It’s application time for the MMS program! As an Admissions Ambassador, I’m often in contact with those involved in the admissions process, so I thought I’d see if they have any tips or insight to offer for those of you who may currently be applying to the program:

Cathy Johnson (MMS ’10),
MMS Admissions Counselor Says:

The essays have changed a bit this year (and will likely change again next year because we’re not satisfied with the responses we’ve received), but in general we’re looking for:

  • Personality — Give specific details about your teamwork experiences or your career goals rather than generalizations like “I’m a strong leader,” “I’m really good at moderating,” etc.
  • Examples — Give us concrete examples for the topics we’re asking about. For the teamwork essay, choose a personal situation that you can talk about in detail and elaborate on.
  • Self-awareness — What did you learn about yourself in that experience? What did you learn about your teamwork/leadership abilities?
  • Writing skills — This should be obvious, but spell check your essays and make sure your essays flow in an easily comprehensible manner.

Steve Misuraca (Daytime MBA ’09),
Associate Director of Admissions Says:

The most common mistake that prospective students make is not investing enough time in understanding the mission, extra-curricular offerings, and culture of Fuqua, and the resources that Fuqua offers to help students achieve both their personal and professional goals. Many applicants use the same approach that they used for applying to undergrad schools, even though it is a completely different process. You apply to many different undergrad institutions, but only a handful of master’s programs, so as a master’s program, we’re looking for a personal touch, and we’re trying to see if you can be a good fit at Fuqua. After four years of undergrad, you should now have more fully developed narratives. We look at things like internships, your involvement both inside and outside the classroom, and your passion to determine your potential impact at a place like Fuqua.

Be yourself, a lot of students think that they have to present a certain type of application, but what we really want to know is who you are, and how you want to make a difference at Fuqua. We’re looking for students who will leave the school better than they found it. At Fuqua, we place a high emphasis on diversity, so we’re not looking for one set type of student.

Maybe you’re asking whether your GMAT and GPA are good enough, or if you’re a good fit for the program. First of all, we don’t look at just any one factor, we look at how all the components of your application and personality fit together. We look at the potential impact you could have on the school. So rather than ask if you are a good fit for the program, we would prefer that you show awareness in your own profile. There are things that you can go back and fix, like a GMAT or GRE score, and things that you can’t like GPA. Having this awareness ahead of time, knowing what the gaps are, and trying to fill those gaps (by maybe taking a class) shows initiative.

Most importantly, we’re looking for students who are going to bring passion and leave an impact.

Stephanie Brookes,
Program Manager for Europe Says:

A lot of people worry about their GMAT score. This is of course tremendously important, however, there are many aspects to an application, and it is important to remember that we include all the criteria for a reason! Please know that every application gets read and read again, regardless of the GMAT score. Therefore, the person you are, highlighted in the most part by your essays are equally crucial. We are not just trying to admit people with the highest GMAT scores, we are looking to admit the best class we can with unique skill sets and personalities who have interesting work experiences and high personal achievements with a passion for life and an interest in those around them (good team players and leaders).

Scott Goldman (MMS ’10)
Project Manager for East Asia Says:

I think MMS is a very individual program and degree. Everyone comes into it with different desires, backgrounds, professional strengths and weaknesses, etc. The more you are self-aware, the more successful you will be. If you look at MMS as an entry to all of the wonderful resources at Duke and actively take advantage of what the school has to offer, than you will be very successful. If you passively wait for jobs, opportunities, resources, etc. to present themselves, then you may not have as enriching an experience as possible.

Lastly, the team aspect of the school and program is very important and wonderful. People really go out of their way to share what they are good at and ask for help in areas of need. Again, going back to the self-awareness piece, I think it is important to understand your strengths and weaknesses so that you can take full advantage of the business school setting.

Dan McCleary,
Regional Director for India & Director of Program Strategy Says:

When I do MMS recruitment events in India, I receive a lot of questions about the application process. The biggest concern that potential applicants have is how the admissions committee will view their business experience, or lack thereof. Fortunately, the admissions committee understands that very few applicants will have business experience or education. The best way to demonstrate that you understand the challenges of MMS is your ability to discuss your translatable skills. You want to convince the admissions committee that your background in humanities, engineering, or the sciences will make you both a well-rounded candidate as well as someone who can connect the dots from their past to a future career.

So, now that you have more insight, do you feel more prepared to apply? Check out additional info online, and send an email to if you still have questions.