Think US Top 10 MBA, and you automatically think Fuqua. Duke Fuqua MBA is renowned not just across America, but across the world. Fuqua’s community and its unique model of leadership are known by recruiters, alumni, and potential applicants alike. Add to that over 11 concentrations, outstanding faculty, and a new STEM concentration, and you have a program that few other MBA programs can match, even in the US top 10.
In this interview with GyanOne Universal, Shari Hubert (Associate Dean of Admissions at Duke University) and Dan McCleary (Assistant Dean of EMBA and One Year Masters Programs) discuss multiple topics of high relevance to potential Fuqua applicants. These include their insights into Fuqua culture, what Fuqua looks for in MBA applicants, jobs for international candidates at Fuqua, the Fuqua MMS and Duke MEMP programs, and of course, much more.
After going through this interview, you will feel not just a few kwa, but indeed many kwa to want to attend this outstanding school and program. There, and now we’ve taught you how to pronounce the school’s name too!
GyanOne: What differentiates Fuqua culture from that of other schools?
Fuqua MBA Admissions: At Fuqua, we have students who don’t just have professional strengths, but also display strong leadership, engagement, and involvement. Fuqua culture is all about looking beyond just one’s personal achievements, and pitching in to lift the entire community. The community is very much at the center of Fuqua life, but it is individuals that make up the community, so every story is important. So, for example, we have Fuqua Talks, which are about self-reflection and appreciating differences; every participating student has 15 minutes to share his/her personal story (the format is more like that of TED talks). Through each other’s experience, everyone learns, and everyone grows, and that’s what growing through the community is all about.
GyanOne: Tell us about the most distinctive and unique aspects of the Fuqua MBA program
Fuqua MBA Admissions: We have over 11 concentration that are part of the full-time MBA (Fuqua calls it the Daytime MBA) program. We also have the newly-introduced Management Science and Technology Management (MSTeM) concentration, which is STEM-designated. Further, we have a number of experiential learning opportunities (including the unique Client Consulting Practicum) that allow students to work for both for-profit and non-profit organizations and to build their skill sets in each area. We also have multiple courses that are truly cutting-edge, including the very popular ‘Raising Capital in FinTech’, another course on Cryptoventures and Blockchain, a new course on Women and Leadership, and one on Advanced Corporate Strategies (with Professor Ronnie Chatterji), that focuses on issues of CEO activism.
GyanOne: What careers post-Fuqua are most attractive for international and Indian students? Are there careers that international students find difficult to get into?
Fuqua MBA Admissions: Areas like Consumer Products and CPG will always be more difficult for international students to get into, but that does not mean that there is any dearth of opportunity. Last year, Indian students were incredibly successful, getting 100% employment, and going to companies such as McKinsey, BCG, and Amazon, among other. In domains such as Finance, the growth of FinTech has served international and Indian students well. Overall, while there are sectors that international students will find tough to make it to, the scenario for jobs is quite robust at Fuqua for them.
GyanOne: Tell us about the Fuqua MBA MSTeM concentration and how it works.
Fuqua MBA Admissions: This is one of our most popular concentrations now, and around 75% of our international students have opted for it. Most people, though, do another concentration on top of it. So, for example, if you want to get into consulting, you may pair the MSTeM concentration with another on Strategy. Therefore, not everyone pursuing MSTeM is doing it to get into a technology role necessarily. Also, of course, pursuing the MSTeM has other advantages for international students. When employers know that somebody they are hiring has an ability to stay longer in the US even if they don’t win the (H1B) visa lottery, it does give those students an edge in recruitments as well.
GyanOne: Sometimes, Fuqua’s Early Action round can be confusing to applicants, because they wonder if applying in Early Action will deny them scholarships because they are already committed to Fuqua, if accepted in this round. Does Fuqua’s Early Action round have any advantage over applying in the (immediately next) Round 1?
Fuqua MBA Admissions: You should be applying to Fuqua in Early Action if we are your number 1 choice. If you want to keep your options open, go for Round 1, and know that you will not be disadvantaged in any way. Also, it is a myth that scholarships are not awarded to Early Action applicants. We provide scholarships across every round, including EA.
GyanOne: Given that Fuqua’s essays tend to be more personal than professional, how are MBA applications at Fuqua evaluated? What elements are important?
Fuqua MBA Admissions: We start off with the Resume which is reviewed as a longer essay, and look at past achievements, impact, and leadership. The recommendation reviews are very important to us too. In the essays, we want to understand you as an individual, especially if you have a common professional profile. So, things like travel, leadership opportunities, and passions and skills beyond the professional ones are important, as they help us to gauge the potential impact you will create at Fuqua. That said, we are shortly revamping some of the shorter essays in the application now to make them more career focused. The longer essays will remain the same.