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Fuqua Class of 2021 Essay Analysis

August 06, 2018

Fuqua’s online application for the 2018-19 cycle is now available. Read on for our tips on this year’s prompts!

2018/19 essay questions

Short answer question 1: What are your short-term goals, post-MBA? (500 characters)

Short answer question 2: What are your long-term goals? (500 characters)

Short answer question 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? (500 characters)

Essay 1: 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. (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.)

Essay 2: 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? (Your response should be no more than two pages in length.)

Optional essay: 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.

2018/19 essay question analysis

Short answer questions

With only 500 characters, you’ll need to be concise when explaining your short and long-term goals. What continues to surprise most people is how much easier it is to answer the questions when you focus on the impact you want to have in your career, rather than specific roles you’re going after. Doing so makes your employability appear bigger to the Admissions Committee (a big plus), differentiates you from other applicants, and makes it easier to later on explain how you will leverage Fuqua towards achieving these goals.

Essay 1

In the past, successful clients keep each bullet brief, focusing on characteristics that aren’t reflected elsewhere in the application. For example, this isn’t the place to discuss your great analytical or leadership skills. Save that for the resume. Instead, focus on your softer, more light-hearted side. What are some of the funnier (yet workplace appropriate) stories and experiences from your past? How did you develop your key relationships? The more differentiated stories you can write (hint: almost everyone loves their family, especially mom, so don’t use too many of your bullets on topics like that), the better you will separate yourself from other applicants. Your goal should be to give the reader a clear understanding of how you will fit into Fuqua.  The funnier your bullets, the better. Even sprinkle in a few self-deprecating ones!

Stuck? Crowdsource examples from friends and family. New ideas will cross your plate when you least expect it!

Essay 2

Core to this question will be your understanding of Fuqua’s resources outside of the classroom – from informal events to class traditions. You’ll want to connect with students and alumni to get the inside scoop on the campus experience. Also, have at least one clear (and specific) contribution that you would want to make on campus – it could be anything from organizing a conference, starting a club, building relationships with a new community, etc. The more you can explain that contribution in detail, the more you will separate yourself from other applicants in a good way.

Optional essay

As with other schools, keep this direct and concise. Avoid coming across as defensive. Instead, focus on what you learned from the experiences you are sharing this in this essay, and how it better positions you to achieve your longer-run goals.

2018/19 deadlines

Early action: Application deadline: September 12, 2018, Decision date: October 19, 2018

Round 1: Application deadline: October 10, 2018, Decision date: December 13, 2018

Round 2: Application deadline: January 3, 2019, Decision date: March 18, 2019

Round 3: Application deadline: March 20, 2019, Decision date: April 29, 2019

Other application details

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The online application is now available by clicking here.

Re-applicant?

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School resources

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