Duke (Fuqua)

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The Fuqua School of Business

Application Deadlines

  • Round 1: November 1, 2007 Decisions released by January 18, 2008
  • Round 2: January 3, 2008 Decisions released by March 7, 2008
  • Round 3: March 3, 2008 Decisions released by April 21, 2008


Two short essay answer questions and two long essays must be completed before submitting your application. Prepare your essays carefully. The Admissions Committee considers your responses to the following questions important in the selection process. Please respond fully and concisely using 1.5 line spacing. For the short answer questions, please restrict your response to a single page each. For the long essay questions, please select only one question to answer from the three choices given for the first question, and then you must answer the second question. There is no restriction on the length of your response for the two long essay questions. Applicants typically use between 500 and 750 words for long essays one and two. Candidates who applied to Fuqua between September 2006 and April 2007 are considered reapplicants. Reapplicants are asked to complete the Reapplicant Essay in addition to the Applicant Essays. All applicants have the opportunity to submit an optional essay to explain any extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware.

  • Applicant Essays

Short Essays - Answer both short essay questions.

  1. Why are you interested in The Duke MBA program and how will it help you achieve your goals? In answering, please also discuss your career path and state your short and long-term goals. If you are interested in the Health Sector Management concentration or a joint degree program, please address in this essay.
  2. How will your background, values, and non-work related activities enhance the experience of other Duke MBA students and add value to the diverse culture we strive for at Fuqua?

Long Essays - For essay 1, please answer only one of the three essay options provided. All applicants should answer question 2.

  1. Please respond fully and concisely to one of the following essay topics. Clearly identify which question you have selected.
    1. To be a good team player, one needs to be an effective individual leader and vice-versa. Describe an example of where you were challenged to become a leader in a team-oriented context. What was the challenge you faced, how did you address it, and what did you take away from the experience for your future development as a leader?
    2. Describe a situation in which your ability to perform ethically was challenged. What was the issue, how did you handle it, and what did you learn from it?
    3. Describe a significant leadership failure in your life. What did you learn from this failure? How has it impacted who you are today and the kind of leader you would like to be?
  2. How has your personal history and family background influenced your intellectual and personal development? What unique personal qualities or life experiences distinguish you from other applicants? Note: The goal of this essay is to get a sense of who you are, rather than what you have achieved professionally.
  • Reapplicant Essay

In addition to the Applicant Essays listed above, please answer the following question. There is no restriction on the length of your response. Reapplicants typically use between 500 and 750 words for this essay.

  1. Write an essay describing how you are a stronger candidate for admission compared to the previous year's application.

Overview (by Hjort)

One of the most amazing aspects of Duke is that its MBA program has gained great prominence even though its had existed for only 35 years.

Duke is another school that emphasizes the generalist and team-oriented approach.

The center of the distribution tends to be near 700/3.4.

The placement values for Duke resemble those of other generalist Elites such as UVA. Duke, which is a larger school than UVA, tends to have an advantage in the count of placements. For 3 years Duke had more placements at McKinsey and 2 years it had more placements at Booz.

FT 2003 ranked Duke tied with UC Berkeley as #15 worldwide- just below Virginia and just above Georgetown.

EIU 2003 placed Duke just below Stanford and just above the University of Chicago.

CEOs (MS Health Care Admin): Medco, HCA


What is your typical day like?

Typical day will vary, but there are a few common buckets:

Academic. During the core, you will probably have 1 to 3 classes each day. Classes are 2h15 long. You'll also be meeting with teams and doing homework on your own.

Career. Going to company events, reaching out to recruiters, researching career options, attending career events (career mgmt center workshops, resume reviews).

Clubs/Activities. If you end up in leadership roles, you will likely need to organize events or manage some sort of club duty. If you're not leading clubs, you might still attend club events. These could be career related (cracking the case, functional symposium), something fun (wine tasting, going hiking) or something service-oriented (working on habitat for humanity, tutoring kids).

Social. There are lots of organized social events, like Fuqua Friday and other fun club things, and students also make themselves busy. A bunch of people from my section go to trivia on Tuesday nights, for example.

Doing what you need! Always try to fit in what matters to you and what takes you out of the b-school bubble: spending time with family, cooking, exercising, sleeping, whatever!

Obviously, you can't do all this in one day, but I would guess that almost every day has at least a few of the above. And your time division will vary by period. First term, for me, was all about academics while this last term has been very career-oriented.

What happens during a class?

Classes vary too. Courses that are particularly case-based will usually start with the case. Sometimes a student is chosen to present the case, other times the professor will just start by asking questions. There's a mix of cold-calls and voluntary responses. After the case, there is often a lecture that brings out the main learning points from the case. The professors here, as a whole, are very good at managing discussion and ensuring that it's not simply lecture, but filled with student questions, questions asked of students, and some debate.

A course that uses fewer cases - acctg, stats, econ - will have more lecture, but again with lots of student involvement. There might also be some problem-solving, where the professor works an example problem with class participation.

Professors also do creative things to illustrate concepts or provide us with real-life examples. I've watched video clips - ads, scenes from movies or tv shows, internal company films. I've also done a number of simulations or games in class, and have had a number of speakers.

How much of your ademic preparation is team effort and how much individual work?

The team mix also varies. I'm not sure how to comment in terms of individual prep and team-prep, as you should always prep an assignment before meeting with your team. However, I can give you an idea about grading weights. Some classes are highly team-oriented, with perhaps 50% or more of your grade coming from team assignments. Other courses might have just one or two team assignments and the rest being exams, quizzes, and class participation, and sometimes individual assignments. In the core, you will have a final for pretty much every course, and that will certainly be on your own. Classes usually have either quizzes or midterms to complement the final.

How tough is it for someone from an engineering background to cope with Accounting and Economics in the first term? What books would you suggest? And what kind of preparation would be required?

I wouldn't worry too much about econ and acctg with your background. You're used to numbers, and it seems that the quant-folks do fine in those classes (but we liberal arts kids rock at strategy!). I know there are some good basic books out there that will introduce you to the ideas and just get you used to them, but I don't know any titles off-hand. I think Duke will send out a list of resources that you might find helpful. There are also some websites devoted to MBA prep, and these might give you some leads. I really wouldn't worry too much, though. We go over everything in the core.

Other than the term exams, are the students graded on other factors too?

I mentioned some of what makes up a course grade above, but I will reiterate. Remember, this will vary by course: class participation, individual assignments, team assignments, quizzes, midterms, finals, presentations. In the core, we don't really write papers, unless you count a 2-page case write-up!!


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