Duke University (Fuqua) Essay Analysis, 2009-2010

1. Describe your vision for your career, your inspiration for pursuing this career path, and the role of The Duke MBA in achieving your goals. If you are interested in a specific concentration or joint degree program, please discuss in this essay.

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. Discuss a person, event, or experience that has significantly shaped your life and explain why.

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.

3. Individuals choose a business school for many different reasons. Through your research, what attributes or characteristics of The Duke MBA program have most resonated with you and why? How do you plan to contribute to the strengthening and enhancement of those attributes and characteristics during your time at Duke and beyond?

Many MBA candidates will struggle with this question, concerned that this response is not sufficiently differentiated from the one offered in question number one. Question three does not really ask you how you will advance professionally via the MBA program, but more so how you identify with the nature of the MBA program and then subsequently use that strong identification to contribute.

In short, this question asks you to look within and identify common values that you and the program both uphold (details of your preferred learning style and its commonalities with Duke, for example) and then look outward and show how these values and experiences will manifest themselves via your distinct contribution. You cannot merely state, “I will contribute through my leadership and team skills,” but must apply your experience to Fuqua, showing where and how that contribution will be made. This question is an excellent opportunity for you to show self awareness and to reveal that you have truly done your homework before in applying to Fuqua.

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