later, I found myself at the first “leader engagement” of my first deployment, with a Sheik nonetheless, and what seemed like his entire known family and friends. I spoke a different language, wore very different clothing, and even sat differently than anyone else present. Sitting uncomfortably in the Sheik’s living room, the only person in the room I had any connection with was our Iraqi interpreter. We were there because my platoon’s initial attempts to bring farming supplies and equipment to the local people had failed, turning into a mad grab for what was needed, rather than an organized distribution, and we needed the Sheik’s help to turn things around. From our first conversation, I quickly realized that my normal meeting etiquette and conversation customs would be of little use. Over time, at each of our meetings, I began to pick up the Sheik’s meaning based on his tone of voice, and began to rely more on non-verbal communication, like the shrug of a shoulder, even after my proficiency in Arabic had improved.
Soon I could determine the Sheik’s response even before it was translated. I also learned to recognize the different norms and traditions within this culture and apply them in our interactions. Meanwhile, my team helped the local famers in the community to create a sound and organized plan, their trust in us increasing as my relationship with the Sheik grew. All of these meetings and the growing bond eventually allowed the farmers to become sustainable and economically viable in a relatively short amount of time. I feel that this experience would be extremely beneficial at Fuqua in our group meetings and classroom environments, where different communication customs or habits might hinder others from getting their point across. Effective communication is one of the most important aspects in any business action, and I hope to enhance that aspect both in and out of the classroom at Fuqua. I also believe that those lessons I learned in my international experience would allow me to bring one more perspective to Fuqua’s already diverse culture. There is an extremely delicate balance with the respect to values and what is right or wrong when you are immersed in an entirely different environment. I understand that balance, and I would be able to share those lessons I learned in my experiences with others on Day 1 at Fuqua. In addition, as a day-to-day platoon leader, I could help my fellow study group partners analyze complex negotiation case studies and contribute to varied project planning discussions.
Further along, I feel that I could contribute significantly to other Fuqua MBAs interested in participating in the GATE program. I hope that my understanding of diverse communication and varied backgrounds in an extremely dynamic setting would help others better understand the different business environments or dissimilar groups we might encounter. Recently, my experience at the Energy I worked for has also allowed for me to use my value set to make a significant impact. Prior to my arrival as the Production Manager, it was common knowledge that the specified directions or course of action to improve production numbers, given by my predecessor, were to be followed without question. I decided to change this custom.
Thus, every time there was a question raised concerning a troubleshooting method or a technique required to solve a problem, I would ask the questioner what he or she recommended in order to solve the problem. I would not dictate what needed to be done solely on what I thought was correct. This not only forced them to come up with possible solutions to their issues, but also allowed for open creativity and new ideas amongst our team. We shared these best practices on a regular basis in our weekly team meetings, and it resulted in a net ten percent increase in our production volume. This joint effort in understanding differing problem solving approaches reminded our team that individual input is paramount in overcoming obstacles and achieving our production goals. This change was not easy. Only after my team felt completely safe to voice their opinions and provide input was this change in how we sought to improve our production numbers achieved. At Fuqua, I could impart some new best practices I have learned, from both a developmental and a sustainability standpoint, into the many inter-disciplinary settings at the Duke EDGE Center. I feel that my recent group experiences at the company could definitely help others within the center create workable solutions to the energy problems we face, regardless of the setting or sustainability problem we approach.
Listening to others and allowing everyone to provide feedback is vital to solving such tough issues as energy sustainability and environmental impact. I might even be able to provide a supporting perspective to other Energy MBAs on those subjects that some students might not understand due to my background in the industry. Or, there might be subjects or ideas presented by key speakers where I would be able to provide first-hand knowledge of the successes or failures I experienced working in the Barnett Shale. Whether it be a Mentored Study Project that focuses on the efficiency of a clean-tech invention and how it affects the environment, or the Duke Startup Challenge, where our group pitches a new renewable energy-based business plan to industry leaders, I feel that my experiences in both teamwork and communication could greatly benefit the not only the EDGE center, but also my all fellow MBA students at Fuqua.
Duke Fuqua Essay 3: Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, how do you see yourself engaging in and contributing to our community, outside of the classroom?
There are many ways in which I hope to contribute to the Duke community, as a student in the MBA program. First of all, I am eager to play a strong role in my first-year Consequential Leadership (C-LEAD) team. While enhancing my collaboration skills, I envision bringing both my experience as an Air Force team leader, leading a squad of soldiers who specialized in advanced tactical communication equipment; and as a product development engineer, a role in which I collaborated with engineers from different countries. I believe that these roles have combined to provide me unique insight that can benefit my teammates.
As my short-term career goal is to become a product manager in the Internet of Things (IoT Tech), I plan to take on a leadership role in the Tech Club, and to become involved in several activities within the auspices of the club. First, I plan to leverage Duke’s location in the Triangle area to create events focused on the field of IoT, such as “Tech Talks.” Among our guests could be industry experts, such as Kevin Ashton, who not only cofounded the Auto-ID Center at MIT but actually coined the phrase “the Internet of Things.” This will allow my classmates and I to deepen our knowledge of this emergent and fast-growing field that will affect the way we work, connect and live in the future. I plan to leverage my connections at my current employer, which has two branches in Raleigh, to bring experts from the company to talk in the school as well; an opportunity for students to both gain knowledge and meet a potential employer. Also under the auspices of the tech club, I believe I can help the students who are interested in a career in high tech to gain additional exposure to the field. Towards this end, I plan to organize a tech trek to Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area through “Week-in-Cities,” as well as to arrange company visits to conglomerates such as Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM and Microsoft. Furthermore, I envision using my experience at my current employer, where I interviewed potential hires, to help fellow students applying for positions in the field of technology prepare for their interviews. I will definitely seek to be an active organizer of the Annual Fuqua Startup Nation event. There my fellow classmates can hear stories of the various stakeholders who are responsible for making my country one of the largest global innovation hubs. We will bring notable speakers from startup companies based in the US, which will be a fantastic networking opportunity in which students will gain exposure to internship and fulltime employment opportunities. One of, if not the, most meaningful volunteer activity I was involved with in my life was volunteering to design a volunteer program at my current employer, which was targeted to improve involvement of high school students from weak areas/cities such as the city where I grew up in, in the STEM fields. The idea was to gather a group of motivated engineers who would help these students to improve their English and mathematical skills, as well as to mentor the more dedicated students to enter and compete in regional and national competitions, in which contestants built drones to compete with other teams, and the national Cyber competition, sponsored by the Ministry of Education.
The latter was a competition that increased students’ knowledge of coding and – more importantly – taught them the importance of meeting challenges as a group. One of my teams even reached the finals in this event. At Duke, I plan to apply these skills by organizing programs through the Net Impact, to support local high schools by organizing a group of Fuqua students to teach courses about Technology and entrepreneurship. From speaking to current students and alumni, I am looking forward to take part in the activities Duke has to offer besides the professional clubs. One example of this is snowboarding, a hobby I’ve loved for the past 5 years, as much for the après ski at the end of the day as for the thrill of soaring down mountains at lightning speed. I’ve traveled each winter to Europe for snowboarding, and I’m excited to experience the annual winter ski trips from Duke, and the annual 80s party at the summit. Furthermore, because I did not attend a sport-dominated school and am not familiar with basketball culture, I eagerly look forward to the traditional “Camp out” event I have heard so much about, seeing Coach K, forming a team with my classmates, renting equipment, and participating in the activities. I am sure we will survive for those 36 hours and get those seasonal passes. For all of these reasons, I am confident that Duke is the best program to support my future goals while giving me the personal fulfillment to contribute to the society and my classmates by being a part of Team Fuqua.
Duke Fuqua Essay 3: When asked by your family, friends, and colleagues why you want to go to Duke, what do you tell them? Share the reasons that are most meaningful to you. (Your response to either essay question should be no more than 2 pages in length. Please respond fully and concisely using 1.5 line spacing)
I grew up in a family of doctors and entrepreneurs. My grandmother is a doctor with extensive knowledge of Chinese traditional medicine who established the first clinic in her village. My uncle started his nutritional supplement company from scratch the year I was born. With a current annual revenue of 500 million USD, the company is now a leading provider of bulk vitamins, nutritional products and pharmaceuticals in China. It was through his business partner, the chairman of RSW, that I first became acquainted with the idea of “hidden hunger.” I learned from him that one in three people in the world suffer from this micronutrient deficiency, which can lead to mental impairment, poor health and low productivity. My aspiration is to do my part to improve the people’s health and follow the footsteps of my grandmother and father in devoting myself to the health industry. My goal is to lead and expand my family’s business overseas, manufacturing and marketing innovative and affordable health and nutrition products for people in developing countries.
My parents often discuss my future plans with me, and I explain to them that I am not prepared to transition into this role yet. Even though I’ve gained operations and financial knowledge through working in Deloitte Consulting and investment banking, I still need general management skills in the health and life-sciences industry, more strategic thinking ability and an empowering network with strong industry connections to leverage, none of which I’ve fully been exposed to in my career. Therefore, I am looking for a top-notch MBA education to bridge my skill gaps. At Fuqua, I will attain the best combination of business and health industry educations. The HSM program will be particularly valuable for me because it prepares students for management and leadership roles within the health industry. I will benefit from the program’s close connection with industry giants like Merck, Pfizer and Eli Lily, which will offer me abundant pharmaceutical learning resources through company visits and hearing speeches from management.
I will learn first-hand the most advanced corporate strategies and operational frameworks to apply to my family’s business to optimize its internal processes and expansion strategies. By getting industry-specific skills that I can only obtain from HSM coursework, I will be better prepared to lead my family-owned enterprises. I’m also looking forward to enhancing my global perspective through the Global Academic Travel Experience (GATE), as it will take me to my targeted areas for expansion: South Asia and Latin America. Visits to these regions will help me get an idea of the local health industry market and what products will most likely succeed. I will also learn possible ways to market and distribute my family’s products. I believe that an applied learning experience like this is especially critical for me as a young professional seeking to make a big transition into her family business. My father often talked about the importance of having a strong network to successfully lead a privately owned enterprise. Fuqua’s close proximity to the Research Triangle Park will get me access to entrepreneurs and executives in my targeted industry. Post-MBA, I’ll have the foundation not only to recruit talent, but also to access innovative ideas to refine business strategies and optimize operations for a pharmaceutical enterprise through Fuqua’s elite alumni network. Furthermore, I am impressed by the Team Fuqua Spirit. My experience as a consultant taught me that teamwork is an absolutely indispensable part of success. In Fuqua’s info session in Singapore, I talked to Wendy Tang and her husband, Jason Hsu, both graduates of Fuqua who are now leading their family’s healthcare business. They told me that the close-knit community is what they like the most. The unparalleled devotion of Fuqua alumni to their alma mater and their willingness to assist prospective students truly show that Fuqua is a very special place. There are also many personal reasons I’d like to attend Fuqua. I want to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity to build houses for the Durham local community. I want to participate in the Fuqua MBA Wine Club, so I can share some of the best wines my family has collected with my classmates and professors.
I’d love to hike in the Blue Ridge Mountains again, an activity I enjoyed most on crisp, colorful autumn days while an undergraduate at the University of Virginia. As I consider the network, credentials and skills to achieve my long-term career aspirations, the Fuqua School of Business is exactly where I want to be. I look forward to being at Fuqua next year and am confident I will be a valuable addition to the community.
Duke MBA Application Essay Tips
Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business is a community oriented program seeking a diverse class of accomplished students. Admissions director Shari Hubert has written some excellent blog posts about what they look for in the Duke Fuqua application process. As Hubert wrote in December 2017, “This place is truly special. It wasn’t long after joining Fuqua in October that I came to that realization, and every day I continue to encounter things that affirm it. … I’ve been struck by how real and authentic everyone is, and getting to know my colleagues and our students has been one of the most enjoyable parts of my job so far.” For the Duke MBA essays, communicate who you are and why you should join Team Fuqua. Starting your research and personal networking now will help you prepare the most effective essays for your Duke Fuqua application.
Required short-answer essay question
For each question, respond in 500 characters only (the equivalent of about 100 words).
1. Why is pursuing an MBA the right next step for you?
2. What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first choice career plan and your alternate plan.
This career goals essay asks for your plan for an MBA and your future career goals in this two-part question. Because both parts should fit together, think big picture and focus on the overall story trajectory. What would be the most logical (and interesting) progression from your current skill set to a Duke MBA? How will your next step flow from the combination of your MBA and your past experiences? The career goals essay is about your ability to assess your background and plan your future. It’s not a promise you are required to fulfill.
As you consider your alternative path, think about plans that fit with your background and goals. Also, show what you could explore if your first plan doesn’t work out. Flexibility is useful in a changing world, and useful for these short-answer Duke MBA essays.For example, you could be focused on becoming a marketing executive in the consumer packaged goods industry.
Therefore, you might be interested in a company like General Mills. If you don’t find the right job in that industry after Duke, maybe you would consider marketing for a retailer, such as Target. This could be an alternate career path because it allows you to develop a marketing career as well, just in a different industry. Or, you may have two separate interests and want to consider both of them. Your Plan A is to join a strategy consulting firm after graduation. However, if you don’t receive a job at your top choice firm you would think about co-founding a start up as another possible path. Think about your range of interests and go from there. Because you have limited space in these Duke MBA essays, boil your plans down to a clear statement. Any plans for an MBA and career goals you discuss should be supported by the information provided in your resume, recommendations, and other essays. In particular, Duke Fuqua should be a clear training ground for your future career.
First Required Essay : 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.
This Duke MBA essay is entirely open-ended. As a result, you can cover your personal background, work experiences, values and hobbies. If you have a particularly interesting story, this is the place to tell that story. Make sure that any topics that are personal are also relevant to your Duke Fuqua application. Director Hubert has posted her own 25 random things, including items from her famous aunt to her love of vegetables. This list shows her personality and also ranges from the serious to the frivolous. Consider that range as you compose your own list. Coming up with 25 random things to list in this essay may seem daunting at first. To jump-start your creative process you may want to brainstorm with friends and family about what is most interesting and memorable about you. Or keep a notebook with you to record ideas as you go about your activities. Once you have 25 random things, how do you structure your list? There’s a few possible ways: chronologically, chunking the list into themes, or even alphabetically.
You could organize the list so that it builds from shorter to longer items. Another idea is to intersperse some of the 25 random things that require a paragraph explanation between sets of things that are easy to understand in one sentence. Structuring the list to make it easy to read and follow will be appreciated. But, resist the urge to package the list too perfectly. Content is always the most important factor in these Duke MBA essays. Also, remember that the main point of this essay is to show Fuqua your personality, and interests. This makes the essay a crucial part of your overall Duke Fuqua application.
Second required essay: 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? In your application, be very specific about why Team Fuqua is the right place for you. The best Duke MBA essays will be personal, while demonstrating you have done your homework on Fuqua. Everyone benefits from a diverse alumni network, but what specifically do you want to give and receive from your classmates?
Describe clubs and classes you want to join at Fuqua. Also, offer specific examples from your past experiences to show your consistent passions.
Your fit with the program is crucial to this Duke Fuqua application. In addition, it will be ideal to show the personal qualities that Duke Fuqua prizes. The Duke MBA program is especially interested in your role within the community. Community involvement has significant weight in your Duke Fuqua application. If you research thoroughly, you should be able to show you will be a strong contributor to Team Fuqua. This essay can also be a place to talk about how the Duke MBA fits into your career goals. What do you know now that will be enhanced through your Fuqua MBA education? And what crucial aspects of the skill set required for your future career will be augmented by attending Duke? However, the main focus should be your community involvement. Think about how you plan to improve the experience of others at Duke.
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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. The Admissions committee at Fuqua asks that you use this space only to explain extenuating circumstances. So, don’t use this essay just to add new information to your Duke Fuqua application. If you have a low GPA, lack a recommendation from your current supervisor or have gaps in work history this is the place to address it. If you do not have any of those areas to explain, skip the question and focus on the other essays. When approaching any concerns about your background in the optional essay it’s important to show that your recent performance, whether academic or professional, has demonstrated recovery from the issues of the past. Your goal is to remove questions from your application. To do that, address any information the admissions committee needs to know to evaluate your application. In a factual and positive manner, write that you know there could be questions about your background, but you have thoroughly improved in any areas necessary. That will be the best way to show you are now ready to contribute to the program at Duke Fuqua.