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Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business Sample Essay

FuquaBlossoms by Dave Connolley licensed under CC BY 2.0

When asked by your family, friends, and colleagues why you want to go to Duke, what do you tell them? Share the reasons that are most meaningful to you.

When the iron curtain lifted, my father was among the lucky few to win a visa to the United States. An MBA is a crucial component of my career objectives, and as such plays a critical role in achieving my life goals. An MBA will plug knowledge gaps in foundational business skills such as supply chain and cost management and provide insights into the management consulting industry, which is where I want to be after graduation. A Fuqua MBA provides all this and more. Duke Fuqua will help me build on my current strengths and skill set among talented peers and supportive alumni within the research triangle that is Durham: a locale perfectly suited to my learning style and career objectives.

I was initially exposed to the camaraderie that echoes throughout Team Fuqua by Owen May 83’ at a Fuqua minority community event in New York City. I was a little uneasy upon arrival as I didn’t know a single soul, but my trepidation soon disappeared. Students from every corner of the Fuqua family including Daytime MBA, MMS and several of Owen’s Duke undergrad interns were more than ready to share their experiences. After the event I realized that at Duke, I would never be alone on my journey and could bring my own unique story to an already diverse and engaging group.

I was born behind the “Iron Curtain” in Soviet controlled Poland where my earliest memories include holding a ration card while waiting in line for hours just to purchase bread and baby formula. When the iron curtain lifted my father was among the lucky few to win a visa to the U.S. Facing language barriers and with little in the way of an education, my parents continually struggled to find better paying jobs while raising three young children in Newark. Growing up in Jersey’s largest city was in many ways a blessing: an immigrant work ethic and sense of community permeated the streets. Academic lessons were not derived solely from textbooks as high school was a microcosm of the city’s cultural and religious diversity.

Today, I am in a leadership position on the retail side of the telecommunications industry. The pace of change in the industry has allowed me to amass practical organizational knowledge whilst exposing me to the challenges inherent in organizational change. These experiences along with my personal history have cemented my career aspiration of joining the retail practice of BCG, Bain or McKinsey in Poland to take advantage of the burgeoning growth of retail markets in Central and Eastern Europe.

From a frontline perspective I am privy to the effects of digital disruption as well as the ever changing buying patterns of consumers—all key elements of retail consulting. “Global Institutions and Environment” and “Global Operations” will allow me to facilitate organizational designs that contain costs while enabling growth for retailers in emerging markets. Additionally, Fuqua’s six week term structure provides the opportunity to rapidly amass core knowledge and customize my curriculum by taking more electives to develop a skill set that meets the needs of prospective employers.

Elise Eggart 14’, mentioned Fuqua’s Client Consulting Practicum and the Fuqua Case where I look forward to applying the cross-cultural leadership and cross-functional experience I gained at T-Mobile USA. Not only will have I the opportunity to extract and analyze data, and test multiple hypotheses with my colleagues, as a team we can turn our recommendations and insights into actionable operational strategies.

Jason Holmes 07’, currently at Accenture, underscored that Fuqua’s commitment to analytical precision will bolster my ability to deliver value propositions, allocate investments and optimize client portfolios. He also mentioned Fuqua’s recruiting events with Accenture, BCG, McKinsey and Bain which will allow me to vie for a highly coveted internship very early in the year.

Lastly, it is Durham itself. Its size and location are incredibly conducive to absorbing academic knowledge by providing a close-knit environment with few distractions, while granting enough respite to enjoy weekends with classmates. New York may be home to some of the best known chefs, but Durham is the “Foodiest Small Town in America” and I can’t wait to sample Durham’s eateries. There are also the sports rivalries, as a die-hard soccer fanatic I am ready to don my Blue Devil garb in support of Duke’s soccer team. Lastly, there is my passion for music, which I will share with my Fuqua family. Trips to Whiskey and the PinkHook will occur regularly. I would also love to organize a Fuqua band with my classmates.

Music is the ultimate open-ended multivariable that requires collaboration and compromise before arriving at a meaningful solution. For me, team Fuqua is like playing in a great band. My experience as a musician and current position as a manager for T-Mobile USA have honed my ability to orchestrate diverse resources, nurture great ideas and ensure everyone is in step working toward a shared goal, be it onstage, at work or in the classroom.

The lifeblood of Durham and Fuqua is its people. I plan to fully contribute to Durham and Fuqua not only as an engaged student but also as a proud alum throughout my career. I am applying to Fuqua because of its focus on application of theory and commitment to experiential learning, along with a pantheon of academic and professional resources that will bring me closer to achieving my goals.