Duke Enrolls Its Strongest MBA Class Ever, Hear From Its Admissions Dean

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Duke Enrolls its Strongest MBA Class Ever, Hear From its Admissions Dean

Would you like to be a member of Team Fuqua? [Show summary]

Shari Hubert, Associate Dean of Admissions at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, describes its collaborative MBA program and gives insight into what Duke seeks in applicants. 

Duke Fuqua: Where decency meets diversity. [Show notes]

You’re interested in Duke’s collaborative MBA program and intrigued by its general management curriculum and the strength of its entering class as revealed by its newest class profile. But, you’re also unsure how you can make your case for acceptance. Then pull up a chair. In today’s podcast, Fuqua’s Dean of Admissions is pulling back the curtain on what Duke seeks in applicants.

Welcome to the 434th episode of Admissions Straight Talk. Thanks for tuning in. Before I introduce our guest, I have a question for you: are you ready to apply to your dream MBA programs? Are you competitive? Accepted’s MBA admissions calculator can give you a quick reality check. Just go to accepted.com/mbaquiz, complete the quiz, and you’ll not only get an assessment, but tips on how to improve your qualifications. Plus, it’s all free. 

It gives me great pleasure to welcome back to Admissions Straight Talk Shari Hubert, Associate Dean of Admissions at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Shari earned her bachelor’s at Dartmouth and her MBA at Harvard. She worked with several lead companies and in 2009 became Director of Recruitment for the Peace Corps. In 2012, she returned to the MBA world when she became the Associate Dean of MBA Admissions for Georgetown McDonough, which I think is around the time that we met. Then she joined Duke Fuqua as Associate Dean of Admissions in October 2017. Shari, welcome to Admissions Straight Talk.

Can you give an overview of the MBA program at Duke focusing on its rather distinctive structure? [2:21]

Sure. Absolutely. I think our curriculum is a huge asset in helping students really tailor their MBA to their specific needs and interests as they’re going through the two year program. The curriculum is designed to allow students to have breadth in terms of the business fundamentals and the leadership components through the core as well as deeper specializations should they be interested with our concentrations. We have 16 concentrations, as well as certificates and our second degree which is the MSTeM, the Master’s of Management Studies and Technology Management certificate.

Each of those concentrations and certificates really allows students to customize their experience based on their career interests, or their own personal interests. Our students start their first month in the program, all in a course called the Summer Institute, and we really revamped that last year. It’s a hands-on program, three courses that really emphasize how to think through business challenges critically and ethically, how to take ownership of your work, even if you’re working for somebody else, and how to find ways to bring common purpose to a team as you’re working together.

This particular set of courses really prepares them for the next two years, it’s a level setting course. The remainder of the academic year is broken down into four, six-weeks terms. Each term meets twice a week for two hours and 15 minutes. One thing that is unique to us is that we actually don’t have classes on Wednesdays as opposed to Fridays like some schools. That really enables our students to stay together over the weekend to create community and to really be connected even more. 

Another thing that’s unique is the way in which we structure our first-year leadership teams. They’re four to five person teams, they are called consequential leadership teams or C-Lead teams for short. And the nice thing is they’re actually managed or mentored by second-year students who are selected to be our Center for Leadership & Ethics fellows. So first-year students off the bat get peer mentored and managed by second-year students, which I think is quite unique. It allows the second-year students to get some hands-on leadership, peer mentoring practice, but also at the same time, we have true support for our first-year students as they’re going through and getting acclimated to the core.

I remember in a previous interview you mentioned that at Fuqua there’s IQ, EQ, and also DQ, the decency quotient. I think that’s something that’s very distinctive about Fuqua, can you touch on that for a minute?

Oh, yeah, absolutely. So I think the IQ and EQ is pretty self-evident. As far as the decency goes, there are a couple of principles that we all espouse, and we’ve actually created frameworks for decency, so that students can really have lived experiences and proof points, and it shows up in their experiences. So the first thing is the community commits to embracing habits of humility and empathy when dealing with each other and understanding different perspectives and different backgrounds. They act with integrity, they’re transparent, they’re honest. The principles include things like being accountable to ourselves and to others, both when it’s easy and when it’s hard. The last principles are caring, respect for all in the community, and then elevating others throughout the community. 

Some examples of how the framework shows up across both the first- and second-year cohorts in terms of learning about others and appreciating difference, is in our Daring Dialogues or Fuqua Talks. Our Center on Leadership & Ethics has a number of speaking sessions to help students become even more effective leaders. We have what we call Woke Wednesdays, we have implicit bias training, and identity workshops that are now infused during the first year throughout.

This is not required or mandatory but highly encouraged, and everyone participates. In terms of developing a habit, this notion of decencies is how do you develop a habit of including and respecting others? That shows up a lot in the first year through the C-Lead or the consequential leadership teams really allowing teams to create their own norms. How are they going to share feedback with each other? How do they have difficult conversations? How do they really support each other throughout their academic growth?

We also have what we call paired principles. There are six paired principles, and they are: authentic engagement, impactful stewardship, loyal community, supportive ambition, uncompromising integrity, and collective diversity. So these are all demonstrated by students and then twice a year in the fall and spring, students will actually nominate their peers and their classmates to be recipients of these awards. So who in the community demonstrates this?

In terms of the second-year students, the last component of this whole decency framework is really about setting an example, leading by example. By the time you’re a second year, hopefully you’ve started to really be able to have opportunities to flex those leadership capabilities and muscles. There are all kinds of fellowships, it’s not just the admissions fellows, which are the ones who are interviewing all of our incoming students, but also the co-fellows who are responsible for the leadership teams, we have career fellows, who actually support our first-year students as they’re going through the recruiting process and helping them prepare for their internships in their interviews.

We have what we call CASE fellows, people very interested in social enterprise and social advancement who work with students, faculty, industry, nonprofits, to really help provide social impact. So there are all these different ways that from the first year to the second year that we try to give students a real way of exhibiting decency throughout their experience. That’s really this notion of decency and how it comes to life. We wanted it to be more than just a tagline. We want it to be more than just something that the dean said, but really like, “Okay, well, then if we’re saying we are looking for folks who are decent coming in, how do we continue to cultivate that as a community, once they’re here?”

How has COVID-19 and the related restrictions affected the Fuqua MBA experience? What were some of the silver linings that you’re going to keep? [9:25]

I think the pandemic has taught ushttps://blog.accepted.com/how-to-answer-mba-application-and-interview-questions-about-covid-19-and-other-major-events-of-2020-video/ that it is hard to fully replicate the transformation experience entirely through a virtual format. There’s something special that happens in experiential programs when individuals are able to interact in-person, when there’s more organic and serendipitous experiences that happen to help bond relationships and cultivate culture. 

With that said, there were benefits that we did see because we were virtual. Our students had this really unique opportunity to have learned how to both thrive in and lead virtual teams. Those are skills that they really can take with them in a post-pandemic business environment and that will serve them well after they graduate. How do you manage virtual teams? As we’re seeing, just as staff and faculty, this notion of remote work is becoming more salient. How are you able to continue to create a culture of inclusion in a virtual format? Our students were able to do that: they lived through it, they were leading in it, they themselves created opportunities for inclusion for their classmates and themselves. They can take these skills with them that are portable when they go back out in the work world and have to manage teams that very much could be virtual as well. So that’s something that was a silver lining that came out of it. 

Other things that will probably stick, and we’re still in the process of having that play out, is that we saw that for some, in terms of the recruiting, our recruiters may do larger information sessions virtually, because those tend to be a little bit one way. They don’t involve as much engagement, they’re delivering information, not necessarily needing to receive a lot of engagement from the audience and from the recipients. So they do the virtual information sessions, but then they would come to campus for in-person, smaller, more intimate engagement opportunities. Or come to campus or perhaps have people do their interviews in-person. Those situations in which there needs to be more of a connectivity and relationship building opportunity, could be in-person, whereas other larger events might be more virtual. That’s probably going to be a bit sticky. In terms of admissions, we’re still conducting all of our events virtually for this remaining calendar year, and we’ll reassess to see the types of events that make sense or are most valuable to do in-person. For instance, our thought process is that perhaps once you’re an admitted student, it’s much more valuable to you to be able to come to a campus, see and feel people, meet people in-person before you make your final decision.

So what are those occasions or opportunities that are most important to you to have an in-person experience? Still, we would probably not do away with a lot of the applicational perspective types of events that are virtual, because it really was wonderful to be able to access so many individuals around the world, and have them access us as well. So we will continue to retain that opportunity, but just try and think a bit more critically about what in-person opportunities are much more valuable to both admitted student and for us as well, and have a hybrid format. 

Do you see yourself having the same number of in-person recruiting events in the future? [13:06]

We really did ratchet up a lot of our recruiting virtually and to some extent it is easier for both parties so there’s some benefit to that. I don’t want to say that we would ever go back to 100% only in-person. I think what we would need to do is figure out either a hybrid where we’re replicating that in-person experience in a virtual format for people who can’t make it to campus, or we are somehow creating a hybrid experience, where simultaneously there are people in-person experiencing an event at the same time as they’re doing it virtually. I think that’s a little harder, and so it may be that we’re creating more events. This event, even though it may not look the same in a virtual context, it’s still the same event so that we can make it accessible for people who can’t physically get to us. So for instance with our campus visit program, I could imagine right now it’s 100% virtual campus visit program. We’ve re-imagined an in-person experience, but virtually, once we are able to welcome people back on campus, we would continue to have in-person opportunities for these campus visit programs perhaps every Monday and Friday. And then Tuesdays and Thursdays might be the virtual version of that. So that we’re at the same time keeping both, but managing that from a capacity perspective.

You used to travel the world and host receptions in different cities. Do you see yourself going back to that on any level? [15:20]

Absolutely. I think we’ll go back to it, but people have to feel comfortable. Our dean has to feel comfortable. Right now Duke has a list of countries that are restricted or not restricted in terms of travel. So we’d have to pay close attention to that. But absolutely, we’re not saying that there’s no value in in-person, especially when you’re traveling to other countries. It’s just that, the silver lining is that we actually probably touch more people virtually. But yes, there’s still going to be value in physically traveling to all parts of the world as well as domestic states.

What changes has Fuqua made to the curriculum this year? [16:09]

It’s been an ongoing evolution, we’re always committed to innovating to make sure our curriculum remains relevant. Right now we’re still assessing what worked well online, that we might want to incorporate in future courses. For example we’re able to recruit a wider number of alumni to be protagonists and speakers in our classes and courses which worked well. Last year we launched three new courses. So the curriculum really changed drastically last year for lectures and incoming students.

We created their three courses, they’re part of the Summer Institute, one is called Creating Common Purpose in a World That’s Divided. The second course is Entrepreneurial Mindset and Action. Then there’s a Leading Technology Change course as well. Last year, these three courses were delivered in a hybrid format, this year they’re being 100% delivered in-person so that will also create some learnings and opportunities. Because many of those courses are experiential in nature, they have simulations and exercises. So what we’ve heard so far is that especially in the Entrepreneurial Mindset and Action course, there are a number of different interesting experiential exercises that are done and to be able to do that in-person has been really beneficial to students and I think something that is new and different.

It’s maybe not the curriculum itself, but the mode in which we’re operating, that is new and different. In addition to the curricular, those types of curricular changes, our faculty are continuing to update and infuse real world and relevant issues into their courses, especially as it pertains to diversity and race and social justice issues. One of our healthcare courses is starting to talk about healthcare disparities, and race. We have a Diversity and Talent Management course that is new. We have one of our accounting professors who does really great research on bond financing disparities with historically black colleges versus non historically black colleges. 

Again, I think our faculty are also realizing that there’s benefit in really capturing and infusing what’s happening in society, and as it changes and evolves as a result of either the pandemic or as a result of many of the social changes that are occurring, and making sure that that gets incorporated into our courses. I say those are the kinds of curricular tweaks and innovations that are occurring right now, as we again, continue to manage through this. We’re not over the pandemic yet. We’re still managing through it. I think many of us thought that it was just a one year phenomenon, and this would be post-pandemic but we’re not there yet.

Fuqua in the past offered many global study opportunities. What has come in place of the Global Academic Travel Experience? Does Fuqua have any plans to reinstate it? What are the guidelines? [19:18]

You’re referring to our Global Academic Travel Experience. We did have to curtail the travel component. The team is really focused on bringing that back. We really would want to have that as a component of the experience. It’s a very, very popular first year course that goes about a couple of months, but then it culminates into actual travel for a couple of weeks to the country. In the past, students have gone to Peru, South Africa, China, it really changes based on the interest of the faculty and interest of students.

So that’s had to be placed on hold, but they are looking at bringing it back, hopefully in March and May. Again, it’ll depend on the countries that we can go to, it might take on a slightly different format, to make sure that everyone’s safe. But the goal is to try and allow students to get back to travel. Again, we have to do it safely. In terms of our exchange programs, again, very, very popular. Pre-pandemic we had 20 different relationships with institutions. We’re looking at this fall, being able to have a few students go on some exchanges. A lot of it depends on the other school institution too and if they’re able to send people here.

But it does look like we might be able to have a few students go on some exchanges this fall, again, it usually happens in the fall and the spring. And they’re flexible, so you could have as short as two weeks or as long as the whole term, and everything in between. Typically, we have five to eight students who participate in a fall exchange for the entire term. We have 15 to 20 who might participate in a short term like May timeframe exchanges, and we have over 100 students who participate in the very short winter breaks, those kinds of exchanges.

I think a lot will depend on how this new variant plays out and what the travel restrictions are. We’re taking baby steps but definitely moving towards trying to figure out where we can send students safely. Then students have their own treks that they organize too. It’s a matter of trying to figure out where that can be done in a safe environment because we’re doing a lot of testing of our students as well in terms of entry level tests and surveillance testing, contact tracing, testing. There are a lot of precautions in place.

Is there anything that you would like people to know about Duke Fuqua that they usually don’t know, or any myths that you’d like to dispel? [22:11]

I think with that question, probably focus on our entrepreneurial offerings. I don’t necessarily know that people have a great appreciation for all the opportunities from an entrepreneurial perspective that exists at Fuqua. As I mentioned, we really believe entrepreneurship is a mindset. Regardless of whether or not you decide to start your own company or venture or you go into an organization that’s established and you are an innovator in that space, that’s really where we’re focused on ensuring that our students are level set. I think we’re one of the only top business schools who have a required course on entrepreneurship in the first year, and that’s the Entrepreneurial Mindset In Action course. 

I would also say that we believe strongly for those who are interested in creating their own venture, there are opportunities to do that too. We do have students who graduate, having started their own businesses. We have a wonderful student who created a business called BioMilk and they make lab grown breast milk, human breast milk and they raised 3.5 million already. She graduated a couple years ago. We have a course called New Ventures and it’s set up to really help people who want to start their own company with the discover, develop, and deliver framework. 

There’s also a broad range of ways to assist our students in financing their operation as well, which I don’t think are very well known. We have competitive financial tools, prototyping grants, we have summer internship grants. So for someone who wants to be a founder as opposed to going to a startup to do a traditional internship, we can provide some financing to subsidize and support that person’s ability to focus on their idea. We have a loan assistance program that will help students who graduate who are trying to found their own business and will help with the deferment of their debt for a couple of years. It covers their interest payments for a couple of years. We have a fast pitch competition for students as well. We have resources that are not just within Fuqua but within Duke’s ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation as well.

Then we just started a partnership with North Carolina Central, which is a historically black college, and so again have a pitch contest as well as other resources for black founders or for people interested in creating more social equity within entrepreneurship. So a lot of different aspects of entrepreneurship, and we think about it very holistically at Fuqua, which I think not everyone has an appreciation for. We have a new course actually that is focused on acquisition, Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition. There are many students who want to create their search fund to acquire companies so we have a new course that’s focused on that too.

Fuqua’s signature question is 25 things: “Please share with us 25 random thoughts about you. The admissions committee wants to get to know you beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. Share with us important life experiences, your hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are” That’s a great question. Do you have any tips for it? [25:36]

Well, I love it too. It’s our favorite essay, we do it ourselves within admission. So anytime we hire a new staff member, they have to also create their own 25 list. So we feel your pain for those applicants who may struggle with the question, but I would say remember that the why and how are much more interesting than the what. What you’ve done or are doing is easily replicated, especially if you come from certain industries like consulting or banking, or if you’re interested in going into certain industries that are very over represented with MBA students. So, I always counsel people to really focus on the why, and the context because that’s really where you can differentiate yourself. That’s where your story is unique from anybody else’s story, even if what you’re doing isn’t.

I would also say we have a second essay that focuses on what you will contribute to the community. Again, why is whatever you’re saying you can contribute or the clubs that you want to get engaged in, why is that important to you? Where does that come from, is really important and it helps us understand you from a number of different perspectives, and also helps us understand this notion of decency and how that manifests itself.

I think it’s okay to use humor in your fun facts. So please, I encourage people to do that. I’d avoid trying to overuse it or superficial kinds of things or very short answers with not a lot of context. Perhaps focus more on your personal than the professional because there are other areas of your application where we can really understand your professional accomplishments. Talk to your friends and your family, they know you so ask them, what are the interesting things about you? What are the things that they think are unique or different or even frustrating and irritating? And finally, don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Some of the most interesting facts are ones where people really open up and share an experience that may have stretched them or allowed them to grow in ways that they hadn’t expected or that was challenging to be quite honest to them.

Can you discuss the interview process at Fuqua and specifically the difference between open interviews and interviews by invitation? [28:25]

Well, open interviews are essentially self initiated interviews by the applicant versus an invitation that comes from the admissions committee, that’s at the basic level what the open interview process is. We really believe that the interview provides us a unique opportunity to really get to know an individual in their own words so we wanted to provide as many opportunities for our applicants to be able to connect with us in-person to connect with our students in-person. It’s virtual now but figuratively in-person. So that’s really what the open interview period is.

All applicants regardless of the round in which they apply, are eligible to interview during that period. What we’ll do is we will attach your interview to the round in which you actually apply if it’s not the early action round. I would say the only other thing is that they’re done on a first-come-first-served basis, we ask that you at least give us 48 hours to request that. The period this year is August 23rd through October 12th, and we really encourage any re-applicant to participate in that open interview period as well.

All you have to do is have started your application to be able to participate, and then schedule the interview from then on, based on a first come first served basis, but it really is a unique opportunity and I would say, take advantage if you feel you’re prepared. We recognize that for some it might be that period of time might be a little early, you may not have been able to do requisite research or prepared yourself in terms of your own self reflection. So don’t feel so compelled to do it, if you don’t feel prepared. The ultimate goal is to feel prepared, because it is your one and only interview.

If you decide not to, that’s okay. But know that what will happen is once you do apply, then we will take a look at your application and then determine whether or not we’d like to invite you to an interview or not.

Are all admitted students interviewed? [30:38]

Correct. So all admitted students are interviewed, but not all applicants are interviewed.

Fuqua is famous for its collaborative culture. Can you describe Team Fuqua and provide an example of the manifestation of the culture? [30:49]

I’ll describe to you this way: It’s a way of working that allows you to bring out the best in others, and by doing so you therefore bring out the best in yourself. If that makes sense.

It’s essentially based on the idea of believing that your success is my success, very simple. We definitely continuously have these examples, although sometimes they are, unless you experience them, it’s hard to really imagine and have it come to life. There are things that you would expect to occur in an MBA program that says that they’re focused on teamwork, like students speaking up on behalf of others in the classroom, supporting comments in the classroom, helping prepare for an interview when you’re both competing for the same opportunity – you’ve heard that before.

Choosing to lean into moments that might be difficult for you or for others in times where it might have been easiest to just lean out. I think what Team Fuqua is, is those moments that are unexpected. I’ll give you an example. So moments in which you don’t necessarily… something happens or you do something, or something is done for you, but no one is asking for credit. And sometimes you don’t even know who’s done it. But it still gets done. And it happens organically, sometimes without even knowing who’s doing the good deed. Some of it’s manifested and then it’s recognized through these seven principles, and the awards, right? I think that’s how it allows the community to perpetuate and build upon itself, because people acknowledge and recognize the good deeds, even though the person who did the good deed wasn’t necessarily looking for that recognition. 

One example is one student that I know, he lost a BCG and a Bain interview. So he interviewed for both firms and was turned down yet lots of classmates who he actually helped prepare for similar interviews did get the internship. He didn’t get the offer, but those students made a point of lifting him up when they found out that he didn’t get it. They lifted him up, they made sure he was okay, they focused their attention on celebrating him and supporting him in the moment, as opposed to considering or thinking about themselves and the fact that they just had some good news. And they took the time to thank him for the support that he provided to them, knowing that that support turned out to be successful. It was about supportive ambition. Putting someone else’s interests, concerns, issues before your own. That’s one example.

Another example is the night before a major accounting exam, one of the section’s members’ dogs ran away. And every single classmate of his went out. This was the night before an accounting exam. They went out and helped him look for that dog. The good news is they found the dog, and they all did well on the accounting exam. So again, it’s in the moment, unscripted, it was impromptu team building, but it was about a higher level need or concern, or something that’s really more important than the accounting exam in that moment for that student. You know how much pets are like our own family. It’s a great example of loyal community, which is one of our principles. 

During the pandemic, there were students who were quarantined and couldn’t get out. One of our students arranged for his classmates to go by their apartments and put up wonderful, encouraging signs in their windows to say, “Hey, we’re here for you, we’re thinking about you.” To lift their spirits. 

And finally another one that I just learned about was one of our students, a really beloved Indian American student. Unbeknownst to anyone, he put together care packages for every single member of our black and Latinx MBA organization during the height of the George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor injustices, and he didn’t need any recognition. I don’t even know to this day if they know that he was the one who organized it. But he really was empathetic and knew that they were suffering and wanted to just show compassion and that there were classmates thinking of them. That’s collective diversity, another principle in loyal community.

So those are some of the examples where it sounds conjured, it’s hard to explain it, but when you experience it, it becomes real.

I recently got a press release from Fuqua announcing that it is enrolling its strongest class ever. Can you unwrap that a little bit? What does that mean? [36:44]

Despite having recruited in the midst of a pandemic, there are many headwinds that were working in our favor, quite frankly, resulting both in the larger class and really the strongest class that we’ve had. And when I say strongest, I mean from a diversity perspective. We’ve had 48% women, which is the highest number of women we’ve had, in terms of racial diversity 44%, in terms of underrepresented racial diversity, a quarter of the class who are US citizens, is underrepresented. 37% of the class are international students, if you add in those who are dual, almost 50%. And they come from 54 different countries.

Not only is it diverse, but it’s also the strongest in terms of the academic quantitative profile, work experience, those kinds of things as well. Our applications were up in probably the largest volume since 2015. And then we really benefited from strong yield, we had the highest yield ever in our history. All of those factors allowed us to be even more selective this year than in the past. It’s a lot of things working out well, we don’t take any of it for granted. Some of these things are absolutely a result of things that we’ve done and others are in the industry of facts, and just good luck in some respects. So we’re going to keep moving it forward. And hopefully, we’ll be able to continue that trend.

What do you see coming down the pike for the MBA program? [38:34]

I think, to be honest, building on the momentum and equipping our students to be the future leaders, focused on doing good, but also doing well. I think because we just came off of starting a new curriculum, we came off of a high. In terms of our great class, we continue to remain relevant in terms of the courses that we’re offering. We see examples of our alumni doing really well. At this point, the school is really just focused on continuing that momentum, trying to figure out how we can make sure that this incoming class has a fantastic experience while keeping folks safe as well. 

In trying to understand how we not only survive, but thrive in a new normal. To be quite honest, I think we’re all having to come to the realization that this might be a new normal. So how do we thrive in it? And what does that mean? Right now, I think a lot of focus and energy is on that, making sure that our students feel good about their learning experience, and that was one of the reasons that we felt so strongly about bringing people back in-person, and also focused on the staff and the faculty. We’re keeping the ship moving in the right direction, but seeing what’s next as this new normal unfolds.

What would you have liked me to ask you? [40:28]

I’m glad you asked that. I know you had a question about our process and I wanted to peel back some of the layers

In terms of what’s new, not much is new. Again, we wanted to keep things simple. So we retain the essay question, we have increased the word count, just to give people a bit more room to express themselves. Once someone does apply, what happens is our Operations Coordination team takes their application and people should know that they can actually apply with unofficial test scores or unofficial transcripts. But if anything is missing, our team will make sure that the applicants are made aware.

So we get your application, what happens is it is read by the first reader, and that person then determines whether or not if you haven’t interviewed already in our open period, whether or not you’ll get an invitation for interviews. If you have, that interview will be on file. If there’s a second reader who reads your file after the interview comes in, regardless of when it’s conducted, and then makes a determination and talks to the Admissions Committee, there can be either a decision to admit, to waitlist, or to deny. After two reads, multiple conversations in committee, because there’s a committee to determine invitations to interview, there’s a committee for the actual decision once the interview comes back.

Is there a grading system, a numerical grading system? Or is it more of a qualitative analysis? [42:24]

It’s a bit of both. We have a rubric. But it definitely has the qualitative component as well. And it’s really holistic, that’s why there are so many conversations, because it doesn’t all just neatly come down to numbers, it really is a conversation on multiple levels and multiple times. After the second read, which incorporates the interview, that file then goes to the final decision or final committee. The final committee individuals will then sit and make a final determination based on the recommendations of both readers and take into consideration the interview. At that time, if it is an admit decision then we do also discuss and determine scholarship.

So there’s no separate scholarship applications. It’s all one thing? [43:22]

Yes.

Do you read a certain percentage of the files? [43:27]

So I read across programs, since they’re 10 degree programs. We have a very experienced daytime MBA program team. I sit on all final committees. But I have to admit, I don’t read all the files. 

And for those files that you do read, how do you approach them? What do you read first? What do you look for? [43:50]

That’s a good question. I like to read why they’re interested first and then what they hope to do. Both the plan A and plan B. So I’ll read both of those essays first, based on what they said that they were interested in. And then I’ll go back and take a look at their academics and work experience. And leadership and involvement is really important in our decision making so that’s always a place that I focus in on. 

Where can listeners and potential applicants learn more about Duke Fuqua’s MBA program? [44:44]

You can visit us at www.fuqua.duke.edu.

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This article originally appeared on blog.accepted.com.

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