Category Archives: Duke Fuqua Advice

Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips

A clear application strategy is crucial to approaching these essays. Duke’s mission is to “identify, engage, and foster the development of future leaders of consequence,” and you will want to demonstrate you are the kind …

A clear application strategy is crucial to approaching these essays. Duke’s mission is to “identify, engage, and foster the development of future leaders of consequence,” and you will want to demonstrate you are the kind of leader the admissions committee is looking for.

Don’t forget the personal – in this essay set you have the opportunity to add 25 new facts to round out your profile. As always, it is important to demonstrate that you know Duke Fuqua well and are a strong fit with the program. Starting your research and personal networking now will put you in a solid position to prepare the most specific and effective essays.

Stacy Blackman Consulting can help you prepare a compelling, individualized strategy to approach your Duke Fuqua application this year, contact us to learn more.

Required Short Answer Questions: Answer all 3 questions
Respond in 250 characters only (the equivalent of about 50 words).
1. What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?
2. What are your long-term goals?
3. Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?

This career goals essay asks for your plan in three parts. First, you should describe what you plan to do immediately after your MBA. Then you’ll explain the long-term vision for your career. Finally, Duke admits that many career paths are forged through circumstance, and asks you for Plan B.

Think big picture and focus on the overall story trajectory. What would be the most logical (and interesting) progression from your current skill set and MBA education? How will your next step flow from the combination of those experiences? And your alternative path ideally isn’t a massive departure, but simply shows the areas you could see yourself exploring if your primary plan doesn’t materialize.

For example, perhaps you are focused on becoming a marketing executive at a CPG company. If you don’t find the suitable position after Duke, maybe you would consider another industry for your career path. Think about your range of interests and go from there. Because you have limited space, you’ll have to boil your plans down in a clear statement of what you plan to do, but ideally any plans are supported by the information provided in your resume, recommendations, and other essays.

Required Essays: Answer both essay questions

Essay One: The “Team Fuqua” spirit and community is one of the things that sets The Duke MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. When a new person joins the Admissions team, we ask that person to share with everyone in the office a list of “25 Random Things About Yourself.” As an Admissions team, we already know the new hire’s professional and academic background, so learning these “25 Random Things” helps us get to know someone’s personality, background, special talents, and more.

In this spirit, the Admissions Committee also wants to get to know you beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. You can share with us important life experiences, your likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are. Share with us your list of “25 Random Things” about YOU.

Please present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed 2 pages.

This essay is entirely open ended and topics can span your personal background, work experiences, values or extracurriculars. If you have a particularly interesting story in any of those areas, this is the place to tell that story. This creative exercise is certainly an opportunity to follow the admissions committee’s advice to share what makes you a dynamic, multi-dimensional person.

Coming up with 25 random things to list in this essay may seem daunting at first. To jumpstart your creative process you may want to brainstorm with friends and family about what is most interesting and memorable about you. Or keep a notebook with you to record thoughts as you go about work and personal activities. A themed list that ties into a bigger point may be effective, but resist the urge to package the list too perfectly. In the end, Duke is interested in who you actually are and how your life has unfolded until now.

Essay Two: When asked by your family, friends, and colleagues why you want to go to Duke, what do you tell them? Share the reasons that are most meaningful to you.

This essay is entirely focused on why the Duke MBA program is the right place for you specifically. This may be another opportunity to demonstrate your multi-dimensional personality as you explain which classes, clubs, and community activities most resonate with you.

The best essays will be both specific and personal. While everyone benefits from a diverse alumni network, what specifically do you want to give and receive from your classmates? If you describe clubs and classes you are attracted to, also offer specific examples from your past experiences to show your consistent personal or professional passions.

While the focus of the essay is the Duke MBA program, you are also being asked why these aspects are most meaningful. Your fit with the program is crucial, and therefore you must exhibit the qualities Duke is seeking as well. The Duke MBA program is especially interested in your role within the community, and will place significant weight on this factor. If you research thoroughly and are specific, you should be able to clearly demonstrate why you are going to be strong contributor and teammate.

This essay can also be a place to talk about how the Duke MBA fits into your career goals. What do you know now that will be enhanced through your MBA education? And what crucial aspects of the skill set required for your future career will be augmented by attending Duke?

Optional Essay (Limit your response to two pages)
If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them in an optional essay (e.g. unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, or any significant weakness in your application).

As with most optional essays, the Duke MBA asks that you only use this space to explain extenuating circumstances. If you have a low GPA, a non-typical recommender or gaps in work history this is the correct place to address those issues.

When approaching any concerns about your background in the optional essay it’s important to focus on recent performance, whether academic or professional, and what such performance demonstrates about your ability. Your goal is to remove questions from your application and to address in a factual manner any information the admissions committee needs to know to fairly evaluate your application.

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Tuesday Tips: Duke Fuqua Essay Tips

A clear application strategy is crucial to approaching these essays. Duke’s mission is to “identify, engage, and foster the development of future leaders of consequence,” and you will want to demonstrate you are the kind …

A clear application strategy is crucial to approaching these essays. Duke’s mission is to “identify, engage, and foster the development of future leaders of consequence,” and you will want to demonstrate you are the kind of leader the admissions committee is looking for. Don’t forget the personal ”“ in this essay set you have the opportunity to add 25 new facts to round out your profile. As always, it is important to demonstrate that you know Duke Fuqua well and are a strong fit with the program. Starting your research and personal networking now will put you in a solid position to prepare the most specific and effective essays.

Required Short Answer Questions: Answer all 3 questions
Respond in 250 characters only (the equivalent of about 50 words).
1. What are your short-term goals, post-MBA?
2. What are your long-term goals?
3. Life is full of uncertainties, and plans and circumstances can change. As a result, navigating a career requires you to be adaptable. Should the short-term goals that you provided above not materialize what alternative directions have you considered?

This career goals essay asks for your plan in three parts. First, you should describe what you plan to do immediately after your MBA. Then you’ll explain the long-term vision for your career. Finally, Duke admits that many career paths are forged through circumstance, and asks you for Plan B.

Think big picture and focus on the overall story trajectory. What would be the most logical (and interesting) progression from your current skill set and MBA education? How will your next step flow from the combination of those experiences? And your alternative path ideally isn’t a massive departure, but simply shows the areas you could see yourself exploring if your primary plan doesn’t materialize. For example, perhaps you are focused on becoming a marketing executive at a CPG company. If you don’t find the suitable position after Duke, maybe you would consider another industry for your career path. Think about your range of interests and go from there. Because you have limited space, you’ll have to boil your plans down in a clear statement of what you plan to do, but ideally any plans are supported by your resume, recommendations, and other essays.

Required Essays: Answer both essay questions

Essay One: The “Team Fuqua” spirit and community is one of the things that sets The Duke MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. When a new person joins the Admissions team, we ask that person to share with everyone in the office a list of “25 Random Things About Yourself.” As an Admissions team, we already know the new hire’s professional and academic background, so learning these “25 Random Things” helps us get to know someone’s personality, background, special talents, and more.

In this spirit, the Admissions Committee also wants to get to know you””beyond the professional and academic achievements listed in your resume and transcript. You can share with us important life experiences, your likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are. Share with us your list of “25 Random Things” about YOU.

Please present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be only a few words, while others may be longer. Your complete list should not exceed 2 pages.

This essay is entirely open ended ”“ topics can span your personal background, work experiences, values or extracurriculars. If you have a particularly interesting story in any of those areas, this is the place to tell that story. This creative exercise is certainly an opportunity to follow the admissions committee’s advice to share “what makes you a dynamic, multi-dimensional person.”

Coming up with 25 random things to list in this essay may seem daunting at first. To jumpstart your creative process you may want to brainstorm with friends and family about what is most interesting and memorable about you. Or keep a notebook with you to record thoughts as you go about work and personal activities. A themed list that ties into a bigger point may be effective, but resist the urge to package the list too perfectly. In the end, Duke is interested in who you actually are and how your life has unfolded until now.

Essay Two: When asked by your family, friends, and colleagues why you want to go to Duke, what do you tell them? Share the reasons that are most meaningful to you.

This essay is entirely focused on why the Duke MBA program is the right place for you specifically. This may be another opportunity to demonstrate your multi-dimensional personality as you explain which classes, clubs, and community activities most resonate with you.

The best essays will be both specific and personal. While everyone benefits from a diverse alumni network, what specifically do you want to give and receive from your classmates? If you describe clubs and classes you are attracted to, also offer specific examples from your past experiences to show your consistent personal or professional passions.

While the focus of the essay is the Duke MBA program, you are also being asked why these aspects are most meaningful. Your fit with the program is crucial, and therefore you must exhibit the qualities Duke is seeking as well. The Duke MBA program is especially interested in your role within the community, and will place significant weight on this factor. If you research thoroughly and are specific, you should be able to clearly demonstrate why you are going to be strong contributor and teammate.

This essay can also be a place to talk about how the Duke MBA fits into your career goals. What do you know now that will be enhanced through your MBA education? And what crucial aspects of the skill set required for your future career will be augmented by attending Duke?

Optional Essay (Limit your response to two pages)
If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them in an optional essay (e.g. unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, or any significant weakness in your application).

As with most optional essays, the Duke MBA asks that you only use this space to explain extenuating circumstances. If you have a low GPA, a non-typical recommender or gaps in work history this is the correct place to address those issues.

When approaching any concerns about your background in the optional essay it’s important to focus on recent performance, whether academic or professional, and what such performance demonstrates about your ability. Your goal is to remove questions from your application and to address in a factual manner any information the admissions committee needs to know to fairly evaluate your application.

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Tuesday Tips – Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Tips

The concise set of Duke MBA essays for the 2011-2012 application season will require solid focus and a presentation of your best application material. With two questions on the Duke Fuqua MBA program, it will …

The concise set of Duke MBA essays for the 2011-2012 application season will require solid focus and a presentation of your best application material. With two questions on the Duke Fuqua MBA program, it will be very important to demonstrate that you know the school and are a strong fit. Starting your research and personal networking now will put you in a solid position to prepare the most specific and effective essays. Duke’s word limit is a flexible 2-pages per question, which gives you enough space to offer solid evidence to support your admission.

A clear application strategy is crucial to approaching these essays. Duke’s mission is to “identify, engage, and foster the development of future leaders of consequence,” and you will want to demonstrate you are the kind of leader the admissions committee is looking for. Don’t forget the personal, as Duke says on the website, “the Admissions Committee would like to get to know our applicants in a more holistic manner.”

Essay 1: Describe your vision for your career and your inspiration for pursuing this career path.
This career goals essay asks for your vision and inspiration, not just a recap of your resume. As a starting point, you may want to think about the choices that have led you to your current career path. Focus on the inflection points that have inspired you ”“ whether coursework in college, early exposure to running your own business, or watching a family member pursue their dreams ”“ and clearly outline why you have made the choices in your life thus far. You are not required to follow a sequential path in this essay, and you can choose the important moments in your career to highlight.

Career visions can be either long-term or a combination of long-term and short-term goals. Think big picture and focus on the overall story, not just the job you hope to land immediately after school. When you look back at your career later in life, what do you want to have accomplished? What will make you proud, engaged and satisfied after twenty years in your career?

Essay 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?
Being an active part of the Fuqua community is paramount to your application, and you will need to strongly make the case for your place in the class through this set of essays. While you should be personal in this essay, make sure you are strategic about what aspects of your application strategy cannot be covered in the other essays. In some ways this essay is very open ended ”“ topics can be background, values or extracurricular. If you have a particularly interesting story in any of those three areas, this is the place to tell that story.

While you should not forget that you are applying to an MBA program and that leadership, teamwork and management potential are always important to adcomm, this essay may be an opportunity to follow the admissions committee’s advice to share “what makes you a dynamic, multi-dimensional person.”

Tie everything together into a case for your contribution to the Duke MBA program. While many candidates will have the grades, GMAT and work experience required for admission, great numbers are not enough. You want to show how you are unique and will contribute to Duke to present the best case for admission.

Essay 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.)
This essay is entirely focused on why the Duke MBA program is the right place for you specifically. This may be another opportunity to demonstrate your multi-dimensional personality as you explain which classes, clubs and community activities most resonate with you.

The best essays will be both specific and personal. While everyone benefits from a diverse alumni network, what specifically do you want to give and receive from your classmates? If you describe clubs and classes you are attracted to, also offer specific examples from your past experiences to show your consistent personal or professional passions.

When researching schools it is ideal to seek personal touchpoints. Speak with current students, alumni, and other members of the community to see a wide range of perspectives on the program. When you speak to those affiliated with the Duke MBA program ask them to tell you what most surprised them about the program, or what they like the best and dislike the most. Asking probing questions with surprising angles can help you unearth what is truly special about the program.

While the focus of the essay is the Duke MBA program, you are also being asked to talk about yourself. Your fit with the program is crucial, and therefore you must exhibit the qualities Duke is seeking as well. The Duke MBA program is especially interested in your role within the community, and will place significant weight on this factor. If you research thoroughly and are specific, you should be able to clearly demonstrate why you are going to be strong contributor and teammate.

Especially because the career essay does not ask specifically how the Duke MBA fits into your career goals, it’s important to clearly outline the role of your Duke MBA in your plans. What do you know now that will be enhanced through your MBA education? And what crucial aspects of the skill set required for your future career will be augmented by attending Duke?

Optional Essay: If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, significant weakness in your application)
As with most optional essays, the Duke MBA asks that you only use this space to explain extenuating circumstances. If you have a low GPA, a non-typical recommender or gaps in work history this is the correct place to address those issues.

When approaching any concerns about your background in the optional essay it’s important to focus on recent performance, whether academic or professional, and what such performance demonstrates about your ability. Your goal is to remove questions from your application and to address in a factual manner any information the admissions committee needs to know to fairly evaluate your application.

Re-applicant Essay: All re-applicants are required to complete the Re-applicant Essay. Please limit your response to two pages. Write an essay describing how you are now a stronger candidate for admission compared to the application you submitted the previous year.
If you have a better GMAT score or a promotion since last year, you will want to highlight that tangible evidence of your improved candidacy. If nothing measurable has changed in your life since you last applied, it’s still crucial to demonstrate that you are now a stronger candidate.

Rethinking your career goals, refining your vision, or researching Duke more completely this year can all be aspects to improve your candidacy. Perhaps you visited the school and have a stronger attachment to Duke this year, or you took on a new project at work that improved your skills. Think about everything you have done to work towards your MBA plans this year, and highlight any actions that you believe will enhance your ability to contribute to Duke as an MBA student.

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Job Outlook Good for MBA Grads. Especially the Optimists.

Good news for recent b-school grads in Monday’s Wall Street Journal: Both starting salaries and signing bonuses rose for MBAs last year.

Good news for recent b-school grads in Monday’s Wall Street Journal: Both starting salaries and signing bonuses rose for MBAs last year. According to reporter Diana Middleton:

Students who graduated in 2010 received a median salary of $78,820, up from $66,694 for the class of 2009. Last year’s grads also reported bigger signing bonuses, a median of $13,318, nearly double the previous year.

However, she noted, salaries and signing bonuses have yet to retake their pre-recession heights. These findings come from a recent Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) survey of b-school alumni.

According to Dave Wilson, GMAC president and CEO, the numbers indicate that MBAs are in high demand, not only in traditional fields such as finance and consulting, but in diverse sectors such as health care, government and clean technology as well.

These findings should help soon-to-be MBA grads facing the job market this spring feel optimistic, which has benefits of its own. According to recent research from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, MBA grads with an optimistic outlook enjoy better career prospects than their pessimistic counterparts. And that’s not all, according to a Fuqua School of Business press release:

In addition, optimists spend less time and effort searching for jobs and receive offers more quickly. And once in the working world, optimists are more likely to be promoted than their pessimistic peers in the first two years on the job.

It isn’t merely the optimists’ sunny disposition that has led to their greater success. The research also found that optimists are better at adapting and changing unrealistic goals into more practical courses of action. Chalk another one up for the power of positive thinking.

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Tuesday Tips – Duke MBA Essay Tips

Essay Tips for the Duke Fuqua 2010-2011 application season.

The concise set of Duke MBA essays for the 2010-2011 application season requires focus. You are asked for your career vision, and two of the three essays focus on your contribution to the Duke MBA program. Starting your research and personal networking now will put you in a solid position to prepare the most specific and effective essays.

A clear application strategy is crucial to approaching these essays. With a flexible 2-pages per question, and a mandate to demonstrate how you will fit in with Duke MBA’s mission to “identify, engage, and foster the development of future leaders of consequence,” you will want to make it simple for “the Admissions Committee would like to get to know our applicants in a more holistic manner.”

Applicant Essays : Answer all 3 essay questions.

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

This career goals essay is asks for your vision and inspiration, not just a recitation of your resume. As a starting point, you may want to start by thinking about the choices that have led you to your current career path, and what you plan to do for your future career. Focus on the inflection points that have inspired you ”“ whether coursework in college, early exposure to running your own business, or watching a family member pursue their dreams ”“ and clearly outline why you have made the choices in your life thus far. You are not required to follow a sequential path in this essay, and you can choose the important moments in your career to highlight.

Career visions can be either long-term or a combination of long-term and short-term goals. Think big picture and focus on the overall story, not just the job you hope to land immediately after school. When you look back at your career later in life, what do you want to have accomplished? What will make you proud, engaged and satisfied in twenty years?

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?

Being an active part of the Fuqua community is paramount to your application, and you will need to strongly make the case for your place in the class through this set of essays. While you should be personal in this essay, make sure you are strategic about what aspects of your application strategy cannot be covered in the other essays. In some ways this essay is very open ended ”“ topics can be background values or extracurriculars. If you have a particularly interesting story in any of those three areas, this is the place to tell that story.

While you should not forget that you are applying to an MBA program and leadership, teamwork and management potential are paramount, this essay may be an opportunity to follow the admissions committee’s advice to share “what makes you a dynamic, multi-dimensional person.”

Tie everything together into a case for your contribution to the Duke MBA program. While many candidates will have the grades, GMAT and work experience required for admission, you will need to bring something special to the table to gain admission.

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

This essay is entirely focused on why the Duke MBA program is the right place for you specifically. This may be another opportunity to demonstrate your multi-dimensional personality as you explain which classes, clubs and community activities most resonate with you.

The best essays will be both specific and personal. While everyone benefits from a diverse alumni network, what specifically do you want to give and receive from your classmates? If you describe clubs and classes you are attracted to offer specific examples that demonstrate why these topics are appealing to you.

When researching schools it is ideal to speak with current students, alumni, and other members of the community to see a wide range of perspectives on the program. When you speak to those affiliated with the Duke MBA program ask them to tell you what most surprised them about the program, or what they like the best and dislike the most. Asking probing questions with surprising angles can help you unearth what is truly special about the program, and what is most appealing to you.

While the focus of the essay is the Duke MBA program, you are also being asked to talk about yourself. Your fit with the program is crucial, and therefore you must exhibit the qualities Duke is seeking as well.  The Duke MBA program is especially interested in your role within the community, and will place significant weight on this factor. If you research thoroughly and are specific, you should be able to clearly demonstrate why you are going to be strong contributor and teammate.

Especially because the career essay does not ask specifically how the Duke MBA fits into your career goals, it’s important to clearly outline the role of your Duke MBA in your plans. What do you know now that will be enhanced through your MBA education? And what crucial aspects of the skill set required for your future career will be augmented by attending Duke?

Optional Essay (not required)
If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, significant weakness in your application).

As with most optional essays, the Duke MBA asks that you only use this space to explain extenuating circumstances. If you have a low GPA, a non-typical recommender or gaps in work history this is the correct place to address those issues.

When approaching any optional essay it’s important to focus on recent performance, whether academic or professional, and what such performance demonstrates about your ability. Your goal is to remove questions from your application and to address in a factual manner any information the admissions committee needs to know to fairly evaluate your application.
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SBC_Harvard_Essay_Guide-150x150

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Tuesday Tips – Duke MBA Essay Tips

The concise set of Duke MBA essays for the 2009-2010 application season requires focus. One of the essays is earmarked for your career goals, and another focuses on your interest in the Duke MBA. The other …

The concise set of Duke MBA essays for the 2009-2010 application season requires focus. One of the essays is earmarked for your career goals, and another focuses on your interest in the Duke MBA. The other essay is more open-ended and allows for flexibility in the topic choice.

A clear application strategy is crucial to approaching these essays. With a flexible 2-pages per question, and a mandate to demonstrate how you will fit in with Duke’s mission to “identify, engage, and foster the development of future leaders of consequence,” you will want to make it simple for “the Admissions Committee would like to get to know our applicants in a more holistic manner.”

Applicant Essays : Answer all 3 essay questions.
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.

This career goals essay is fairly straightforward in its approach. You will want to start by thinking about the choices that have led you to your current career path, and what you plan to do for your future career. Focus on the inflection points that have inspired you ”“ whether coursework in college, early exposure to running your own business, or watching a family member pursue their dreams ”“ and clearly outline why you have made the choices in your life thus far.

Career visions can be either long-term or a combination of long-term and short-term goals. Think big picture and focus on the overall story, not just the job you hope to land immediately after school. When you look back at your career later in life, what do you want to have accomplished? What will make you proud, engaged and satisfied?

It’s important to clearly outline the role of your Duke MBA in these career goals. What do you know now that will be enhanced through your MBA education? And what crucial aspects of the skill set required for your future career will be augmented by attending the Duke MBA? Essay three will allow you to focus on the specific reasons Duke is right fit for you, but it’s important to seamlessly demonstrate the need for an MBA in your career goals essay.

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

This open-ended question will allow you to consider your overall application strategy. Think about the points in your background and personality you would like to explain. If you have a typical career path for an MBA applicant and fairly straightforward career goals, this essay would be a good place to show another side of yourself. What activities do you engage in outside of work and why? What are some of the key parts of your life that may not fit cleanly into your career and professional goals?

While you should not forget that you are applying to an MBA program and leadership, teamwork and management potential are paramount, this essay may be an opportunity to follow the admissions committee’s advice to share “what makes you a dynamic, multi-dimensional person.”

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 the Duke MBA program and beyond?

This essay is entirely focused on why the Duke MBA is the right place for you specifically. This may be another opportunity to demonstrate your multi-dimensional personality as you explain which classes, clubs and community activities most resonate with you.

The best essays will be both specific and personal. While everyone benefits from a diverse alumni network, what specifically do you want to give and receive from your classmates? If you describe clubs and classes you are attracted to offer solid examples that demonstrate why these topics are appealing to you.

When researching schools it is ideal to speak with current students, alumni, and other members of the community to see a wide range of perspectives on the program. When you speak to those affiliated with the Duke MBA program ask them to tell you what most surprised them about the program, or what they like the best and dislike the most. Asking probing questions with surprising angles can help you unearth what is truly special about the program, and what is most appealing to you.

While the focus of the essay is the Duke MBA, you are also being asked to talk about yourself. Your fit with the program is crucial, and therefore you must exhibit the qualities the Duke MBA is seeking as well.

Optional Essay (not required)
If you feel there are extenuating circumstances of which the Admissions Committee should be aware, please explain them here (e.g., unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, significant weakness in your application).

As with most optional essays, the Duke MBA asks that you only use this space to explain extenuating circumstances. If you have a low GPA, a non-typical recommender or gaps in work history this is the correct place to address those issues.

When approaching any optional essay it’s important to focus on recent performance, whether academic or professional, and what such performance demonstrates about your ability. Your goal is to remove questions from your application and to address in a factual manner any information the admissions committee needs to know to fairly evaluate your application.

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