Duke Fuqua MBA Essay 2023 – Analysis and Tips

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The objective of Duke Fuqua is to prepare its students to inspire organizations in a way that has both a positive impact on the bottom line and a positive impact on the world. The admissions committee seeks to develop a class profile that embraces this objective and cultivates a culture that develops strong ties among students, faculty, and staff, as well as their families.

Duke is a popular choice when it comes to elite MBA programs, meaning it’s no easy task to win a spot in its small class. 

Duke Fuqua MBA essay analysis and tips

Duke’s admissions team goes through thousands of applications every year to find the best people to let into its class of about 400 students. Duke places a lot of value on diversity, teamwork, and collaboration. Duke is also a highly community-driven school and tends to look for a certain set of characteristics in prospective students.

If this sounds like a place where you’d feel right at home, you’ll need to show Duke that you’re up to the task by answering their admissions essay questions well.

Duke Fuqua MBA Essays 2023

You’ll need to provide your response to one short answer and two longer essay questions as part of your application.

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.

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.

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).

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).

Application deadlines

RoundDeadlineInterview DecisionFinal Decision
Early ActionSept 07, 2022Sept 22, 2022Oct 20, 2022
Round 1Sept 26, 2022Oct 26, 2022Dec 08, 2022
Round 2Jan 05, 2023Feb 01, 2023Mar 10, 2023
Round 3Mar 28, 2023Apr 12, 2023May 02, 2023

Short-answer essay question

What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first-choice career plan and your alternate plan. (max 100 words)

It’s a pretty straightforward question. 

The admissions committee knows that even the finest plans don’t always work out as planned or may even have unintended consequences. 

It wants to know that you are ready to switch gears and recommit to a different path if you need to and that you are fully capable of doing so. 

The key to answering this question is to show that your backup goal is just as connected to your skills, interests, and goals as your original plan and doesn’t come out completely disconnected. 

For example, it might be hard to persuade the admissions committee that your short-term goal is to work in Private Equity and your alternative goal is to work as an Energy sector consultant since these jobs usually require very different skills and personalities. Just make sure that both of the goals you set are reasonable and doable.

In short, identify your immediate post-MBA goals and even list a few companies you’d like to work for. As a follow-up, explain how the short term serves as a bridge to the long term. If you have room, mention the impact you aim to have as a result of what you’ll be doing. 

You’ll also need to identify a second post-MBA job that will help you achieve your stated long-term goals.

Essay 1

Topic – 25 random things about yourself

Instructions

  • To be presented in a list form, numbered 1 to 25
  • Maximum 750 words
  • Limited to 2 pages

At first, it may seem tough to come up with twenty-five odd items. Begin by brainstorming with friends and family to get ideas flowing. To begin, find out what makes you stand out from the crowd. Then, have them give the first thing that comes to mind when they’re asked about you,. Another approach is to always have a notebook nearby so that you may jot down ideas as they come to you.

How do you organize your list once you have 25 random things? You can structure them alphabetically. Alternatively, you can arrange the items in the list from shortest to longest. It’s also a good idea to break up long explanations into short ones. However, you can also keep the list purely random to make the reader keep guessing.

Advice from Duke Fuqua

Allison Jamison, Duke Fuqua’s Assistant Dean of Admissions, said that this is the essay their admissions team likes to read the most.

Our team at Admit Expert is the same way. One of our favorite things to do every year is to help candidates choose which fun facts about themselves to share.

The best thing to do with this list is to have some fun with it. After all, they could have asked, “How do you think you can help make Fuqua a more diverse place?” but instead gave you this more open way to do it.

Before you start, we suggest you read this post from Megan Overby, Former Director of Admissions. In it, she talks about why Fuqua came up with this question, which is still important today.

You can also take a look at this video featuring Natasha Gore, Fuqua Admissions team member, sharing a few tips on this essay.

For ideas, you may refer to the following examples on Duke Website:

Examples of “25 Random Things”

Essay 1 Tips

Here are a few tips to help you write this unique essay:

  1. Keep an optimistic attitude! Share joyful recollections, amusing details, intriguing skills, and (very brief) tales of perseverance and achievement. Avoid failure and disappointment at all costs (unless you can be light-hearted or self-effacing about it).
  2. Aim to include all aspects of your life, including non-work-related interests and significant personal information and relationships. Writing about why you adored your grandmother as a child or what you learned during a long-distance relationship phase will assist the admissions committee get to know you beyond your résumé.
  3. Think twice before bringing up religion or politics, just as you would on a first date or a job interview. If these topics are significant enough to justify mention, keep your comments to personal significance and community dimensions (i.e., avoid attempting to teach or persuade the reader).
  4. Take the long perspective. Sharing a few pieces of information about your childhood that can provide admissions officers with unique insight not seen elsewhere in your application. In the meantime, discussing contemporary favorites (e.g., food, film, travel destination, or place to visit in your city or town) can reveal who you are today.
  5. Brief examples, such as learning something the hard way when traveling abroad or working hard to develop a new pastime, can demonstrate both your interests and your approach to overcoming obstacles.
  6. We suggest no more than five work-related list items (and suggest that you aim for even fewer). The adcom can read about your professional background elsewhere in your application, as suggested by the prologue.
  7. Aim for balance in your list’s content; rather than listing items chronologically or by domain (e.g., professional, personal, extracurricular), mix things up and keep your reader guessing to make this genuinely “random.”
  8. Show your draft to a close friend or relative to gain their opinion on how well you’ve captured your personality and whether you’ve missed anything.

Do you want to impress the Duke Fuqua Adcom?

At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too.
Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

Essay 2

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?

Instructions

1 page (500 words maximum)

Essay 2 tips

When writing your Duke Fuqua MBA essay, be explicit about why you want to join the Team Fuqua. As a result, the best essays for the Duke MBA program will be both personal and well-researched. Everybody benefits from having a wide alumni network. Because of this, what will you give and receive from your peers?

The admissions committee at Fuqua, just like they did the year before, makes it abundantly apparent that you are required to detail three particular ways in which you believe you can contribute to Fuqua (rather than leaving the number of items up to you).

In our opinion, the success of this article is contingent on three factors: research, authenticity, and conciseness.

This is an even greater challenge, considering that you need to mention three things while only using 500 words total.

To begin, you will need to undertake a significant amount of research. It is going to be very difficult for you to create an essay that is convincing about why you feel that you belong at Fuqua if you don’t know too much about the community at Fuqua.

Next, you need to choose a topic and convey that you’re genuinely passionate about this topic. The best way to choose a topic for this short essay is to reflect on your own experiences. To begin, see if there are any clubs in Fuqua that share your passions. Next, think about what classes you’d like to take that will help you expand your expertise. Finally, use instances from your own life to demonstrate your interests and motivations in your writing.

Proper program fit is critical. It would be ideal if you were able to demonstrate personal characteristics that Duke Fuqua holds dear. Fuqua, for example, is very interested in what you do in your community. Your Duke Fuqua application will consequently be heavily influenced by your involvement in the community.

Lastly, try to keep your essay as short as you can. You should leave enough room to fully explain your different examples and make sure to connect each one to the Duke community. However, this is not the place to write a poem about how much you love Duke. But it can be hard to write such a short essay, so make sure you read our post on how to write great short essays here!

Do you want to impress the Duke Fuqua Adcom?

At Admit Expert, we have helped hundreds of students get into top MBA programs around the world. We would be happy to help you too.
Schedule a free call with us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals.

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 or additional recommendations in this area. The Optional Information section is intended to provide the admissions committee with insight into your circumstances only.

Instructions

1 page (500 words maximum)

The question for this Duke MBA essay is pretty specific, and you should only use this optional essay to talk about weaknesses in your application. 

Even though the adcom says responses can be up to one page long, you should keep your answers as short and straightforward as possible. 

This is not the place to talk about your life story, why you want to go to Duke, or why you need an MBA. It is also not a place to copy and paste a good essay you wrote for another school. Make sure you only talk about your weaknesses and talk about what steps you have taken or will take to fix them.

Let us help you get into Duke Fuqua

We will help you write essays that portray your unique strengths and experiences in the most favorable light so that your application shines above the rest. We have helped hundreds of students get into top US business schools. Let us help you too.

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