During winter break I had some time to answer emails from prospective students, and I received some new questions. It’s a great time to get in those questions, with interviews coming up and more application deadlines approaching. (Learn more on the Daytime Apply page.)

I wanted to share some of the advice I’ve been giving out, which should be similar to what you may have heard at one of our Admissions Travel Team events in Chicago, Dallas or Miami!

What are your suggestions for the admissions interview?

I think a great thing to focus on when interviewing for any program is not only what you want to get out of the school, but what you feel you can give back. As in, what lasting impact will you have while you are here? What exactly do you plan on doing in your club involvements? Maybe you have an idea for a new organization or event that could live on after you graduate? How about a way to connect to the rest of the university community or the city?

Things like that always stand out to me, and it shows that you want to teach as much as you learn by giving back to the school, helping fellow students, and contributing your skills for the benefit of others.

What mistakes should I avoid during the interview?

The biggest mistake I see as an Admissions Fellow/interviewer is a lack of preparation. You should be prepared to answer the basic questions: why an MBA, why now, and especially, why this particular school? Why do you want to get your MBA from Fuqua? What professional and personal reasons do you have?

Providing generic answers that could apply to any school do not come across as strongly as it could if your answers are more specific to Fuqua. I would remember this for your essays as well!

I also suggest getting your stories straight for any behavioral questions that you may be asked. Also, be engaging and ready to ask questions of your own.

Finally, I think it’s important to be genuine. Tell us about things that you’re really proud of, not what you think we want to hear, just because you feel it sounds impressive. It’s great to be able to tie those really personal accomplishments to what you can achieve at Duke.

What is a good strategy to take to improve my chance of being admitted?

Have a strong application that you feel confident to submit, with essays that you put a lot of thought into. Go into the interview prepared and know exactly why you want to be at Fuqua. Know what you expect to get out of the program as well as what you want to give back to the school. Bring your best GMAT score and highlight past experiences that you can bring to the table – that’s the best you can do!

All parts of the application are important, but remember that Admissions looks at your application as a whole. Don’t get too discouraged if you think one part is lacking. You never know, it may very well be balanced out by another part of your application!

Besides the interviewer, who else will contribute to the evaluation of my application?

The admissions committee includes reviewers who carefully look at the application. Interviewers (typically second-year students) only see your resume, not your entire application. Everyone’s opinion is taken into account, and I know everyone puts a lot of time and dedication into the admissions process to make sure we give you the opportunity you deserve!

Learn more about the interview process.