Fuqua Application Insight: Our 25 Random Things

Fuqua Application Insight - 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:

Emily Silman

  1. Duke MBA student blogger Emily Silman provides Fuqua application insight and shares some of the 25 Random things from her application essayIn 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

Dan Tudesco

  1. Duke MBA student blogger Dan Tudesco provides Fuqua application insight and shares some of the 25 Random things from his application essayI 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Emmy Komada

  1. Duke MBA student blogger Emmy Komada provides Fuqua application insight and shares some of the 25 Random things from her application essayI don’t have a middle name, but I do have two first names: Emi and Emmy, depending on which passport I’m using. Discrepancies between the name on my ticket and the name on my passport have gotten me within a hair’s width of missing several flights.
  2. I once performed a lip-sync on live TV in Ruzhou, Henan Province.
  3. Monologues I can recite from memory include: the president’s speech in Independence Day, Henry’s discourse on love in Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, and all of Sebastian’s breakdowns in The Little Mermaid.
  4. I have driven across the U.S., ridden five 50-plus hour trains, biked through Ireland, rock climbed in Yangshuo and Yosemite, led hiking trips in Vermont, and hitchhiked across the Tibetan plateau. But am a total homebody at heart.
  5. I get very competitive at trivia night.

Emily Madden

  1. Duke MBA student blogger Emily Madden provides Fuqua application insight and shares some of the 25 Random things from her application essayMy 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Many of my best friends live across the country and one way we stay connected is by traveling to compete in running races together.
  5. 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.

Connie Chai

  1. Duke MBA student blogger Connie Chai provides Fuqua application insight and shares some of the 25 Random things from her application essayI 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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

Duke Fuqua MBA student blogger Emmy Komada shares some of the 25 Random things from her application essay

Emmy Komada

Daytime MBA, Class of 2016

Born in Tokyo, but raised largely in L.A., I completed my undergrad studies in Vermont. I have a background in nonprofit development and have been actively engaged in campus activities related to that, and several other areas of interest.

Learn more about Emmy | View all of Emmy's Posts

Duke Fuqua MBA student blogger Dan Tudesco shares some of the 25 Random things from his application essay

Dan Tudesco

Daytime MBA, Class of 2016

Born and raised in Poughkeepsie, New York, I’ve lived in the Midwest (Indiana), DC and New York City, which easily makes Durham my warmest and favorite climate I’ve lived in. While here, I intend on developing my PR background into a marketing skillset, and also learning quite a bit about entrepreneurship. My passions are extremely varied; I love talking about everything from Duke basketball to the latest tech products to why Snooze on the West Coast is the best breakfast place in the world!

Learn more about Dan | View all of Dan's Posts

Duke Fuqua MBA student blogger Emily Silman shares some of the 25 Random things from her application essay

Emily Silman

Daytime MBA, Class of 2016

I grew up and attended undergrad in the northeastern U.S. and worked in New York for a few years before realizing I wanted a career that would make more of an impact. So I joined the Peace Corps—working in Madagascar—I’ll be leveraging my experience as a commercial strategy MBA associate for Delta Airlines after Fuqua.

Learn more about Emily | View all of Emily's Posts

Duke Fuqua MBA student blogger Emily Madden shares some of the 25 Random things from her application essay

Emily Madden

Daytime MBA, Class of 2016

I'm born and raised on the East Coast and have a background in marketing that will remain my focus after graduation. Being involved with the visual arts, eating at my favorite restaurants and going for runs on the campus trail near Fuqua are a few of the things I enjoy outside of the classroom.

Learn more about Emily | View all of Emily's Posts

Duke Fuqua MBA student blogger Connie Chai shares some of the 25 Random things from her application essay

Connie Chai

Daytime MBA, Class of 2016

I'm excited to return to Durham after completing my undergraduate studies at Duke. I look forward to combining classroom learning and experiential learning as I explore different career options in the healthcare industry. In the meantime I'll be involved with Admissions activities and cheering on the basketball team in Cameron!

Learn more about Connie | View all of Connie's Posts