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Duke Fuqua
School of Business

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Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Analysis 

(Application cycle 2023-24)

Duke Fuqua has announced their essays and deadlines for the 2023-24 MBA admissions cycle


The Duke Fuqua MBA Application Deadlines Are:


Early Action: 7th September, 2023

Round 1: 28th September, 2023

Round 2: 9th January, 2024

Round 3: 22nd February, 2024

Duke’s written application consists of 2 mandatory essays - “25 Random Things About Yourself” and “The Fuqua Community and You”. There is also 1 optional essay. 

Essay Instructions 

  • The admissions essays are checked for plagiarism. Any cheating violations under the Honor Code will not be tolerated in the application process. 

  • Don’t add the essay questions, as they might flag your essays for plagiarism. 

  • Font size: 10 point minimum & Line spacing: 1.5

Duke Fuqua MBA Required Short-Answer Essay Question

What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first-choice career plan and your alternate plan. (100 words)

You need to keep a few things in mind while writing this essay:  

  • First, reflect on your career trajectory, understand the post-MBA recruitment opportunities available to you, and write about your career goals with this in mind. Ensure your goals are realistic given your experience.

  • Evaluate the gap between your current role, your short-term goals and long-term goals to identify which classes to take, clubs to be a part of, and the faculty you wish to network with.

  • You may want to touch on your long-term goal. 

  • Alternatively, if you’re looking at an MBA as an exploration period, you can discuss this. Perhaps there is a start-up idea that you’re toying with or an inclination to explore some other passion as a career option - you can discuss that too.

  • Be specific: If you’re planning to go for management consulting post-MBA, explain which organizations you are targeting and why. 

  • Given the tight word limit, revise your drafts and review them for repetition especially.  

Duke Fuqua MBA Essay 1: 25 Random Things About Me

The ‘Team Fuqua’ spirit and community is one of the things that sets the MBA experience apart, and it is a concept that extends beyond the student body to include faculty, staff, and administration. Please share with us “25 Random Things” 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.

Your list will be limited to 2 pages (750 words maximum). Please present your response in list form, numbered 1 to 25. Some points may be brief, while others may be longer.


This essay calls for creativity! Duke Fuqua has been asking for this essay consistently for several years now. This essay attempts to get to know the candidates beyond the traditional professional achievement or highlights. To gauge a candidate’s self-reflection and analysis, this essay puts their character and personality to the test and evaluates how these candidates will fit in the Duke Fuqua cohort. Being one of the longest business school essays, let your thoughts wander while writing your draft and worry about cutting words out later.


Generally, the more random the better. If you’re struggling, here's some inspiration for activities to discuss in this essay:

  1. First times doing things 

  2. I am a sucker for...

  3. Things I like...

  4. Nicknames and why...

  5. Food: Everybody likes food but make sure you go deeper than your favourite food & make sure it is significant… 

  6. Travel, but don’t just list countries. Explain how this affected you.

  7. I’m scared of... 

  8. Hopes and dreams

  9. Retirement plan 

  10. Hurdles or challenges 

  11. My dearest wish 

  12. Hustle: I once made a quick buck by...

  13. My superpower is...

  14. Habits 

  15. Successes 

  16. Religion 

  17. Childhood obsessions 

  18. Inspirations 

  19. Heroes 

  20. I’m proud of...

  21. I want a….


For an in-depth analysis of each point and example answers based on successful past applicants to Fuqua, read our 25 Random Things About Me blog. 

The point of this essay is to bear your soul. Each point says something about your inner being and reflects what you’re made up of. 


For example, the fact that your favorite food is pizza says absolutely nothing about your character. So, make sure that every point you write has relevance to your personality and character. 


"I want to be an astronaut" shows ambition. Whereas discussing your terrible handwriting or fear of heights shows your humility. These random things need to demonstrate something about you and let the admissions committee get a well-rounded view of who you are


Duke Fuqua Essay 2: The Fuqua Community and You

Fuqua prides itself on cultivating a culture of engagement. Our students enjoy a wide range of student-led organizations that provide opportunities for leadership development and personal fulfillment, as well as an outlet for contributing to society. Our student-led government, clubs, centers, and events are an integral part of the student culture and to the development of leaders. Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, what are 3 ways you expect to contribute at Fuqua?


Your response will be limited to 1 page (500 words maximum).


Fuqua wants to see how you'll fit in “Team Fuqua”. By asking about community engagement, Fuqua wants to know why you want to study at their school, why you'd pick this school over the others, and ultimately how you’ll give back to the community 


Being a community-focused school, Fuqua prides itself on its leadership development and personal fulfilment opportunities. These activities are an integral part of leadership development, and Team Fuqua wants to understand exactly which activities you’ll pursue during your MBA. 


One way to structure this answer would be to pick up your school research notes and review the reasons that drove you towards Duke Fuqua. Then, write about the extracurricular opportunities that you find interesting. Often, candidates talk about clubs & societies, sports activities, events or tournaments, and centers for research and development. 


Discuss how your values or interests resonate with a particular club or what you’re passionate about. How you’ll make use of this opportunity and your plans for the future. Explain exactly which role you’ll take up within a certain club and what you’ll do in this role. For example, as fundraising chair, I’ll host engagement events similar to those I hosted in my previous role.


Make an effort to network with the current students and alumni extensively. Gauge how involved the current students are within specific communities you’re interested in and how the alumni add value after leaving the campus. Gather enough information to write with conviction. Be precise while adding the rationale behind picking up certain activities. Discuss the leadership roles that excite you and how you will use your voice on campus. 

Duke Fuqua Optional Essay: Tell Us More


If you feel there are 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). Note that you should NOT upload additional essays nor additional recommendations in this area. The Optional Information section is intended to provide the admissions committee with insight into your circumstances only.

Your response will be limited to 1 page (500 words maximum).


Remember, this isn’t “free” space. It’s space for you to explain exceptional circumstances that can potentially harm your candidacy. For example, you could discuss why you scored low during your undergrad if there was a particular reason for that or discuss if you have/had job gaps. 


While you address the spaces or loopholes, briefly discuss what you’ve learnt from the situation and how you will tackle similar problems in the future. 


Don’t write at length. Be succinct, and don’t be tempted to fill up the word limit. 

Next: Check out our in-depth analysis of Duke Fuqua's most popular question: 25 Random Things About Me.

Check out our Fuqua MBA Interview Guide for in-depth insights into Fuqua's interview process, what they're looking for in prospective candidates, interview schedule and questions for 2024, and tips to ace your interview. 

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