If you’re a prospective student reading this blog, chances are you’re already aware of the “25 Random Things” essay that is part of the application. But how should you approach writing it? Here are some examples from our essays that might help spark some of your own ideas.

Maddy Conway

  1. My instinct is always to believe the best in people until proven otherwise. Cut me off on the highway? I choose to assume you’re in a rush for a good reason—maybe a sick kid at home, or late for a job interview. I’m an optimistic person, and I believe in the benefit of the doubt. 
  2. At age five, when our pet fish died, I’m told that I turned calmly to my mother and asked if we could eat them. While slightly concerning, I take this to mean that my practical streak runs very deep. 
  3. One finals period in college, I was introduced to the song “Ocean,” by the John Butler Trio. It’s a 12-minute long instrumental triumph, and I listened to it 116 times over the course of a single weekend (over 23 hours’ worth, if you’re doing the math). To this day, “Ocean” is my most effective tool to combat writer’s block.
  4. Instead of buying a ring, my husband and I took an “engagement trip” to the western coast of Newfoundland, where we climbed on metamorphosed mantel rock (#geologynerds), met a moose that we named Muenster, and camped outside in balmy 40-degree Fahrenheit June weather. All our fellow tourists were Canadian retirees. It was the best trip I’ve ever taken.
  5. In another life, I would be a radio journalist. I absolutely love NPR.

Yun Hong

  1. I decided to pursue my undergrad studies in Japan to learn about the country. Without being able to speak a word of Japanese, I found part-time work as soon as I could. Washing dishes, making beds in hotels, cleaning buses, teaching English, and mowing golf courses, I ended up picking up the language faster than any of my Japanese course classmates and was the first in my class to get Japanese Language Proficiency Test Level 1.
  2. I once missed a flight by losing track of time at the Hong Kong History Museum, and without credit card or cash, I ended up spending the entire day asking for help from strangers to get back to Japan. I tried to convince them that I could pay them back once I was back in Japan, and couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t believe me. After 11 hours, I was nowhere closer to getting myself a ticket but had made friends with a middle-aged man from Columbia who was in a similar situation and spoke no English.
  3. While trying to decide which business school to go to, I was offered a Fuqua T-shirt by a friend who got into Fuqua 10 years ago but did not enroll. This random hand-me-down became yet another sign for me to apply to Fuqua.
  4. In my drawer at work, I always had four or five different prototypes of next-generation vital sign sensing T-shirts and three to four prototypes for wristband sensors. User testing these prototypes was an important part of my routine that helped me communicate effectively with customers and partners.
  5. In the next drawer, I had over 20 different products made by various competitors that I also personally tested thoroughly to study and analyze. In one of the largest software solution companies in Asia, I was known as “the hardware guy.”

Sandeep Panda

  1. I started photography while I was in France 5 years ago—and like most people who have DSLR cameras, started with simple bokeh photographs. It was the beauty of the Notre Dame cathedral at night that inspired me to venture into night photography and I haven’t looked back ever since. I actively follow this still and post my work on 500px. Most of my viewers are from the U.S., Germany, and the U.K.
  2. Interestingly, during my stint at Goldman Sachs, I spoke to people across five continents. However, what made the experience even more global is that I had to interact across seven different time zones—sometimes all in a single day from Australia to Salt Lake City.
  3. I love music. I love both modern as well as classical Indian music and love the contemporary takes on them. I am the co-founder of a nonprofit organization, Snehalata Memorial Foundation, focused on the promotion of Indian Classical Music.
  4. I have been interested in financial markets since my final year in college and created a portfolio of stocks after due diligence. My ROI is 105% on the initial investment in three years.
  5. Hailing from a computer science background, my passion for games was directed into creating alongside playing. I created many small games in college. I also took part in the world game championship challenge to develop a full 3D game and qualified in the top 100. The trailer is here.

Austin Ray

  1. When I was younger, I trained dogs in sheep herding and agility. I did not appreciate either experience at the time, but I’m glad that my parents pushed me to try something unconventional. I’m now open to trying anything once.
  2. I once made GQ.com’s list of “Best Dressed Readers.” I still don’t know who nominated me.
  3. I try to meditate and practice yoga regularly. Throw me in any situation and I’ll always feel at ohm.
  4. I will use a bad pun at every opportunity.
  5. I moved from California to New York to co-found a non profit when I was 24. I only brought a duffel bag with me. No mattress, no furniture, no kitchen utensils; only enough clothes to get through the first season. I didn’t know if the organization would get off the ground, but five years later and it’s still going strong. Seeing a napkin sketch of a dream transform into reality is still one of my proudest achievements.

Courtney Ridenhour

  1. I’m addicted to true crime. I’ll read, watch, or listen to anything related to it.
  2. On that note, I think working in the Behavioral Analysis Unit at the FBI would be the coolest thing. A slight obsession with how people think and what makes people tick might be what got me into the world of advertising and marketing.
  3. In college, I led backpacking trips for incoming freshmen. Part of our training included a wilderness first aid course. Because of this training, I can now make a splint out of anything. Show me a jacket, a bandana, and two sticks, I see a leg brace. It’s my only party trick.
  4. My favorite day in New York is the first Sunday in November—the day of the TCS New York City Marathon. The city shows up. The streets are lined. People are cheering for strangers. There’s a real sense of community. I volunteered for the race a couple of times, and have always made a point to watch and cheer. I finally got to run the marathon last fall. The race was a tough one, but it was one of the coolest experiences. Crossing that finish line is a moment I will never forget.
  5. I have a bad binge-watching habit. But I’m super up-to-speed on all things Netflix. I will say, as a small redemption, that this habit pairs well with marathon training.