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Duke Fuqua MBA Essays: Sample Answers and Tips

As you begin your journey to apply to the McCombs MBA program, crafting compelling essays becomes a cornerstone of your application process. These essays serve as a platform to articulate your unique qualifications, motivations, aspirations, and alignment with the program's values. In this guide, we'll provide personalized insights and tips for each essay question in the Duke Fuqua MBA Essays for application, empowering you to tailor your responses effectively to resonate with the admissions committee.

Duke Fuqua MBA Application Essays 2023-24

Duke Fuqua MBA ESSAY 1

Question: First required essay: 25 random things about yourself

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, 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

Duke Fuqua MBA Essay 1: Personalized Tips

Duke Fuqua MBA Essay

When approaching the "25 Random Things" essay for the Duke Fuqua MBA application, keep in mind that the admissions committee is interested in getting to know you as a person beyond your professional and academic achievements. 

  1. Include diverse experiences, hobbies, achievements, and fun facts to provide a comprehensive picture of who you are.
  2. While the prompt encourages randomness, try to ensure that each item you share is meaningful and contributes to the overall understanding of your character.
  3. Strike a balance between sharing personal anecdotes and professional insights. This will demonstrate your multifaceted nature and ability to bring a unique perspective to the MBA program.
  4. Briefly reflect on the impact of certain experiences or traits on your life or how they have shaped your worldview.
  5. Remember that you have a limited word count, so be concise in your writing. Focus on providing enough detail to give insight into each point without being overly verbose.

What kinds of facts can be included?

  1. Travel experiences: Share memorable travel experiences, unique destinations you've visited, or cultural insights gained from your travels.
  2. Hobbies and interests: Discuss your hobbies, whether it's playing a musical instrument, practicing a sport, cooking, painting, or anything else that you're passionate about outside of work and academics.
  3. Quirks and idiosyncrasies: Highlight unique quirks or habits that make you stand out, whether it's a peculiar talent, a funny habit, or an unusual fascination.
  4. Personal challenges: Reflect on challenges you've faced and how you've overcome them, demonstrating resilience, perseverance, and personal growth.
  5. Volunteer work and community involvement: Discuss your involvement in volunteer activities, community service, or philanthropic endeavours that are meaningful to you.
  6. Professional insights: Offer insights or lessons learned from your professional experiences, including successes, failures, and pivotal moments in your career journey.
  7. Favorite books, movies, or music: Share your favorite books, movies, or musical artists, along with why they resonate with you or have impacted your life.
  8. Cultural experiences: Discuss cultural experiences that have broadened your perspective or challenged your assumptions, such as attending cultural festivals or participating in exchange programs.
  9. Unusual accomplishments: Highlight any unusual accomplishments or achievements that showcase your talents, creativity, or perseverance in unconventional pursuits.
  10. Pets or animal encounters: If you're an animal lover, share stories about your pets or memorable encounters with animals that have left a lasting impression on you.
  11. Favorite quotes or mottos: Share favorite quotes or mottos that inspire you or reflect your philosophy on life.
  12. Tech gadgets or innovations: Talk about your fascination with technology gadgets, innovative products, or emerging trends in the tech industry.
  13. Environmental consciousness: Share your commitment to environmental sustainability and any actions you take to reduce your carbon footprint or support eco-friendly initiatives.
  14. Spiritual or mindfulness practices: Discuss any spiritual or mindfulness practices that play a significant role in your life, such as meditation, yoga, or prayer.
  15. DIY projects: Talk about any DIY projects or home improvement endeavors you've undertaken, along with the lessons learned.

Duke Fuqua MBA Essay 1: Sample Answer

  1. Born and raised in Hyderabad, known for its spicy cuisine, I have never favored sweets, particularly disliking chocolate. An exception is Lindt Chilli, as I seek a hint of spice in my indulgence.
  2. Passionate about fragrances, I have curated a collection of 30+ luxury perfumes, with Bulgari White Au D Blanc being a cherished favorite, reflecting my appreciation for scented body care products.
  3. Committed to fitness since 2016, my journey from a sedentary lifestyle to regular strength training reflects my dedication to health, resulting in improved confidence and overall well-being.
  4. Extremely enthusiastic about sports, learning new ones like squash, table tennis, basketball, hockey, and pickleball. While I haven't competed or received professional training, I embrace it as an exploration to discover my true passion.
  5. Overcoming past insecurities, I faced my fears by posing for a jewelry brand's ad campaign, a significant achievement given my previous camera phobia. Subsequently, I completed six more shoots, starting in September 2022.
  6. Embracing Indian traditions, I immerse myself in the cultural richness of intricately designed outfits. Repurposing my mom's sarees adds a personal touch, celebrating the elegance and the positivity of poojas.
  7. Involved in community events, I take on diverse roles—hosting, organizing, and anchoring. Engaging in cultural celebrations, dandiya gatherings, and competitions in singing and dancing, I actively explore India's rich heritage. Ganesh Chaturthi holds a special place, and the festive months of September & October are particularly cherished.
  8. I channel creativity into DIY projects—candle holders, planters with geode effects, resin art, and pot painting. While not for profit, I craft these as heartfelt gifts, creating memories for friends and family.
  9. Fanatical about interior design, I meticulously crafted my home, delving into materials, feasibility, and durability. Starting from scratch, I'm gearing up for another project, applying my learned insights.
  10. My shift from fiction like Sidney Sheldon to nonfiction broadened my knowledge and enhanced my conversational skills. I confidently engage in diverse topics, contributing to vibrant discussions in psychology, marketing, self-help, business, finance, etc.
  11. Mastering Thai cuisine, my speciality is the best homemade pineapple fried rice.
  12. Savouring the bitterness, Death Wish is my favorite coffee brand.
  13. An anime enthusiast at heart for 26 years, I have always cherished the valuable lessons imparted by the episodes, especially One Piece.
  14. Engaging in daily Wordle and Sudoku has become my morning ritual, fostering intellectual growth. In a digital era, these activities enhance memory, vocabulary, and analytical thinking.
  15. Admiring Sudha Murthy's simplicity and strong-minded approach, I apply her principles in maintaining a low profile despite success. Inspired by her resilience and support in building Infosys, I navigate life with a consistent and authentic demeanor, irrespective of external influences.
  16. My mother's resilience through hardships has profoundly shaped me. Her journey inspires me to set boundaries, speak up, and embody goodness. Since 2006, it instilled in me strength and mental resilience.
  17. With a passion for traveling, Thailand's diverse ethnicities and superstitions, Sri Lanka's Ayurveda focus, Singapore's busy lifestyle, and Bali's people's togetherness and inclusive temple practices have left lasting impressions on me.
  18. A music enthusiast, I enjoy grooving to any genre, with rock music being a perpetual favorite.
  19. Been known to keep people at ease, mingle with people very quickly and tend to make people comfortable in the environment
  20. I enjoy organizing and prefer things a particular way. Taking up responsibilities and leading showcases my leadership qualities.
  21. Trained in badminton and swimming since 5th grade, I competed in regional tournaments, securing multiple gold medals in swimming and silver in badminton.
  22. Driving brings immense joy, especially during spontaneous outings accompanied by uplifting music. Rainy drives hold a special place, creating a delightful experience.
  23. To conquer my intense fear of injections and surgeries, I got my first tattoo on August 15, 2017, Independence Day, using needles to symbolize overcoming my fear and gaining personal independence.
  24. Understanding the impact of exclusion, I strive for inclusivity in everyday life. While not formally affiliated with any organization, I believe in kindness, considering the unknown struggles others may be facing.
  25. Won an icebreaker competition at SCB by envisioning the bank's future in 5 years. Leveraged blockchain and network security expertise, crafting a winning headline, "Turning setbacks into comebacks: SCB a game-changer.

Duke Fuqua MBA ESSAY 2

Duke Fuqua MBA ESSAY

Second required essay: 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 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).

Get To Know About Duke Fuqua MBA Application Instructions.

Duke Fuqua MBA Essay 2: Personalized Tips

When crafting your response to the "Fuqua community and you" essay prompt, you must demonstrate your understanding of Fuqua's culture of engagement and articulate how you plan to contribute to this vibrant community. Here are some pointers to help you structure your response effectively.

1. Identify Diverse Background Club/Society/Volunteer Participations or Past Involvement:.

  • Reflect on your previous engagements in clubs, societies, volunteer activities, or teams that showcase your diverse background, interests, and experiences.
  • Choose 1-2 specific examples that highlight different facets of your personality, skills, or passions.
  • Consider experiences demonstrating leadership, teamwork, community involvement, or personal development.

2. Connect with Fuqua's Clubs and Organizations:

  • Research Fuqua's student-led clubs, organizations, centers, and events to identify those that align with your previous involvements or interests.
  • Draw parallels between your past experiences and the opportunities offered by Fuqua's clubs.
  • Highlight how your previous engagements have prepared you to contribute meaningfully to similar initiatives at Fuqua and enrich the student experience.

3. Demonstrate Alignment and Contribution Potential:

  • Articulate how your past involvements demonstrate your fit with Fuqua's engagement, leadership, and community involvement culture.
  • Emphasize specific skills, perspectives, or qualities you bring that would benefit Fuqua's clubs and organizations.
  • Discuss your potential contributions to Fuqua's clubs, such as sharing insights from your diverse background, taking on leadership roles, or spearheading new initiatives.

4. Highlight Interdisciplinary Connections:

  • Explore interdisciplinary connections between your past involvements and Fuqua's clubs, if applicable.
  • Showcase how your diverse background can bring fresh perspectives and foster collaboration across different areas of interest within the Fuqua community.
  • Discuss how your interdisciplinary experiences can enrich discussions, projects, and events within Fuqua's clubs and organizations.

5. Demonstrate Enthusiasm and Commitment:

  • Convey your enthusiasm for becoming an active member of the Fuqua community and contributing to its vibrant club culture.
  • Express your eagerness to engage with fellow students, faculty, and alumni through participation in Fuqua's clubs and organizations.
  • Showcase your commitment to positively impacting and enhancing the overall student experience at Fuqua.

You can check tips from Duke's Fuqua School of BusinessSchool itself at - Tips on writing your "25 things" essay.

Duke Fuqua MBA Essay 2: Sample Answer

I plan to enhance Fuqua's vibrant culture through my active engagement with the Net Impact Club, my dedication to service activities, and my contribution to the Asian Business Club. The Net Impact Club, which echoes Fuqua's environmental and social transformation ethos, will be my primary focus. This platform aligns with my values by encouraging future leaders to carve out careers that deliver impact. My previous experience coordinating an environmentally-focused initiative in my college, in which we exchanged Coca-Cola products for plastic waste, has equipped me to contribute to conversations at Fuqua about combining business goals with social responsibility.

In addition to this, I'm committed to contributing to Fuqua through service activities. This conviction stems from my previous involvement with 'Habitat for Humanity' and 'Stop Hunger Now'. The impact of these programs fortified my dedication to community service. During my college years, I was part of a team that worked to establish a child-friendly society, focusing on children from disadvantaged backgrounds. I played various roles within this initiative, from tutoring the children to raising awareness about begging-related issues. I'm keen to carry this passion for community service into my engagement with Fuqua, aligning with the school's core value of ethical leadership.

A third way I anticipate contributing to Fuqua is through the Asian Business Club. Joining this club will allow me to amalgamate my cultural experiences into my academic journey. As an active member, I strive to promote Asian culture and commerce by facilitating cultural and social events. Going against the grain to become the first professional female in my family through an engineering degree, I provide a unique insight that comprises an understanding of traditional beliefs interweaved with technical knowledge. Furthermore, I foresee my potential to enhance the club's outreach to an extensive alumni network in Asia, boosting symbiotic relations and collaboration among students from diverse backgrounds pursuing careers in the US and Asia.

To sum it up, I aim to contribute to Fuqua in three ways: through my involvement in the Net Impact Club, my commitment to service activities, and my active participation in the Asian Business Club. I'm ready and enthusiastic about offering to and augmenting Fuqua's vibrant community. My goal is to assist in enhancing the school's commitment to leadership development, social responsibility, and cultural diversity. 

Duke Fuqua MBA ESSAY 3

Duke Fuqua MBA

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

Duke Fuqua MBA Essay 3: Personalized Tips

Begin by expressing your commitment to thoroughly researching your desired career path and highlighting the steps you've taken to ensure its feasibility. Emphasize the relevance of your skills and experiences in preparing you for success in this field.  

1. First-Choice Career Plan:

  • Clearly state your first-choice career plan, including the industry, function, and specific roles you target.
  • Specify the field or industry you are interested in working in
  • Mention any preferences for the type of role or position you want to work in
  • Mention any specific companies or organizations you admire or aspire to work for and Why.
  • Explain why this career path is your primary focus and how it aligns with your long-term aspirations.

2. Alternate Plan:

  • Present a credible alternate career plan in case your first-choice option is not immediately achievable.
  • Explain why you have chosen this alternate career path and how it aligns with your skills, interests, and values.
  • Discuss any experiences, skills, or qualifications that make you a strong candidate for this alternative career path.
  • Any trends, growth projections, or challenges within the industry that you've identified through your research.

Duke Fuqua MBA Essay 3: Sample Answer

My post-MBA career goal is to become a successful product manager in top IT companies in India like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. I aim to acquire the adequate knowledge and skills to excel in the dynamic Product Manager role. The strong collaborative skills and end-to-end ownership this job demands genuinely excite me.  

My alternate career goal is to work as a consultant in top management consultancy firms like BCG, McKinsey, and Bain. This program is the perfect stepping stone to support my career goals, as the skill sets given at Duke support both my career plans.

Duke Fuqua MBA ESSAY 4

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).

Duke Fuqua MBA Essay 4: Personalized Tips

When responding to the optional essay prompt, it's important to provide context or explanations for any circumstances that may affect your application, without making excuses.    

  1. Be Transparent: Be honest and transparent about any circumstances you feel are essential for the admissions committee to know. Avoid exaggeration or embellishment.
  2. Focus on Relevance: Only include information relevant to your application or potentially impacting the admissions committee's evaluation of your candidacy. Avoid discussing unrelated personal matters.
  3. Provide Context: Clearly explain the circumstances you are addressing, providing sufficient context for the admissions committee to understand the situation. This may include unexplained gaps in work, choice of recommenders, inconsistent academic performance, or other relevant factors.
  4. Take Responsibility: If applicable, take responsibility for any challenges or setbacks you have faced. Reflect on how you have addressed or overcome these challenges, demonstrating self-awareness and maturity.
  5. Highlight Growth and Learning: Discuss any lessons learned or personal growth that have resulted from the circumstances you are addressing. Emphasize how these experiences have shaped you and made you a stronger candidate for the MBA program.
  6. Focus on the Positive: Whenever possible, focus on the positive aspects of your experiences and how they have contributed to your personal and professional development. Avoid dwelling on negativity or portraying yourself as a victim.
  7. Keep it Concise: Be concise and to the point in your response, as the admissions committee may have limited time to review optional essays. Aim to provide sufficient information to keep the reader manageable.

What can be included in this answer?

  1. Unexplained Gaps in Work History: 
    If you have gaps in your work history due to personal reasons, health issues, family responsibilities, or career exploration, you can provide context for these gaps.
  2. Inconsistent Academic Performance: 
    If you have experienced fluctuations in your academic performance due to factors such as health issues, personal challenges, or transitioning between different educational systems, you can provide context for these fluctuations and discuss any mitigating circumstances.
  3. Professional Challenges or Setbacks: 
    If you have faced professional challenges or setbacks such as layoffs, reorganizations, or changes in career direction, you can explain how these experiences have influenced your career goals and aspirations.
  4. Personal or Family Circumstances: 
    If you have experienced personal or family circumstances that have impacted your academic or professional journey, such as illness, caregiving responsibilities, or relocation, you can provide context for how these circumstances have influenced your path and goals.
  5. Academic or Extracurricular Achievements: 
    If you have achieved academic or extracurricular accomplishments that are not reflected in your resume or transcripts, you can highlight them and explain their significance to your candidacy.

Duke Fuqua MBA Essay 4: Sample Answer

There is a gap in my work history between June 2018 and January 2019 that may be noted in my resume. I believe providing context for this gap to the admissions committee is important.

During this time, I deliberately took a sabbatical from my professional career to pursue personal development opportunities and recharge mentally and emotionally. After several years of continuous work in a high-pressure corporate environment, I recognized the need to step back and reflect on my career trajectory and personal goals.

During my sabbatical, I dedicated myself to several enriching experiences contributing to my personal and professional growth. I embarked on an extended backpacking trip through Southeast Asia, immersing myself in diverse cultures, meeting new people, and gaining valuable insights into global perspectives. Additionally, I enrolled in online courses focused on leadership development, project management, and mindfulness, which allowed me to acquire new skills and deepen my understanding of key concepts relevant to my career aspirations.

Furthermore, I used this time to volunteer with local community organizations, including a nonprofit focused on environmental conservation and a literacy program for underprivileged children. These experiences allowed me to give back to the community and allowed me to develop my leadership, communication, and teamwork skills in a different context.



The Duke Fuqua MBA Essays is a critical component of the application process for one of the top MBA colleges in USA, enabling candidates to highlight their unique qualities and fit for the program. To excel in these essays, it’s essential to strategically showcase your leadership potential, career goals, and commitment to the Fuqua community.

By dedicating ample time to craft well-structured and insightful essays, you can greatly enhance your prospects of gaining acceptance to the esteemed Duke Fuqua MBA program. The Duke Fuqua MBA Essays serves as a platform to demonstrate your strengths, experiences, and alignment with the program's values. Through thoughtful reflection and effective storytelling, you can effectively convey your potential contribution to the Fuqua community and your readiness to thrive in a rigorous academic environment.

Know Your Author
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Abhyank Srinet
Study Abroad Expert
Abhyank Srinet, the founder of, is a globally recognized expert in study abroad and admission consulting.His passion lies in helping students navigate the complex world of admissions and achieve their academic dreams. Having earned a Master's degree in Management from ESCP Europe, Abhyank's expertise in data-driven marketing strategies has driven growth for some of the most competitive industries. As the founder of, he has helped thousands of students get into top business schools with a strong emphasis on research, shortlisting, and applying to schools from a single platform. His dedication to education has also led him to create MentR-Me, a free-to-use social platform that simplifies the study abroad process for students, while providing universities with a powerful recruitment tool. As a leader in the field of admission consulting, he is constantly researching and implementing the latest strategies to ensure that his clients receive the best possible guidance. He leads the Business Development and Digital Marketing side of both companies, and has grown both ventures to 7 figure revenue.His unique insights, experience, and dedication to his clients make him a valuable resource for anyone seeking to advance their education or career.
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