I have been in Admissions at Fuqua for almost 10 years, and I have to say that each new application year is always exciting. Who will I meet through the application process this year? What will I learn? What individual transformations will I be witness to as I meet prospective Master of Management Studies students and watch them become applicants and ultimately members of the Fuqua community?

Among all the various responsibilities we have as Admissions staff members, this one—shaping the incoming class—is the most important. And the most fun.

Our Admissions team takes great care to get to know each and every applicant as well as we can through the process. We are always looking for new and better ways to engage and to really help you understand the Fuqua culture. More importantly, we want to know you authentically, and we work to refine our application as part of that ‘getting to know you’ process.

For the 2015 – 2016 Master of Management Studies application (MMS), our team has made 3 key changes that we hope will improve your application experience while simultaneously helping us get to know you even better.

Master of Management Studies Duke Kunshan University Admissions open house

An Admissions open house at Duke Kunshan University

No English as a Second Language Test Requirement

Perhaps the biggest change to our application for both MMS: Foundations of Business (MMS: FOB) and MMS: Duke Kunshan University (MMS: Duke Kunshan) this year is that we are no longer requiring an English proficiency test (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE) for applicants whose native language is not English.

This is not because we don’t think English fluency important. To the contrary, we know that high English proficiency is critical to a student’s academic, extracurricular, and professional success. What we do believe, however, is that there are many other ways for us to gain an understanding of language proficiency.

Your essays, recommendations, GMAT/GRE scores, and your interview are all important points for the Admissions Committee to consider. These areas together give us great insight into whether you have the language skills required to succeed. If you’re a non-native English speaker and have already taken a language proficiency exam, we encourage you to submit those scores with your application. However, the scores are not required for your application to be considered complete.

It is our hope that this change will also make the application a little smoother for international students. It can be challenging to schedule these language exams as dates and locations are sometimes sparse. We believe that this change will also make the MMS application process more accessible to applicants around the world.

Updating Our Essay Questions

For this year’s MMS application, we made a couple of notable changes. First of all, in the short essay questions we have doubled the amount of space you have (up to 500 characters) to tell us why you are interested in either MMS program, what your career goals are, and what your ‘Plan B’ is if those immediate goals are not realized. We challenge you to still be succinct while demonstrating your thought process and self-reflection, but by doubling the character limit, you now have more space to provide extra detail in your responses. We have also updated the long essay questions for both MMS: FOB and MMS: Duke Kunshan.

Both programs ask applicants to share a list of “25 Random Things” about themselves, and this essay is unchanged from last year. Our Admissions Committee members really love this essay, and love the chance to get to know each applicant’s personality through these unique lists. Click here to read more from a student on her thoughts regarding this essay.

MMS: FOB applicants now have a choice between one of 2 long essays. One asks them to share information about how they will approach a career search, and one asks how you will engage as a student while you are here. While these essays are different, the thing they have in common is we want to see that you have done your homework, and that you know about the resources and opportunities available at Duke. We want to see that you have thought about how you will leverage those resources, either in the career search or in your professional and personal development, but also that you recognize the things that you can bring to the class based on your experiences and passions. So, not only how Fuqua can help you, but how you can help Fuqua. The strongest essays will cover both sides of this question.

Given the unique format and nature of the MMS: Duke Kunshan program, we ask a different question of those applicants. The Admissions Committee is seeking to learn what about an applicant’s background and experiences will allow them to add value to the experience of the class as a whole. As our students will be fully immersed in 2 different cultures through the MMS: Duke Kunshan program, we want to understand how you will contribute in each of these environments. The strongest responses will reflect not only evidence of research into what the experience is like now for our students, but also how an individual’s interests, life experiences, and backgrounds will have an impact on what the program may be like in the future. As with the MMS: FOB essays, we want to know both what you will get out of the program as well as what you will bring to it.

Opportunity to Schedule Your Admissions Interview During a Campus Visit

Interviews for both MMS programs have always been by invitation only, and most of our interviews will be scheduled in this way: following each application deadline the Admissions Committee will review applications and then extend invitations to interview. The invitation interviews may take place on our campus in Durham, or via Skype.

Additionally, this year we are giving applicants the opportunity to schedule your own Admissions interview, without a need for an invitation, during a self-initiated campus visit. Any student interested in either MMS: FOB or MMS: Duke Kunshan is encouraged to utilize our online scheduling tool to come to Durham and visit us (meet with students and Admissions officers and/or visit a class). This year you may also select to have your official Admissions interview as part of this visit. You do not need to have submitted your application yet to schedule the interview.

For those students who are able to visit, we wanted you to make the absolute most out of your visit and thus added the interview to the list of options for you to schedule. Again, our hope is to make the application process as easy as possible for interested students. Note that self-scheduled interviews are given the same weight and consideration as invitation-only interviews, so there is no advantage to one over the other.

We encourage you to get to know Duke’s MMS programs better—through virtual sessions, school fairs, via email, through our website, or during a campus visit. You can visit our respective Admissions events pages for (MMS: FOB and MMS: Duke Kunshan) to see a listing of upcoming information sessions and the application instructions pages (MMS: FOB and MMS: Duke Kunshan) for information on how to apply.

The online application is available now, and we hope you are excited to begin the MMS application process. We will look forward to meeting you, in person or virtually, throughout the year!