Category Archives: Fuqua

Duke (Fuqua) Admissions Essays for 2012-2013

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has released its MBA application essays and deadlines for the Class of 2015. Like most other top-ranked business schools, Fuqua has made some pretty substantial changes to its essays this year, including the introduction of a “25 things” list that we think is pretty interesting. And now, here is a look at Fuqua’s admissions essays for this season:

Duke (Fuqua) Admissions Essays

Required Short Answer Questions (Just 250 Characters Each)

  1. What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?
  2. What are your long-term goals?
  3. Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?
  4. Business schools are really into counting characters (rather than words) these days, huh? The three above short answers should add up to only about 150 words, if it’s easier for you to think about them that way. Re-read that blog post by the Fuqua admissions team… For these short answers, they really are just looking for the facts. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put any thought into these responses, but rather that they’re looking for less hand-waving and “big picture”-speak and for more headlines to help them quickly get a read on why you’re even applying to Fuqua in the first place. Think of this as your chance to make the admissions team’s job a little easier… Rather than having to sort through your application essays to figure out why you’re applying, you’re spelling it out in three bold “can’t miss” headlines. One more thought: Many applicants consider the third question to be a curve ball, but this sort of adaptability is important to show. No one knows how exactly their career will unfold, and with this question Fuqua wants to see if you “get” that idea and have at least thought through some alternatives.

Required Essays

  1. The “Team Fuqua” spirit and community is one of the things that sets The Duke MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that 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.

    Please 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 2 pages.

    This is one of the most unique “essay” prompts we have seen come along in years! We suspect that many applicants may not like this new prompt since it’s so far “out there” and different from what else is out there. While this shouldn’t be a completely frivolous list, it also should not simply rehash what else is in your application. Seemingly random facts such as “I once roadtripped with a friend and visited two dozen baseball stadiums” are interesting and reveal something about you, whether you realize it or not. We have seem some advice out there that tells applicants that all 25 items must be “unique” and “ownable,” but it would be a mistake to apply that rule to all 25 items. If the favorite part of your week is spending a couple of hours on Sunday morning reading the paper, then it would be crazy for that not to make it into this list, whether or not other applicants might possibly say the same thing. For us, a good rule of thumb is that approximately half of this list should reinforce your application themes (which you should have nailed down long before drafting this list), and the other half can be more “fun”… Don’t run the risk of putting the admissions committee to sleep with your list. Finally, take a look at the examples that Fuqua admissions officers have posted about themselves!
  2. 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 this essay question should be no more than 2 pages in length. Please respond fully and concisely using 1.5 line spacing.

    While the “25 things” question will generate more buzz, we actually think this is the response the Duke admissions team may pay more attention to. The purpose of this question is really to assess your fit with the school. Last year the school simply asked, “Why Duke?” in an essay, and this year the admissions committee will try a new approach, but it’s still about fit: This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you have really researched the program, understand its culture, and really want to spend the rest of your life as a member of the Fuqua community. Some pragmatic components to your response are totally fine — it has strong ties to the health care industry, or has a specific research center that interests you, for instance. That’s a completely real, honest response. But the school wants you to go beyond rattling off lists of professor and course names from its website and convince them that you will be eager to attend Fuqua if you’re admitted.

To stay on top on all of the latest news from Fuqua and other top-ranked business schools, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Get to Know: Fuqua School of Business

Given the Fuqua School of Business’s tight-knit culture, growing global footprint, and strength in academic areas such as marketing, it’s no surprise that it attracts so mnay top-flight applicants every year. We are often surprised, however, by how many applicants apply to Duke without understanding the school and knowing whether or not it’s a good fit for them. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they start crafting their Duke applications.

Today we present five reasons why Fuqua may be a great place for you to spend two years as an MBA student:

You’ve got some work experience under your belt
Fuqua traditionally prefers that students in the Daytime MBA have about five years of work experience, though there is some flexibility on this requirement for stellar candidates.

You’re a less experienced candidate
The MMS degree is a great option for those coming straight from college, and the Cross-Continent MBA also sometimes accepts students with a little less work experience (though some years of work experience — and a current job — are definitely required).

You want to go into energy, including green energy
Whether you want to go into investment banking or become a sell-side commodities analyst, or you want to push innovations in alternative energy, or you care about sustainability in business, Duke is increasing its attentions in these critical areas and could be a great choice to launch or reposition your career.

You want to go into healthcare
There are few other programs with anything like the depth and breadth of healthcare management available at Duke. For those looking to accelerate their progression in an existing career or someone interested in transitioning over to hospital management, clinical outcomes, or the payer side, Duke’s Health Sector Management MBA and the other educational options are hard to beat.

You want a truly unique international MBA education
The Cross-Continent and the Global Executive tracks are both in a class of their own in terms of providing immersive opportunities with an exceptionally diverse cohort. If your career has already put you in the international arena, these are definitely worth investigating. Duke’s focus on global business is evident across all the school and makes the North Carolina campus more diverse than might be expected.

To stay on top on all of the latest news and analysis of Fuqua admissions, be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Duke Fuqua Admissions Essays for 2011-2012

Today we dig into the Fuqua School of Business’ application. There are very few changes this year, so our advice remains mostly unchanged:

Duke (Fuqua) Application Deadlines
Early Action: September 29, 2011
Round 1: November 1, 2011
Round 2: January 4, 2012
Round 3: March 8, 2012

These deadlines are virtually the same as last year’s. Note that, while most schools use the term “Early Action” to indicate that the decision is non-binding, Fuqua considers it to be binding. So, we only recommend applying in this round if you’re 100% certain that you want to attend Fuqua. If you’re waiting to hear back from some other schools before applying to Fuqua in Round 2, you’ll need to at least get the ball rolling on your Fuqua application before you know your fate at those other schools, since you won’t have a lot of time between mid-December and Duke’s January 4 deadline. Duke’s Round 3 deadline is the same as it was last year.

Duke (Fuqua) Application Essays

  1. Describe your vision for your career and your inspiration for pursuing this career path.

    This question carries over unchanged from last year, as do all Fuqua’s other two essays. Overall, your approach to this question will be very similar to your approach to other “Why an MBA?” / career goals questions. While you should save the “Why Duke?” material for Question #3, be as specific as possible about how you see your career progressing over the next ten to twenty years. Do you want to dive right into industry and get your hands dirty? Learn as part of a larger operation and “grow up” as a leader, eventually taking the reins of a division within a large company? This is where you need to show that you’ve at least thought these things through, even if you know that you may change your mind one day. And by “specific” we don’t mean that you must spell out that you will spend exactly four years as a management consultant, then three years as a business development manager, etc. Rather, you must show that you can “tie it all together” and envision a realistic career path for yourself after graduating from Fuqua.

    Also, this is the time to discuss the career choices you’ve made up until now. Even though the essay asks for your “career vision,” don’t miss the “inspiration” part of the question — this is Fuqua’s way of trying to understand the you’ve made up until now. Your biggest potential mistake here is to give the impression of an applicant who’s applying to Fuqua simply because he’s bored or has stagnated in his current job. You always want to look like an applicant who is moving toward something great, not moving away from something bad.
  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?

    This essay gives you a good chance to specifically highlight any strengths or themes that you want to emphasize more in your application. Everything in your background applies: your work experience, your personal life, and your hobbies all make you unique. Some applicants see this and think, “Oh, it’s a ‘diversity’ question. I’m afraid I don’t bring much ‘diversity’ to the table,” but that’s simply not true. All applicants have some things in their backgrounds that make them interesting… Discuss them here! And, do it in a way that demonstrates that you “get” the values that Fuqua prizes — including teamwork, innovation, and a global perspective.
  3. Why Duke? (If you are interested in a specific concentration, joint degree, clubs or activities, please discuss how you would contribute to these in this essay.)

    Duke, like some other top schools that tend to sit just outside the top ten in the MBA rankings, gets a lot of applications from candidates who also have applied to Harvard, Wharton, etc., and the school is quite savvy at recognizing when an applicant is truly excited about Duke. This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you have really researched the program, understand its core values (mentioned above), and really want to spend the rest of your life as a member of the Fuqua community.

    Some applicants will surely rattle of names of classes, professors, and on-campus clubs, to show that they’ve done their homework. For the most part, while this research is critical for you, “showing off” this kind of knowledge usually elicits a “big deal” from admissions officers. Go deeper, and force yourself to answer the question… Why Duke? Some pragmatic components to your response are totally fine — it has strong ties to the health care industry, which is what first drew you to the program, for instance. That’s a completely real, honest response. Then, starting there, move into how you can see yourself thriving in the Duke community. You prefer the school’s teamwork-oriented teaching style since it’s consistent with your undergraduate experience… Every student or alum you have met has raved about the program… That’s just an example, but it’s a more heartfelt, interesting, and effective response than simply rattling off names of clubs, because it’s about you.

Want to stay on top of news from Fuqua and other top-ranked MBA programs? Be sure to find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Four Thing We Like About Duke’s Fuqua School of Business

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business gets its fair share if applicants every year. Given the school’s tight-knit community and knack for producing good grads, it’s not surprising that so many applicants think about applying to Fuqua. What does surprise us, though, is that so few of those applicants really know the school beyond its obvious strengths. We always urge these applicants to go back and do their homework a bit more before they start crafting their Fuqua applications.

Today we look at four things that we like about the Fuqua School of Business:

Collaborative Leadership
Duke is focused most of all on collaborative leadership. Other than Kellogg and perhaps UCLA Anderson, few business schools can cite that as the program’s most distinguishing feature to the degree that Fuqua can. This breaks down as collaboration as embodied in “Team Fuqua” and the emphasis on student involvement across the educational experience, and leadership such as all business schools emphasize, but none in quite the same way as Duke with their “Leaders of Consequence.”

Leaders of Consequence
Duke has a stated goal: to create so-called “Leaders of Consequence” a phrase that we believe was coined by Dean Blair Sheppard around 2008, when he assumed leadership, and which has since been refined to “global leaders of consequence”. This “leaders of consequence” concept is so important that it comes into play within the Fuqua application essays. While a concrete definition is lacking, suffice it to say that Duke feels a leader of consequence is adaptable, down to earth, and ethical. As Dean Sheppard put it, they want to produce graduates “who can drink champagne with the rich and famous and can drink chai with those who that’s all they can afford.” In terms of an application, like other top schools, Duke’s admissions teams are looking for people who have made a difference in their jobs and in their communities, and who seek an MBA from Fuqua in their quest to make a real impact on the world in the future. See our discussion of the current essay questions below for more on the “leader of consequence” concept and how it plays into admissions at Duke Fuqua.

Expanding Reach
Fuqua like to say it is “rethinking the boundaries of business school” and as already discussed, has systematically broadened its reach both geographically, being the only school that has a firm presence in major centers around the world, and demographically, by offering compelling options to students in various phases of their careers and from different populations.

Open Interview Process
Fuqua strongly encourages candidates to travel to Durham and visit campus, and while you’re there, interview with a student. This Open Interview option is available only in the earliest part of the admissions cycle each year, usually starting in mid-September and running through October. Scheduling opens in August for these limited slots. You need not have your application completed in advance of the Open Interview; it is characterized more as an “evaluation” than an interview.

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Duke (Fuqua) Application Deadlines for 2010-2011

A few weeks after announcing its application essays for the coming year, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business has announced its application deadlines for 2010-2011. Here they are, followed by our comments in italics:

Duke (Fuqua) Admissions Deadlines
Early Action: September 30, 2010
Round 1: November 1, 2010
Round 2: January 5, 2011
Round 3: March 8, 2011

Fuqua’s Early Action deadline has crept forward into September, making it one week earlier than it was last year. The school’s Round 1 deadline has moved forward by almost two weeks, and its Round 2 deadline has crept up by a couple of days, so that it’s now right after the holiday break. If you’re waiting to hear back from some other schools before applying to Fuqua in Round 2, you’ll need to get the ball rolling on your Fuqua application before you know your fate at those other schools. Duke’s Round 3 deadline is virtually the same as it was last year.

If you’re starting to prepare your application strategy for Fuqua and other top business schools this year, don’t forget to subscribe to this blog and to follow us on Twitter!

Duke MBA Application Essays for 2010-2011

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has released its admissions essays for the 2010-2011 season.

Regarding word counts, note that Fuqua doesn’t provide specific word limits, but rather asks that applicant limit each essay to no more than two pages, with a font size no less than 10-point and 1.5 line spacing. They ask applicants to “respond fully and concisely” to each essay.

Here are Fuqua’s essays, followed by our comments in italics:

Duke (Fuqua) Application Essays

  1. Describe your vision for your career and your inspiration for pursuing this career path.

    Overall, your approach to this question will be very similar to your approach to other “Why an MBA?” / career goals questions. While you should save the “Why Duke?” material for Question #3, be as specific as possible about how you see your career progressing over the next ten to twenty years. Do you want to dive right into industry and get your hands dirty? Learn as part of a larger operation and “grow up” as a leader, eventually taking the reins of a division within a large company? This is where you need to show that you’ve at least thought these things through, even if you know that you may change your mind one day. And by “specific” we don’t mean that you must spell out that you will spend exactly four years as a management consultant, then three years as a business development manager, etc. Rather, you must show that you can “tie it all together” and envision a realistic career path for yourself after graduating from Fuqua.

    Also, even though the essay asks for your “career vision,” don’t miss the “inspiration” part of the question — this is Fuqua’s way of trying to understand the you’ve made up until now. In other words, this is the part of the essay where you need to describe your career choices and progress up until now. Your biggest potential mistake here is to give the impression of an applicant who’s applying to Fuqua simply because he’s bored or has stagnated in his current job. You always want to look like an applicant who is moving toward something great, not moving away from something bad.

  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?

    This question is new this year, although Tuck last year Tuck had an essay question that was very similar. This essay gives you a good chance to specifically highlight any strengths or themes that you want to emphasize more in your application. Everything in your background applies: your work experience, your personal life, and your hobbies all make you unique. Some applicants see this and think, “Oh, it’s a ‘diversity’ question. I’m afraid I don’t bring much ‘diversity’ to the table,” but that’s simply not true. All applicants have some things in their backgrounds that make them interesting… Discuss them here! And, do it in a way that demonstrates that you “get” the values that Fuqua prizes — including teamwork, innovation, and a global perspective.

  3. Why Duke? (If you are interested in a specific concentration, joint degree, clubs or activities, please discuss how you would contribute to these in this essay.)

    Wow, that’s a short one! As mentioned above, in some respects Duke took last years’ Question #1 and chopped it into two questions: this year’s Question #1 and Question #3. Duke, like some other top schools that tend to sit just outside the top ten in the MBA rankings, gets a lot of applications from candidates who also have applied to Harvard, Wharton, etc., and the school is quite savvy at recognizing when an applicant is truly excited about Duke. This is your opportunity to demonstrate that you have really researched the program, understand its core values (mentioned above), and really want to spend the rest of your life as a member of the Fuqua community.

    Some applicants will surely rattle of names of classes, professors, and on-campus clubs, to show that they’ve done their homework. Instead of “showing off” like this, you should dig deeper, and force yourself to answer the question… Why Duke? Some pragmatic components to your response are totally fine — it has strong ties to the health care industry, which is what first drew you to the program, for instance. That’s a completely real, honest response. Then, starting there, move into how you can see yourself thriving in the Duke community. Show that you’ve done your homework, but also make sure that it all ties back to you as an applicant. This makes your answer more believable — and more effective.

Applying to Fuqua this year? Be sure to subscribe to this blog and to follow us on Twitter for more advice on the business school application process!

Duke (Fuqua) Cuts MBA Application Fees for Campus Visitors

The Fuqua School of Business at Duke University just made an interesting move, announcing a new application fee reduction program for applicants who schedule a campus visit or register to attend a local information session. Applicants who do one or the other before they submit their applications will only pay $50, rather than $200, to submit their applications.

Why would Fuqua make such a move? The announcement gave a nod to the rough economy, but here’s the real meat of the announcement:

We feel strongly that visiting with Duke admissions officers, students, and alumni in person is incredibly helpful in understanding the Team Fuqua culture.

So, basically, Duke is putting its money where its mouth is, and is saying, “We’re so convinced that you’ll love it when you visit that we really want you to come visit or at least meet with a Fuqua admissions representative.” Of course, a visitor may also decide that Fuqua is in fact NOT the place for him, which isn’t necessarily a terrible thing — better for the applicant to realize that sooner rather than later.

There’s a lot that we like about Fuqua, but its place in the business school rankings means that every year its draws applications from some people who really have their eyes set on any ranked school, and they apply to Fuqua although they’re really hoping that they get into a higher-ranked program. Fuqua’s move not only encourages applicants to get to know the school better (which is always a good thing), but also sends a subtle message of, “If you’re not interested enough to come visit or meet with us, then we’re raising the bar a little more for you.”

It’s an interesting strategy… If you can’t be bothered to visit the school or meet with Fuqua representatives when they visit your town, then can you credibly claim that Duke is where you want to be? If you still want to apply, then fine, but know that you’ll be going up against lots of applicants who have visited Fuqua or met with someone from the school.

Some have speculated that Fuqua made this move to “slash prices” and attract more applicants, but we suspect that this is really more of a quality play than a quantity one. We don’t know if it will work, but it sure will be interesting to see.

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