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How to get into Duke’s Fuqua School of Business’ MBA Program?

Duke’s Fuqua School of Business

A top tier business school, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business was found in 1969 under the title of Graduate School of Business Administration and renamed in the honor of J.B. Fuqua.

IA close-knit community, Fuqua prides itself on its diversity and focuses on individual talents to help students grow. The MBA Association (MBAA) at Fuqua, responsible for 50 active student clubs and extra-curricular programs, is run purely by the students of the business school.

The school also provides students with the opportunity to participate in community service work through partnering with organizations like Habitat for Humanity. The school also has its own program called Stop Hunger Now to mass package and deliver food to various areas in the world struck by natural or man-made crises.

Moving on to post MBA journeys, the Career Management Center at Fuqua School of Business provides students with the tools necessary to pursue the jobs in the industry or even company of their preference. The corporate relations staff helps recruiters and students come together through various on-campus events, interviews, and job postings.

The school also organizes symposiums, conferences, and Distinguished Speakers Series to help guide new MBA students towards a job that fits their skill-set..

Fuqua gives many reasons for an applicant to rescind any other admit offers and get on a flight to North Carolina. However, the school isn’t a hidden gem anymore. In the past few years, Fuqua’s MBA ranking has been quite surprising. Although relatively new to the scene, Fuqua has managed to constantly rank top 10 in the US. It was recently awarded the title of the Most Internationally Focused school in the US by Forbes.

Reading the introduction must have made you realize the competition an aspirant would face while applying to Fuqua. We have a few tips to help you through your Fuqua MBA applications, but let’s start with the basics first.

Types of MBA Programs

Although Fuqua Business School provides various programs ranging from a Master of Management to a Ph.D., our focus is the MBA programs offered at the school.

Daytime MBA

The Daytime MBA at Fuqua is the traditional two-year full-time MBA equivalent. It is 22 months long and includes a summer internship as well. The program helps build a strong foundation in business fundamentals before jumping into enhancing the student’s skills in a focus area.

Accelerated Daytime MBA

The first full-time MBA variation provided by the Fuqua Business School is the Accelerated Daytime MBA, it is suitable for people who already have a master’s degree in management. The course skips the business fundamentals and skips on to the electives and experiential learning opportunities. It is a 10-month program and provides a similar curriculum to the Daytime MBA program.

Global Executive MBA

A hybrid course, the Global Executive MBA gives students the opportunity to continue working as they gain their MBA degree.

The program is 18 months long including international residencies. It focuses on how culture and institutions shape business all around the globe.

Weekend Executive MBA

The Weekend Executive MBA program is a variation of the Executive Program provided by Fuqua. Unlike the Global Executive MBA program, the Weekend Executive MBA program consists of 3-day weekend residencies on the Fuqua campus once a month for 19 months.

It is also focused on working professionals

Application deadlines for Fuqua 2020

Fuqua holds 4 rounds of applications, early action, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Although every application in each round is accepted, the school does give some advice. It suggests, that reapplicants should apply during the early action and 1st round, while international students apply till the 2nd round, to make sure they have enough time to complete the visa formalities in case of being accepted at the school.

Daytime MBA

Roundsubmission DeadlineDecision Date
Early Action19 September 201928 October 2019
Round 114 Oct 201918 Dec 2019
Round 26 Jan 202019 March 2020
Round 311 March 202020 April 2020

Accelerated Daytime MBA

RoundSubmission DeadlineDecision Date
Round 114 October 201918 Dec 2019
Round 26 Jan 202019 Mar 2020
Round 311 Mar 202020 Apr 2020

Global Executive MBA

RoundSubmission Deadline
Round 116 Oct 2019
Round 24 Dec 2019
Round 322 Jan 2020
Round 411 Mar 2020
Round 529 Apr 2020
Round 627 May 2020

Weekend Executive MBA

RoundSubmission Deadline
Round 118 Sep 2019
Round 216 Oct 2019
Round 34 Dec 2020
Round 422 Jan 2020
Round 511 Mar 2020

The application process for Fuqua MBA Program 2020

The application process for Fuqua is quite straightforward. The school allows applicants to finish their application in multiple sittings, which is standard for a business school.

The application process for the various programs at Fuqua is pretty similar with variations in only a few things like the essay questions or interviews. However, the application process that we will be discussing below is the process for the Fuqua Daytime MBA Program 2020.

Open Interview Period

During the Open Interview Period applicants, regardless of the round, they wish to apply in, are allowed to schedule and give an interview by traveling to Durham. Once this period is over, applicants can only interview with the school if invited.


Transcripts can be sent electronically or through mail to Fuqua. For every school or University, you have studied at, you must produce a transcript in English that contains your name, each course you took and the grade you received, and the degree you received and the date conferred.

A transcript that is not in English must contain an attached translated copy as well.

The official transcripts need to be submitted only after being admitted to the MBA program. In case you are currently completing a degree, you’re allowed to submit the official transcript no later than a week before the commencement of your MBA Program


The Fuqua application consists of a required short-answer essay question and a first required essay. The general requirements for answers to both are that they should use 1.5 line spacing, have font bigger than 10 points, and should not repeat the question in the answer document.

The first required essay is ‘25 random things about yourself’. For this question, the applicant is required to write 25 numbered random facts about their life. the answer document should not exceed two pages.

The required short-answer essay questions for Fuqua have a word limit of 500 characters, roughly 100 words. The prompts for these essays are as below.

Why is pursuing an MBA the right next step for you?

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


Students who are being endorsed by Fuqua alumni can use the endorsement form on the school’s website to inform the admissions committee of the endorsement.

Letters of Recommendation

The school does not allow any form of recommendation other than its online recommendation form. Applicants are asked to fill in the details of two recommenders who are then required to fill out a form about the applicant

The school suggests using recommenders who can vouch for your skills in a professional capacity.

While new applicants must provide two recommenders, re-applicants only have to provide one.

Students who are being endorsed by Fuqua alumni can use the endorsement form on the school’s website to inform the admissions committee of the endorsement.


GMAT/GRE scores, just like the transcript, can be self-reported or reported through the un-official score reports. The official score-reports are demanded once and admit is offered.

Applicants are required to submit official scores from their GMAT or GRE exams to the following codes.

  • GMAT Institution Code: Q13-N5-32
  • GRE Institution Code: 5156

Application Fee

Darden charges an application fee of $225 from its applicants. The school also waives this fee for Teach for America Corps members and alumni, Peace Corps Volunteers, US Military personnel, applicants approved for a fee waiver by the admissions committee, or current Fuqua student or alumni recommendations.

A few other criteria for receiving fee waivers are if you have attended:

  1. The Duke MBA Workshop for Minority Applicants
  2. The Duke MBA Weekend for Women
  3. The Duke MBA LGBTQ Weekend
  4. The Duke MBA Veterans Symposium

Or if you have registered for:

  1. Campus Visit
  2. Open house
  3. Information session
  4. Informational luncheon
  5. Meet & greet
  6. Multi-school information session
  7. Virtual information session

Cost of Attendance of the Fuqua MBA Program

The cost of attendance currently available for Fuqua is for the academic year of 2019-20. However, every year a rough 5% rise can be expected in the cost of attendance for a Fuqua MBA student.

While the costs below are consistent with what a first-year MBA student at Fuqua is expected to spend, second-year students can expect a similar cost of attendance.

ExpenseCost (in USD)
Estimated Medical Insurance & Other Fees7,482
Estimated Educational Supplies666
Estimated Living Expenses18,702
Estimated Total Cost of Attendance (USD)96,850

Fuqua Scholarships

Do not worry! The admissions committee at Fuqua does not expect all its students to be able to afford the high cost of attendance of the school. Thus, they have some scholarships to ease the burden of debt on their students

ScholarshipEligibility Criteria
Merit-based scholarshipsAll applicants are considered
Federal and private loansU.S. citizens and permanent residents
International Student Loan Program (no cosigner needed)International students
Yellow Ribbon ProgramRecipients of Eligible Chapter 33 (Post 9/11 GI Bill)
Peace Corps Paul D. Coverdell Fellows ProgramAlumni of US Peace Corps who will continue community service while enrolled.
Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) Social SectorIndividuals with social sector backgrounds with long-term and short-term goals of social impact.
Other CASE support for InternsDependent on internship
Rex and Ellen Adams Loan Assistance ProgramAlumni working for eligible nonprofit and government organizations or certified B-Corporations full-time.

Starting compensation after Fuqua’s MBA Program

Fuqua has a very active Career Management center. They regularly organize symposiums, conferences, and Distinguished Speakers Series to help guide new MBA students towards a job that fits their skill-set.

Thus a 97% recruitment rate comes as no surprise at all.

The top recruiters at Fuqua, for the graduating class of 2018, were, McKinsey & Company, Deloitte, Microsoft Corporation, Bain & Company, PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP), Accenture LLP, BCG (The Boston Consulting Group), Google, Inc., Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Dell, Inc., J.P. Morgan, Cisco Systems, Nike, IBM Corporation, Apple, Inc., Credit Suisse, Deloitte & Touche LLP, Goldman Sachs, and PepsiCo.

Fuqua Employment report 2018-2019

FunctionMedian Salary
General Management$125,000
Operation/ Supply Chain$127,500

What is the Fuqua admissions committee looking for?

When an applicant wishes to join a top business school, they can expect a few uniform rules they would have to follow. One of them being a strict no-plagiarism policy. Other than the uniform rules, there are many qualities unique to the application process of every business school.

While all the schools are trying to build a group of diverse individuals to enrich their incoming MBA class, the values they look for in these individuals is dependent on the value of the school itself

When it comes to Fuqua, they believe humility, grit, and drive to be some of the most important attributes in their student body. Thus, if you don’t portray these through your application, you have basically told the school that you don’t fit into their culture.

This is why we have carefully curated a list of 5 things, that Fuqua admissions committee members have talked about being very important in various interviews over the years, to help you understand which of your qualities to highlight in your application to the school.

Decency quotient

Fuqua’s Dean Bill Boulding’s affinity to the term has brought a high level of awareness about the term ‘Decency Quotient’ in the business school community. But what is Decency Quotient (DQ) and why is it as important as Intelligence Quotient (IQ) or Emotional Quotient (EQ)?

It all boils down to creating proficient leaders for tomorrow. We all can understand the importance of IQ for a quality leader. It’s been more than a decade that EQ has been considered essential for a leader in the business world. On a very surface level, EQ is the awareness of one’s own emotions as well as the emotions of those around you. However, EQ doesn’t facilitate integrity. Being aware of someone’s emotions does not necessarily mean a leader would value them while taking decisions. In fact, Dean Boulding explains that EQ can be used to manipulate the situation to benefit the leader himself.

This is where Decency Quotient comes in. It means that the leader is putting his EQ to good use by taking into account the emotional consequences his decisions would have on his team. In Dean Boulding’s words, “DQ implies your focus is on doing right by others”.

Although fairly new, this virtue is synonymous with the values Fuqua associates itself with.

An applicant that does not show a DQ in some form or the other, i.e. through their essays, or their recommendations, might not be considered a good fit for the school.

However, forcing it won’t be the right answer. Most leaders do have a DQ, even if untapped, researching more on this topic might open you up to all the scenarios in which you had previously portrayed this virtue unwittingly. Sharing such incidents with the school’s admissions committee will be the right way to go.

Diversity at Fuqua

We keep talking about what a school can do for an applicant. Even schools emphasize on the same through their “Why this school?” essays. However, you are encouraged to inform the school how you can add value to their culture as well.

We have all heard about the averages in regards to the MBA classes at business schools. most applicants think being way off the averages, be it GMAT scores, GPA, or work experience, would play against them. However, that’s not the case. Business schools love diversity. They really value the input that candidates from different backgrounds bring through their varied life and professional experiences.

Fuqua however really takes the cake when it comes to diversity in work-experience. The Associate Dean of Admissions at Fuqua, Shari Hubert, recently revealed that a Global MBA Program at their school has students ranging from work experience of 5-25 years.

What Shari believes is that a millennial with 5 years of work experience, and a Gen Y with 25 years of work experience when brought together, open each other to the various problems and the hugely different solutions and thought process of their generations.

So, when writing a Fuqua MBA application make sure to mention what you bring to the table. Tell them what different views and experiences you’ll be able to share with your class and how those would add value to Fuqua’s community.

Be persistent, not annoying

When you get waitlisted by a business school, you should have a strategy in place to try and turn their decision into an admit. A business school waitlists you because they are unsure about you. However, they won’t waitlist you if you were inadmissible

Providing the school with a few more reasons to consider you can really work in your favor. Firstly, if the school has asked you to do something, like to improve your GMAT score, or take a course, don’t consider that optional.

However, the question is what to do if Fuqua has shortlisted you without any clear instructions on what to do next. This is the part where you reach out to the school and ask them for what was missing in your application. Sending in an additional essay about “Why Fuqua?” could also be helpful. Maybe another recommendation would convert Fuqua into an admit

No matter what you do, prepare a plan first. Being persistent is great, it shows the school how committed and invested you are about studying there and be a part of Team Fuqua. However, know when to stop. Don’t go overboard by contacting the whole admissions committee team or insisting on interviews or class visits.

Fuqua’s Associate Dean of admissions, Shari, says that Fuqua will only offer a candidate, opportunities that they can offer everyone else. Since Fuqua won’t be able to re-take interviews for every short-listed candidate, the chance is they won’t extend you the courtesy.

Have you heard or seen people trying to get back with their exes? Some of them do it successfully, some understand that there is no chance left, and leave their exes alone. Have you heard cases of an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend being charged for stalking? That’s the difference between persistence and annoying.

Having a global mindset

Fuqua is a very close-knit community. On top of that, their MBA program has 40% international students from over 60 countries.

Merging these two facts will you the idea of harmony amongst a highly diverse group. This harmony is created by the promotion of a global and culturally accepting and tolerant mindset. No matter how perfect your profile is, if any trait you have would seem like it would threaten this harmony, Fuqua would probably put your application aside.

Fuqua promotes a global mindset and appreciates candidates that show the same. This is definitely a quality that the admissions committee looks for in its applicants and showcasing the same would be an added bonus.

The idea is to not just call yourself culturally accepting but to also show that through examples of incidents where you have practised said acceptance. If you have international exposure or have worked in an organization with a diverse employee base, they could be used as subtle mentions of you thriving in a diverse group.

Having a plan B

MBA graduates change their initial short-term and long-term goals all the time. No one expects you to do exactly what you wrote in your goals’ essays post-MBA. Admissions committees only wish to understand your commitment to an MBA and understanding of what the education could do for you.

An MBA is a transformative course. Admissions committees wish for students to be completely transformed by the various experiences that an MBA exposes them to. Also, the business world is highly dynamic. Your career plan could fall apart any moment, and Fuqua wishes to know how prepared you are to survive in such a situation.

The problem arises when having a plan B can be used to question your commitment, thus, while making a Plan B keep a few things in mind. The first one is to not have a Plan B that is far off from your original plan. Remember, you’re not making a Plan B to accept failure in case your Plan A doesn’t work out. You’re making a Plan B to eventually circle back to your original plan.

While you might change your career path during your MBA and completely abandon your original plan while making Plan B during applications you need to convey that you are committed to your original plan at this very moment.

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