How To Answer Fuqua’s ’25 Random Things’ Essay



It is one of the more unusual essay questions that any business school can ask an applicant: “Share with us your list of “25 Random Things” about YOU.”

The question is a key reason why MBA admission consultants judge Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business as having one of the very best admissions processes that allow the school to know applicants best, second only to Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business. Among the school’s fans is Tyler Cormney, co-founder of MBA Prep School.

“It’s why I rated Duke as a school that gets to know their applicants well,” he says. “By comparison, Columbia asks for one pleasantly surprising thing and Duke demands 25. It’s pretty telling when an applicant runs out of fun facts after listing only a handful or can’t resist copying in a few resume bullet points. Fuqua’s out to find the fun ones in the bunch, and I’m guessing the MBA experience will be much more fun as a result.”


Still, what kinds of answers does Duke expect to see when applicants attempt to list their own 25 random things? The school provides a couple of very good examples from Fuqua MBAs who graduated in the Class of 2013.

Here’s one from Dipesh Shah:

  1. I was born and raised in the suburbs of Atlanta—specifically Stone Mountain, GA. Stone Mountain is one of the largest pieces of exposed granite in the United States and also the fictional home of Kenneth from the sitcom 30 Rock.
  2. I am a US citizen by nationality, an Indian-American by ethnicity, and a true Southerner by geography.
  3. I worked for 5.5 years at Deloitte Consulting doing Human Capital consulting. If you have seen the movie Office Space, imagine the “Bobs” and you may get a picture of some of my work.
  4. I have been dating my girlfriend for nearly 8 years.
  5. My favorite television show in the entire world was Lost. I was so addicted to the show that my friends had a Lost viewing party with T-shirts for the finale.
  6. I am obsessed with planning and being on time. I wouldn’t say I am OCD but I think 5 minutes early is late.
  7. I never snooze. When the alarm goes off, I get up.
  8. I have a nephew, Rushabh, who is the cutest person in the entire world.
  9. I went to Emory University and graduated with a business degree in marketing and finance. I love Emory!
  10. I studied abroad in London while in undergrad and I still remember those 6 months as some of the best moments of my entire life. While abroad, I backpacked through Amsterdam, Athens, Corfu, Prague, Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, and Paris.
  11. I once skipped work with my girlfriend to hear Mark Paul-Gosselaar (Zach Morris from Saved by the Bell) speak at my undergrad school. I’d like to think I just said “time-out” and no one knew.
  12. If I had to describe myself in one word, it would be “goofy.” If I am not the goofiest person in the room, I want to meet that person because we will get along.
  13. I had an internship this summer at Facebook. It was absurdly awesome.
  14. I fully intend on winning the lottery one day, buying a private island, and reading books on a hammock while overlooking the ocean.
  15. I love TV sitcoms and my favorite show right now is How I Met Your Mother.
  16. I am pretty passionate about cookies. I love them, specifically chocolate chip and double-stuff Oreos. This fact is on my resume and was asked about multiple times during my interviews.
  17. My hero is and will forever be my dad. He passed away in 2005, but I aspire to be 10% of what he was, every single day when I wake up.
  18. I am a vegetarian and proud of it. As far as I know, I have never eaten meat or fish.
  19. I love to do Karaoke but I am so awful that I have to get a private room to save everyone else’s ears.
  20. I dig Bikram Yoga (hot yoga) and have been practicing it off and on for a few years.
  21. I grew the most hideous mustache last year for Fuqua’s Stache Bash. It was disgusting, but I raised $900 for charity!
  22. My favorite guy movie of all time is The Rock and favorite chick flick is Serendipity. (That’s right … I have a favorite chick flick!)
  23. I always take the day off on my birthday because who wants to do work on their birthday?!?
  24. I try to always be positive and high-energy. I think I exhaust people at times.
  25. I shuffle my feet when I walk so most people hear me coming (and run away … LOL).

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