Duke University (Fuqua) Essay Analysis, 2011-2012

Duke must be satisfied with what its application essays tell the admissions committee about its candidates, because Fuqua has not made any changes to its essay questions this year. Pay special attention to essay two, which represents your most significant opportunity to reveal yourself as distinct, interesting and “valuable.” Candidates may want to read our interview with Fuqua Associate Dean for Admissions Liz Riley Hargrove for even more insight.

1. Describe your vision for your career and your inspiration for pursuing this career path.

In many ways, Fuqua’s essay questions one and three constitute the components of a classic Personal Statement. And, because Personal Statements are similar from one application to the next, we have produced the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. We offer this guide to candidates free of charge, via our online store. Please feel free to download your copy today.

All of that written, you will notice that Fuqua does not explicitly ask about your short- and long-term career goals but instead asks about your “vision for your career.” Short- and long-term goals can be somewhat confining, but Fuqua instead offers you some flexibility and allows you to provide a broader and more reasoned compendium of your objectives and the path you hope to take to reach them. In some ways, this question is more challenging than a traditional “goal statement,” because you will need to be less practical and more profound in discussing your future.

2. How will your background, values, and non-work activities enhance the experience of other Duke MBA students and add value to Fuqua’s diverse culture?

This essay is broad and sweeping in nature, so it allows you to strategically showcase a mix of your greatest community and personal strengths. You should attempt to select a diversity of experiences and present them in such a way that you will be able to relate them back to your ability to contribute in a variety of areas—for example, in the classroom, study teams and the community at large. A successful essay will not only detail your personality/experiences, but also clearly illustrate how you will “enhance” Fuqua—meaning that it will demonstrate your intimate understanding of and connection to the Fuqua culture/experience.

3. Why Duke? (If you are interested in a specific concentration, joint degree, clubs or activities, please discuss how you would contribute to these in this essay.)

Please consult our analysis of essay one as it encompasses a response to essays one and three. For a thorough exploration of Duke’s academic program/merits, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, academic environment and more, please check out the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

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