Duke Asks Applicants For 25 Random Things

Duke University's Fuqua School of Business is ranked tenth among the best U.S. B-schools by Poets&Quants.

Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business is ranked tenth among the best U.S. B-schools by Poets&Quants.

Top ten lists are a humorous staple of the David Letterman Show. Now a top 25 list has become an essay question thrown into the mix by a top business school, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

In announcing its new essays for the 2012-2013 season today (July 17), Fuqua is asking MBA applicants to create a numbered list of the top “25 random things about yourself.” The school is telling MBA candidates that they can share important life experiences, likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps the school’s admissions staff understand what makes “you who you are.”

It’s one of five required questions on Fuqua’s new MBA application. The school scrapped all three of last year’s questions, each of which could be answered in two full pages.

The school also said its early action deadline is Sept. 19th, while the first round deadline is Oct. 24. Round two applications are due by Jan. 4, and round three applications are required to be filed by March 21. Fuqua’s release of both the questions and its deadlines now means that every top 20 U.S. school has posted its 2012-2013 application deadlines.

The first new three questions are among the shortest any school demands of applicants, requiring no more than 250 characters each—less than two Twitter tweets—or the equivalent of about 50 words each. They are:

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?

Required Essays: Answer both essay questions.

1.  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.

2.  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.

Your response to this essay question should be no more than 2 pages in length. Please respond fully and concisely using 1.5 line spacing.

Optional Essay
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).


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