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Duke Fuqua 2016-2017 MBA Essay Tips and Application Deadlines

Posted by Chioma Isiadinso

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business has posted its 2016-2017 MBA admissions essay questions online, as well as the application deadlines for each round. The school accepts applications in three rounds, in addition to the Early Action round for students who are only applying to Duke Fuqua.

– Early Action: September 13

– 1st Deadline: October 13

– 2nd Deadline: January 4

– 3rd Deadline: March 20

Fuqua asks students to answer three different kinds of MBA essay questions: short answers, numbered lists, and a standard essay.

The benefit of having several essays to respond to is that no individual essay needs to convey all of your personal brand, but it also means that you need to be intentional about how all of your responses work together. The goal is to clearly communicate your values and strengths, without repeating yourself.

MBA Essay Tip

The 2016-2017 Fuqua MBA admissions essays are:

– Required short answer questions (500 characters max., approx. 100 words):

– – What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?

– – What are your long-term goals?

– – 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?

– 25 Random Things About Yourself: The “Team Fuqua” spirit and community is one of the things that sets the Duke MBA experience apart … 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.

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– 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?

Fuqua’s short answer questions are designed to be answered very briefly. The adcom doesn’t want you to spend a lot of time hunting for the right words or right phrasing; they want to get to the heart of the matter.

Respond to the short-answer questions honestly and concisely. The first two are quite straightforward. The third question also needs an honest and concise answer, but it helps to think a bit about why the school is asking the question in the first place.

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Fuqua is looking for thoughtful candidates who are prepared to tackle the challenges of the professional world, even when things don’t go their way. It doesn’t matter what specific alternate plans you’ve made, as long as you indicate a depth of thinking and planning for contingencies. As for the remaining essay prompts:

Answer the “25 Random Things About Yourself”:

– It’s not actually random: The title of the list might refer to “random things”, but the prompt itself makes it clear that the adcom wants to know how well you’ll fit in as a part of “Team Fuqua”. Do some research on the Team Fuqua principles before you begin writing your list, and make sure you include bullet points that reflect your ambition, loyalty, and integrity.

– It’s not completely serious: Don’t be afraid to have a little fun with the list. There’s a reason that Fuqua wants applicants to structure their response as a list of random things – they’re looking to push students a bit to get out of their comfort zone, and get a little creative. Your list should showcase who you are both as a professional and as a person. Have some fun with it!

Like the “25 Random Things About Yourself” essay, Fuqua’s final essay should be answered in two pages or less. It is a much more traditional MBA essay prompt, and asks students to think about how they will fit into the larger school community.

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– Do your research first. You can’t effectively discuss how you will engage with the Fuqua community until you understand what the community values and how they come together. This question is very focused on understanding the culture of Fuqua, so you will be able to frame your answer far more effectively if you have the relevant background.

– Draw from your history. Joining an established group with a strong sense of identity and unity can be very challenging. If you have experience in your past that illustrates your ability to integrate yourself into a cohesive group, you should definitely discuss that in your essay.

– Choose specific examples. Specificity lends strength to arguments. Take a look at the specific clubs and organizations that Fuqua offers, and discuss which specific ones you would be interested in joining. And don’t forget to address the second half of the question: how will you contribute to those groups? What strengths do you bring to the table, what experiences have you had that will be helpful?

Research is always a key part of writing a great MBA application essay. But at Fuqua, the  emphasis on their community makes it absolutely critical that you understand how the school sees itself before you can highlight your story, and how it will mesh with theirs.

You can contact EXPARTUS for help with your Duke Fuqua 2016-2017 MBA essays.