Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog
Fuqua Application Insight: Some of Our 25 Random Things
For the last several years, Fuqua’s MBA application has included the essay question that asks you to provide 25 random things about yourself—essentially 25 interesting facts. That question is back for the 2015-2016 application year, so we wanted to provide some insight on how you might approach it.
The Fuqua Admissions team wants to get to know you beyond the basic test scores and resume, and the essays help achieve this. As an applicant, the topic can be a refreshing break from more traditional application essays, so give it your best effort, but above all—just have fun with it!
Here are five random things from each of our application essays:
- In 2009, I completed ‘life goal #1’ when I ran the NYC Marathon. OK, more like I ran/walked it, and then hobbled across the finish line. But I finished it, and to me, that’s what counts.
- One of my other, slightly more ambitious life goals is to visit every country in the world. So far I’ve been to 20 different countries, so I’ve still got a lot of traveling to do!
- My work at Food Network afforded me two TV appearances. The first was in the premiere episode of season five of Food Network Star—in the back, behind Giada DeLaurentiis’s head. (What, you don’t recognize me?) The other was a slot on New York’s Pix11 Morning News, representing FoodNetworkStore.com on live TV to talk about holiday gift ideas.
- Serving in the Peace Corps in Madagascar and receiving my government-issue mountain bike turned me into a biking addict. At first, it was a big deal for me to bike 8km up the road, but then I started biking 40km, then 60km, then finally up to 100km in one day! One of the best things I did while in Madagascar was a 3-day, 230km ride through the unpaved roads of the southeast coastal region with three of my Peace Corps friends.
- My philosophy on airplanes is that because we’re all stuck together enduring an unpleasant experience, I might as well be a beacon of kindness and civility and try to impart as much positive energy into the situation as I can. One of the most amazing experiences I had with this was when I asked a woman with a baby if she needed help lifting her suitcase into the overhead. Instead of giving me her suitcase, she gave me her newborn to hold!
- I launched the “Sad Irish Fan” campaign after I was (unfortunately) caught on TV, dejected, during the BCS National Championship game between Alabama and my alma mater, Notre Dame. The campaign became a national news story and raised a lot of money for leukemia research.
- I am a master crane machine operator…at the arcade. I started a South Park plush dolls eBay business in 1998 based entirely on my success with the crane.
- I was recently quoted as an expert on eBay selling in U.S. News and World Report. While the South Park dolls are gone, today I am a ‘Powerseller’ and ‘Top Seller’ on the auction site.
- I started my first business, a neighborhood candy stand, at age 8, and the next year I hired my brother and sister to ‘franchise’ a new stand a couple streets away. I drove my mom crazy by having her drive to the local wholesale warehouse to buy bulk candy.
- My role model is Tim Russert, a man for whom I had the honor to work before he passed away. His incredible talent was impressive, but it was his caring, principled and gregarious personality that to me, as an intern, was a formative and early example of a ‘Leader of Consequence.’ I consider working for him my greatest privilege, and I miss his presence in the news every day.
- My first job was working as a waitress at a diner that was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Each employee, from the front to the back of the house, contributed to the customer experience. This summer job offered a great lesson in teamwork and the value that each part of an organization contributes to the final product.
- I was a coxswain on my high school rowing team for four years; my boat won second place in a national championship race in my junior year. Though most people think all I did was yell into a microphone, this role greatly shaped me as a leader, a team member, and a strategist.
- I discovered my interest in marketing while participating in a case competition my freshman year. I continued to compete in case competitions throughout college. My senior year, my team was sponsored to represent our university at a competition in Thailand.
- Many of my best friends live across the country and one way we stay connected is by traveling to compete in running races together.
- By the end of my ten-week undergraduate internship I was managing two other interns. I was able to earn the respect of my peers because of my sense of confidence and my enthusiasm for the work. Those qualities were more powerful than a job title.
- I moved to Minneapolis after graduation to work for Target Corporation. My first winter there was quite the experience. I now judge how cold the weather is based on if my nostril hairs freeze.
- The longest distance I had ever run in college was a 5K. When I saw pictures of several friends dressed up at the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I knew I had to sign up. I convinced two other friends to train and run the race. All three of us completed the race this February wearing tutus. Seeing that finish line was one of my proudest moments.
- The summer between my sophomore and junior year I worked in a fly lab. My basic responsibility was to collect virgin female flies and mate them. By the end of the summer I could distinguish female and male flies without using a microscope.
- I speak fluent Mandarin Chinese, and I try my best to speak it with my parents but tend to lapse into a mixture of Chinese and English. At best I can probably read and write at a first or second grade level. My youngest cousin knows more characters than I do!
- I love baking. A good friend from Duke introduced me to the world of break and bake cookies, and my hobby just took off from there. I now keep a blog on all my baking adventures. You can check it out at easypeasybaking.tumblr.com.
See more examples from and insight on Fuqua’s 25 Random Things essay