July 21, 2019

Duke Fuqua School of Business MBA Essay 1

Duke Fuqua

Fuqua's 25 Random Things Essay

Fuqua believes different types of people, points of view, and experiences bring out the best in everyone. And above all, we place a premium on succeeding while making a positive impact on businesses, organizations, and the world. These ways of thinking set the Duke MBA experience apart, and this concept 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.

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 two pages.


Random, folks. The absolute worst way to play this is to “clearly not have fun with it.” If you take this too seriously, and look at it like an opportunity to impress them with more achievements, you’re going to bore them to tears, and potentially turn them off. To avoid having fun with it will almost GUARANTEE that they conclude that “this is the type of person who is incapable of having fun.” That person is going to be a net negative on campus. We’re looking for “wins.” People who ADD to the community. Those people have personalities. Charm. Wit. Playfulness. Spirit. If this isn’t in you… you’d better get it fast.

Random doesn’t mean “by itself.” It has to tell us something about you. Example:

“A hummingbird flaps its wings about 70 times in a second.”

Great. But… this tells us what about you?

The random thing must give us a key to your coolness, your quirkiness, your… self. Somehow.

“When I was nine years old, in charge of “snacks” for a class camp out, I brought croissants. That was the day I realized I was not only born on the wrong continent, but in the wrong century.”

See the difference? This is revealing. Endearing. Self-deprecating. Tells us something about the author. 25 things like that.

Also, don’t be afraid to get creative. Make up your own conceits to GET you to a place of 25 random things:

“If I had to pick five celebrities to start a brand new civilization, they would be: Person (witty reason), Person 2 (witty reason), etc etc.” Don’t steal that, cuz it’ll look suspicious when several people submit the same thing! But you see the IDEA here, that you can literally invent ANY NUMBER of cool premises to help you reveal something about yourself and your attitudes.


You can also read through our team’s analysis of the rest of Fuqua’s application essays.

Learn more and explore each step of Fuqua’s full-time MBA application process here.

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