Duke University (Fuqua) Essay Analysis, 2008-2009

1. What do you hope to gain from The Duke MBA?  How does it fit into your short- and long- term goals? If you are interested in a joint degree or the Health Sector Management program, please address in this response.

Because Personal Statements are similar from one application to the next, we have produced the “MBA Mission Personal Statement Guide.” We offer this guide to candidates free of charge, via our online store.  Please feel free to download your copy today. 

2. How will you contribute to the overall experience of your peers at The Duke MBA?

Although this essay question does not explicitly ask you to share your accomplishments, clearly you cannot express your contribution to the Duke MBA without this context. Of course, your accomplishments cannot stand alone either. You need to think of them thematically and then apply these experiences to the Duke MBA. In doing so, you have the opportunity to reveal your strengths and also your awareness of the program. A strong essay will truly connect you to the program and show that you have a nuanced understanding of the Duke experience/environment and that you indeed “fit” the school.

3. Discuss a person, event or experience that has significantly shaped your life and explain why. Note: The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally.

With respect to this question, take note of their note. In contrast, to the essay question above which offers an opportunity for you to discuss and apply your accomplishments, this one provides a place for you to explore your values. Duke leaves open a variety of possibilities via their request for a “person, event or experience.” You should ensure that you are not just offering an interesting biography or the history of an event, but that you apply the focal point of this essay to yourself. Indeed, the “shaping” aspect needs to be clear and the reader needs to understand the tangible impact that this person, event or experience has had on you. A good test of whether you are answering this question would be to consider whether you have presented a “before and after” scenario. Indeed, the reader will understand the impact if he/she can identify a clear change in your behavior and values after this life experience.

Long Essay – Answer the long essay question below.

Today, companies must navigate through complex and interdependent issues. They must deal with health and security matters, environmental impact questions, and diversity and cultural concerns.  Leaders need adaptability, imagination, and emotional intelligence as well as business acumen.

Upon graduation, a Duke MBA will be a leader of consequence – able to deal simultaneously with complex matters and engage skillfully with colleagues, clients, and community.  What impact do you hope to have as a leader of consequence?

The lead in for this question is quite long and is bound to confuse many applicants. So, in short, you need to reveal that in your career you will be able to engage multiple constituents and successfully navigate uncertain situations. Candidates may want to use this question to further explore issues that pertain to their proposed career, detailed in essay one, and show that they truly have a nuanced understanding of the demands of the job. Such a strategy could have the positive side effect of reinforcing your profound interest in your area of professional interest. While taking an industry specific approach to exploring future complexities can be successful, you could also consider broader issues that affect any industry, but show that you are particularly aware of them and will take them on in your own unique way.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Deadlines

  • NYU Stern (Round 3)
  • MIT Sloan (Round 2)
  • INSEAD (Round 4)
  • UNC Kenan-Flagler (Round 3)
  • USC Marshall (Round 3)
  • Carnegie Mellon Tepper (Round 3)
  • London Business School (Round 3)
  • Cambridge Judge (Round 4)
  • NYU Stern (Round 4)

Click here to see the complete deadlines

2020–2021 MBA Essay Analysis

Click here for the 2019–2020 MBA Essay Analysis

MBA Program Updates