After spending hours of research, you’ve finally determined Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business is where you are meant to further your education. You want to make the most of your MQM application so that you can join Team Fuqua, and I’m here to help guide you on how.

First things first, it’s important to realize that Fuqua takes a very holistic approach to its admissions process. We admissions counselors are not just looking at applications for the numbers. We are, in fact, searching for students who truly want to embrace the Team Fuqua spirit, who want success for their entire team, and aren’t just in it for themselves.

So how do we find people who will become contributing members of our community? We carefully read every single application submitted to us from start to beginning, and evaluate each on five categories:

  • Academics
  • Work History
  • Leadership and Community Involvement
  • Recommendation
  • Essays

After reviewing these materials, we then decide who we want to invite to interview with us, as all admitted students must be interviewed. Your interview with us is the sixth category of our admissions process. Each category I’ve mentioned is just as important to us as another, so let’s dive into them.


Typically the biggest concern our applicants have is their academics, but let me remind you—we aren’t just looking at the numbers. Your test score is just as important to us as your leadership and community involvement, work history, essays, so on and so forth. That being said, academics are an indicator of your success, so of course they are important. Within the academics section, we’re going to review any institutions attended, your GPA, the courses you’ve taken, and finally, your test score. We accept SAT, ACT, GMAT or GRE test scores for the MQM application, and we do not have a preference for one exam over another.

Work History

In this section of the application, we want to see your most relevant work experience. Our one-year master’s programs do not have a minimum length requirement for work history, as we realize some of our applicants may not have much work experience and are coming straight from their undergraduate career. That being said, you should still list any part-time or full-time work or internships in your application. One other piece of advice—keep that resume to one page! If you need to cut anything out to make it one page, a good place to start is with any volunteer experience, as you can include it in the Leadership and Community Involvement section of your application. Speaking of that section…

Leadership and Community Involvement

All too often, applicants skip this section of their application. This hurts my admissions counselor heart! Have I mentioned your leadership and community involvement is just as important to us as academics? In this section of the application, we’re asking applicants to list all leadership experiences and community involvement activities in which you have been active during or after your university studies. Be sure to indicate the nature of the activity or organization, your role and contribution to the organization, the dates of involvement, and the time devoted to each. We are eager to find contributing members of Team Fuqua. Your past involvement is a strong indicator of your future involvement.


For our application, we only require one recommender, and we typically prefer that it comes from someone who knows you in a professional context, such as a former supervisor. We understand that applicants applying to our one-year master’s programs may not have a supervisor they can use, which is completely fine. If that’s the case, try to find a professor of a small class who knew you well. Asking the president of your institution probably won’t be the best idea, unless they know you, of course!


Essays are by far my favorite part of the application. This is where admissions counselors can really get a better sense of who you are, why Fuqua, why a specific program, how you plan to be involved, etc. Have you started working on your 25 Random Things yet? This is something truly unique and special to Fuqua. Further, is there anything in your application that you’re really itching to explain? Perhaps your GPA is lower because you started in the wrong major but then switched majors, and your grades started skyrocketing? The Optional Essay is the perfect place to explain anything and everything that you think may give the admissions committee pause. We really do want to get to know you and your personal situation, so I urge you to take advantage of the Optional Essay!


So, you’ve nailed the MQM application and you’ve received the glorious news that we want to interview you. What should you do other than make a post on social media to brag to your friends and family? The answer is to research, connect, and practice. We aren’t going to ask you technical questions in the interview, but we will make sure you know what Team Fuqua means and ask what your career goals are. Connect with current students or alumni and ask them for advice. Finally, practice. This is a real interview, after all!

Final Suggestions

Attend virtual events (we have SO many), connect with alumni and current students, and continually monitor your program of interest’s website. As the world is ever-changing, our requirements may change, too! Lastly, remember you are not just a number to us. Your MQM application and each of its components are very important! I hope this helps you, and if not, reach out to us!