The “25 Random Things About Yourself” essay is an essential part of the MQM application. While it can be daunting at first, it’s an opportunity for self-reflection. As you’ll see, we each approached our list a little differently.

Here are some of our random things.

Kendall Likosar wearing backpacking gear during her Tour Du Mont Blanc in summer 2023

Kendall Likosar

  1. I hate the question, “Where are you from?” I moved around the United States, and even internationally, nine times growing up, meaning I struggled immensely to come up with an accurate, yet succinct, answer. Although I detested these frequent moves as a kid, they taught me to make genuine friendships and adapt to new circumstances incredibly quickly.
  2. My parents met at and graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and I was raised as a Tarheel—tough, I know. All four of our family dogs growing up were named after their alma mater, however, I have been successfully converted and am now as big a Duke fan as they come.
  3. I have been certified as an emergency medical technician (EMT) since I was 18, when I took an intensive three-month course on wilderness emergency medicine during a gap year before college. I felt entirely out of my element. I was the youngest in my group by far and one of the few women. It was one of the most physically and emotionally challenging things I have ever done, but it taught me that I can do hard things.
  4. Ironically, being director of Duke’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) agency was the catalyst of my switch from health care to business. Working with Duke Hospital, navigating relationships with external EMS agencies, and overseeing our members exposed me to many business concepts and I fell in love with that aspect of EMS.
  5. I am a huge proponent of something called type 2 fun, experiences that may not be “fun” by the classic definition of the word (and in fact may border on miserable) but are incredible memories. Examples include activities like arduous backpacking trips, never-ending road trips with friends, and training for a marathon.
  6. According to Spotify, I listened to 61.16 days of music last year, which is a bit frightening to me. I have music on all the time—when I’m reading, relaxing, working out, and spending time with friends. I will listen to almost anything and have an incredibly diverse music taste, although country holds a special place in my heart.
  7. I have an obsession with hoodies, particularly those with my favorite bands or sports teams on them. The thicker and larger the better. My collection has grown at an unprecedented rate and, even when I am visiting my family in Florida, I wear one nearly every day.
  8. One of my favorite books of all time is Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild. Although the main character, Chris McCandless, is admittedly a bit divisive and rebellious, I have always been inspired by his unwavering courage and commitment to what he cares about.
  9. I obsessively do the New York Times crossword puzzles—regular and mini—nearly every day. I recently beat my mini record with a time of 9 seconds.
Matt French with members of his Fuqua team standing on a platform at a ropes course

Matt French

  1. I love video games, and I try to be somewhat active in the gaming communities that are supportive of each other. It brings some happiness to my day.
  2. My greatest talent is my empathy. I’m very good at putting myself in others’ shoes to understand their points of view. I may not agree, but I can definitely understand.
  3. My greatest accomplishment was getting my master’s research published. I grew up loving reading academic ecology articles relating to things like taxonomy and evolution. I developed a great respect and love for research. My undergraduate advisor wanted me to publish my honors thesis, but I shied away from the idea. When my M.S. advisor asked me if I’d like to try to get published, I knew I shouldn’t turn this opportunity down again.
  4. I’m good at rock climbing.
  5. I don’t like rock climbing because I’m scared of heights.
  6. My nickname in football when I was younger was “Frenchie.” Slowly the name turned into “Crepes” among my friends. “Crepes” seems better to me.
  7. A man chased me with a baseball bat on the first day of my job in Santa Monica while I walked in from the parking lot. He wailed on the front door, and my coworkers met me by calling the police to help me. The man didn’t know me, but he said I looked like someone he didn’t like. Although it’s a funny story in retrospect, it did change how I think strangers view me.
  8. My favorite fruit is a strawberry.
Rutendo Magade, student in the MQM program at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business

Rutendo Magade

  1. In order to read the Harry Potter books during class in high school, I hid them inside my bible. Since I went to a Catholic school, no one ever questioned my devotion to reading scripture so much.
  2. On that note, I read an insane amount of fantasy in my teen years. I finished the entire Twilight series in under a week. I would read them under my blankets with my phone torch after everyone had gone to sleep.
  3. I got a helix piercing in a pop-up in front of a Tesco in Thailand. The man spoke very little English and our conversation included a lot of pointing to my upper ear, after which he took out a four-inch needle and pierced my ear.
  4. I worked at a permaculture farm and coastal restoration center in Florianopolis, Brazil. My work consisted of checking to make sure that our produce was growing well, replanting seedlings along the Brazilian coast, and sunbathing on white sands. It remains, to this day, my most fun work experience.
  5. I randomly decided to join my college’s cross-country team during freshman year with zero running experience. I have never been more fit than I was that year.
  6. I started out as an architecture major in college. My dream was to redesign Harare, the city in which I was born. Having lived in several cities around the world, I had a vision for how Harare could be redesigned to keep up with modern architecture. I eventually outgrew that dream because I realized that it was not a lack of designers that was keeping Zimbabwean architecture from developing, but rather, political turmoil.
  7. In my junior year of college, I completely shaved my head. What I did not anticipate was how weird my showers would feel when all the water droplets fell directly onto my scalp.
  8. The summer before my freshman year, I decided that I wanted to produce a publication that gave Black women, especially dark-skin Black women, the representation that we deserved. I borrowed a camera from a friend and walked around Harare’s downtown area asking to take pictures of random women I met in the streets. It ended up being such an incredible experience for both me and all the women I took photos of, who were touched to have a stranger remind them how beautiful they were.