The Duke MBA Admissions team has made several changes to our application process this year with the goal of increasing accessibility to all applicants, streamlining the process, and providing the greatest number of applicants the opportunity to meet with Duke MBA students and staff in person. We feel that our current application process really helps us get to know our applicants on a very personal level, and so the changes we have made are not major overhauls, but rather revisions and improvements designed to expand the number of applicants we are able to get to know well. Changes to our process this year include revisions to our essay questions, a change in our Early Action deadline, an increase in the number of interviewers, changes in requirements for transcripts, and an expansion of our application fee waiver program. The new application will be live by August 1, and in the meantime here is a preview of the changes I mentioned.

Changes to the Essay Questions

Last year we asked applicants to reply to three short answer questions. This year, we have revised the short answer essays and are asking for only two replies. The questions have been changed to give applicants more opportunity to share their reasons for pursuing an MBA in general. We are also asking applicants to focus more attention on short term career goals, rather than long term goals, given the uncertainty and dependencies of life that are inherent in planning for the long term. The two questions are:

  1. Why is pursuing an MBA the right next step for you? (500 characters, or about 100 words)
  2. What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first-choice career plan and your alternate plan. (500 characters, or about 100 words)

Our two longer response essays, including our iconic 25 Random Things essay, remain the same. We look forward to continuing to learn the personal stories, passions, and unique experiences of our applicants through these essays.

Early Action Deadline Deferred by One Week

Fuqua’s campus visit program, including the Open Interview Period, begins on September 12, 2019. Historically, our Early Action deadline has been the same week that the Open Interview Period begins. This year, we have pushed the Early Action deadline back to September 19, 2019. This gives applicants who are applying in Early Action an extra week to visit campus if they desire. Our hope is that this extra week provides greater access to the Fuqua experience for Early Action applicants, who can then have more opportunity to meet our community before submitting their applications, thereby allowing them to incorporate what they learn into their application.

More Interview Slots Available this Year

The interview is an important part of the application process. Our goal in the coming year is to interview as many applicants as we can, in order to get to know them as well as we can and give them the opportunity to share their story in person. The in-person conversations that take place during the interview are invaluable in understanding the motivations, goals, and personalities of our applicants. We are excited to have the chance to meet with even more applicants in the coming year.

Change in Transcript Requirements

We recognize that the process of collecting all required materials for an MBA application can be a long and complicated one. In order to help make that process a little bit easier, this year we are no longer requiring unofficial transcripts for study abroad programs. The collection of these transcripts can often be challenging given time and distance considerations. Removing this requirement can help relieve some of the time and stress of the document collection process while you are working on your application.

Expansion of the Application Fee Waiver Program

Fuqua has long sponsored a robust application fee waiver program, designed to ensure that the MBA application process is accessible to the greatest number of applicants. In the 2019–2020 application year, we are pleased to expand our fee waiver program to include military veterans of all nations, not just the U.S.

Our team has also revamped our Alumni and Student Endorsement form, which allows Fuqua students and alumni to provide an online endorsement of an applicant, which also qualifies that applicant for an application fee waiver. Additionally, we continue to add participants of partner organizations to our fee waiver program, such as Peace Corps veterans, MLT participants, Forte members, and more. Visit our website for the most up to date listing of qualifying partner organizations.

Finally, we recognize the time and effort it takes for you to attend one of our recruiting events. Therefore, we have continued our program of granting application fee waivers to those who attend our recruiting events, both in person and online.

The Bottom Line: Ease and Accessibility

Each of the changes for this year is designed to continue to enhance the ease and accessibility of applying to Fuqua. The goal of our application process is to get to know as many applicants as well as we can, with the least inconvenience to them while making it a fun and interesting experience. The changes outlined above are added to our list of previous modifications (utilizing the Common Letter of Recommendation, accepting both GMAT and GRE scores, no foreign language test requirement) that together provide applicants with the most accessible, comfortable, and personal application experience possible.