Duke Fuqua MBA Essays: Tips for the 2022 Admissions Cycle

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business

Even though the 2022-2023 MBA application essays have not been released yet, you can start preparing for the essay now! Most MBA programs will highly value the personal statement in your application. So don’t slack on it! Writing a unique essay that captures your individuality while responding to the prompt is a challenging task, but here at Menlo Coaching, we have a comprehensive guide to perfect it. Below, we have included the essay topics for 2021-2022, which we can use as a starting point for our preparations.

Fuqua is looking for students with a well-rounded background and lots of experience that can be translated into a succinct and compelling statement. They especially value teamwork, camaraderie, emotional intelligence, and empathy. One of the essential tips for an impactful essay is asking yourself why you chose to highlight a particular experience. Did it show significant professional development? Did it show how you overcame a personal struggle? Making sure your essay connects to the prompt, especially that it shows why you are pursuing an MBA, will make your essay stand out. No matter what the essay prompt is, these tips are broadly applicable. With that being said, the three different types of essays you will see on the Fuqua application are: personal, career goals, and school participation. 

The Personal Statement Essay

Personal essays encompass your moral character, passions in and out of work, and the relationships you have fostered with friends and mentors. This essay type is where you can show the MBA program who you are as an individual and the intrapersonal impacts you have made on people around you. Fuqua is looking to recruit students who show compassion and enthusiasm in the office and with the people in their lives. Make sure to emphasize where you have shown empathy in your life while explaining how you will contribute positively to the on-campus experience. One of the biggest mistakes students make when writing a personal essay is focusing too much on their professional expertise. 

This essay is where you can move away from talking about your work and speak about who you are outside of your job. Speak with current students and faculty to capture the essence of Fuqua. It shows you’ve done your research and are a genuinely kind, empathetic person in your real life! The personal Fuqua essay prompt is: Please share 25 random things about you. Share with us important life experiences, your hobbies, achievements, fun facts, or anything that helps us understand what makes you who you are.

The Career Goals Essay

The career goals essay is the space to emphasize your post-MBA plans. MBA programs want to accept students who have concrete, achievable career plans and a roadmap to success. MBA programs want a glowing post-grad report that proves they produce successful graduates with many job prospects (and who will donate money in the future)! Fuqua also wants students to promote their program to friends, co-workers, and prospective applicants. The career goals essay combines your hard statistics (ex: GMAT score) with your interpersonal skills (ex: recommendations) to formulate the case for getting an MBA.

Make sure to state your achievable short-term and long-term goals explicitly. Explain why an MBA would help you achieve these goals and how Fuqua is essential to your plan. Connecting the positive attributes from your personal essay to your career goals essay is critical to forming a well-rounded application. Fuqua students usually enter the consulting, technology, and financial service industries, so emphasize your findings in the essay to show you’re genuinely interested. The career goals Fuqua essay prompt is: What are your post-MBA career goals? Share with us your first choice career plan and your alternate plan.

The School Participation Essay

The school participation essay is your chance to tell Fuqua how you will positively contribute to the environment. Fuqua values students engaged in on-campus life outside of the classroom and have a passion for collaboration and communication. Joining on-campus clubs, leadership committees and generally demonstrating that you have investigated student organizations on campus shows commitment to the school. Before writing your essay, find clubs that align with your already-stated interests in the personal or career goals essays. Be specific! Whether you like the environmental club or the art studies club, determine what organizations Fuqua offers. Look up classes and professors that interest you as well. If you can visit the campus, speak to students about any conferences or organizations they recommend, especially larger ones. 

Ask yourself how you can benefit the student population through your unique skill set? Your answer does not have to be groundbreaking. Chances are, students with similar professional backgrounds attend the school already. Use your personal essay as a guide, and combine your intrapersonal skills with on-campus activities and classes. Part of the Duke MBA essay prompt is: Based on your understanding of the Fuqua culture, what are 3 ways you expect to contribute at Fuqua?


Overall, honesty and growth are the most important parts of a successful MBA application essay. In addition, applying the lessons you learned shows improvement in your interpersonal and professional skills, making you a more attractive candidate for MBA programs. At Menlo Coaching, we are prepared to help you take the next step and perfect your essays. Visit our process page to understand how Menlo Coaching can help you!