Q & A with Duke-Fuqua School of Business

We’ve got a treat on the blog for you today! Allison Jamison, Director of Admissions at the full-time MBA program at Duke, is answering your frequently asked MBA application questions.
Q) What are the main components of a Duke MBA application?
A) The Duke MBA application requires the following materials:

  • A completed online application form
  • One-page resume
  • 2 professional letters of recommendation
  • 3 short answer essay questions (250 characters each) and 2 long essays (2 pages each)
  • Scanned copies of official transcripts (hard copies are required after admission)
  • Valid GMAT or GRE score (you can check out the average Duke GMAT score here )
  • For students for whom English is not their native language, a valid TOEFL, PTE or IELTS score
  • An interview – interviews are open to all applicants, regardless of round applying, in the Open Interview period (open approximately mid-September through mid-October), and after that interviews are by invitation. U.S. applicants in the Early Action round are required to interview during the Open Interview period.
  • The application fee. We do offer a number of opportunities for a reduced application fee.


Q) What type of individual do you think would thrive at the Duke-Fuqua school, and why?
A) Fuqua attracts a tremendously diverse class of students who come from a myriad of different professional and personal backgrounds. Our students also go into a wide array of different industries and career paths after graduation. The kinds of students who do well at Fuqua are those who want to be involved and engaged in the communities of which they are a part. They are individuals who want to make a difference – they want to participate in classroom discussions, lead student clubs, and take advantage of new opportunities. They want to leave a legacy – this is what we mean when we say we are looking for “Leaders of Consequence.” Because our community is one that promotes innovation, and one in which we expect our students to provide ideas, challenges, and drive change, those who seek out those challenges and opportunities are those who do best at Fuqua.


Q) International students often face additional sets of challenges when applying to programs in the U.S. Are there any resources you would recommend or advice you would share with international students applying to your school?
A) Be sure you know what the application requirements are for each school, and start collecting transcripts/mark sheets and any other required documentation early, in time for your application or admission. Language tests can also take a while to schedule and have scores reported, so be sure you allow plenty of time (a month or more, if possible) to take the exam in advance of the application deadline. Also, student visa paperwork can take a while, so plan to apply earlier in the admissions cycle to ensure you have enough time to complete your visa. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to visit schools you are considering, so be sure you connect with alumni in your area. Talking to current students via email or Skype are also great ways to learn about programs first hand. But find an opportunity if you can to meet with an alumnus in person – you will learn a lot about a program from an alum’s firsthand experience and career path since graduation. And those insights can be great information to use in your essays.

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Q) What is the biggest misconception you have encountered when it comes to getting admitted into the Duke MBA program?
A) That there are minimums, of any kind, that would automatically qualify/disqualify someone from admission. Applicants may say, “I know I won’t get in because I don’t have a 700 GMAT/100 TOEFL/3 years of work experience,” and that just isn’t right. Each applicant is considered as an individual, a multi-faceted person who brings more to the class than just his/her statistics. There is no magic number or formula for any part of the application. Everyone has a unique and compelling story, you just have to tell it.


Q) What type of financial aid do you offer to students in your program?
A) First of all, we do offer merit-based financial aid in the form of scholarships. Everyone who applies is considered for merit-based scholarships, and there is no additional requirement or essay in order to be considered. Scholarship decisions will be based on the same criteria we consider for admission, for those individuals who are outstanding in one or more areas of the application. We do also offer financial aid packages, including the International Student Loan program, which allows non-U.S. students to borrow 90% of the cost of attendance with no U.S. co-signer required.


Q) How do you think a Duke MBA differs from an MBA at any other institution?
A) If you ever read anything about Fuqua or talked to any of our students or alumni, you have heard the term “Team Fuqua.” Team Fuqua is a real thing – it’s tangible on campus and it affects your entire Fuqua experience, from application to student life to alumni involvement. This means that if you come to campus as a visitor, our students will come up to you and offer to show you around or answer your questions. They may invite you to lunch or even, if the time is right, to come with them to a Duke basketball game. It means that as a student, you will prep together with your classmates for an important job interview, even if you are all interviewing for the same position. Our students genuinely want success not only for themselves, but for their teammates. And as an alum, that legacy and support continues. If you ever need to consult an old professor on a project, or reach out to a fellow alum you’ve never met at a company you want to work for, you will find a welcoming supporter. Team Fuqua is really what defines us and makes this experience truly transformational.


Q) Any last words you would like to share with prospective MBA students?
A) It may sound cliché, but be yourself in this process, that’s the best advice I can give anyone. No matter how polished and well-written your application may be, if it isn’t reflective of who you really are, that inauthenticity is what comes through. Spend time getting to know yourself and your motivations for pursuing an MBA, and spend time getting to know the schools to which you are applying. Make your applications specific and reflective of your individual story. The best applications are the ones in which the voice and story of the applicant is consistent through all parts of the application.


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fuquaAuthor bio:
Allison Jamison is the Director of Recruitment and Marketing for The Duke MBA – Daytime and MMS programs at The Fuqua School of Business. Allison joined the Admissions team at Fuqua in 2006, and has spent most of her career at Fuqua focused on recruitment outreach and communications. As a proud Army spouse, Allison also serves as Fuqua’s military liaison for applicants and students. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Commerce from the University of Virginia and an MBA from the University of Texas.


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