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February 10, 2014

Duke Fuqua MBA Admissions Interviews for the Class of 2016

In my experience, Duke interviews are all about fit. Frankly, I would not characterize the interviews for Team Fuqua as hard when compared to those of other top schools.  As you will see from the questions, below, Fuqua interview questions are very typical MBA interview questions. If you are preparing for interviews for other schools, you will surely see overlap here.

In addition to my experience,  My colleague, Steve Green,  and I  have reviewed reports of Duke University ‘s Fuqua School of Business interviews found at accepted.com and clearadmit.com.

You need to know your resume completely as you will likely be asked about content in it. Review it carefully and consider what your interviewer might ask you to explain more thoroughly. If it is on your resume, it is fair game. That said, don’t be surprised if the interviewer is using a standardized list of questions. I think it is worth remembering the kind of roles a resume is likely to play in your interview:
A First Impression:   Make sure your resume is really designed for ease of use by the interviewer.  One of my objectives when helping a client with a resume is always to focus on how effective the resume is for this purpose.
Agenda Setting Device: To a greater or lesser extent, a resume has an agenda setting function in many interviews.
Bobby Trap:  The resume can blow-up in your face if you are not careful.  Failure to review your own resume closely prior to interviewing can put you in an awkward position if you are not fully prepared to discuss everything on it.
Your Main Depository of Past Experience Answers: Since you have presumably highlighted many of the key things you would actually want to discuss on your resume, it is in essence, a primary source for your answers to past experience questions. Especially when I working with a client with limited English ability, I will tell them to practice explaining "Who What Why How When" questions related to their resume.
In addition, since you might get asked to "Tell me something about yourself that is not covered on your resume," you can use the resume to figure out what that would be.

You need to be prepared to answer routine MBA questions. Most reported interviews simply consist of them. Please refer to my prior overall MBA admissions strategy interview posts (herehere, here, and here) for general advice on prepare for the Fuqua interview.

Like he has done with many other schools, my colleague, Steve Green has compiled the following list of questions from from all the reports submitted to accepted.com and  clearadmit.com.  In addition to our client reports, we use lists of questions like these as part of our prep sessions with clients.

Tell me your story. / Walk me through your resume, please.
Tell me about your company. (+Follow-up questions.)
Tell me about your job. (+Follow-up questions.)
Tell me two things you like and dislike about your job.
Explain your job to me as if I were an 8 year old child

Goals/Why Duke?
What do you want to do and why do you need an MBA to do it?
Why do you want an MBA from Fuqua?
Who have you talked to from Fuqua?
Why do you think you understand the Fuqua culture?
Why not other schools?
Why now?
How will you contribute to Fuqua?
What teams will you contribute to?
How are you unique? Why should Fuqua accept you?
How will you network at Duke?

Leadership & Teamwork
Tell me how you work on a team.
Tell me about a time when you were in a group setting and you had a difficult team member and how you handled the situation.
If you were to build a team what would be important for you?
Tell me about a time when you were in a group setting and you gave an idea that was successful
What’s your leadership style / experience?
Tell me about your favorite boss. Why did you like him/her?
Please tell me about a time you went above and beyond.
Please tell me about your leadership experience outside work.
Tell me about a leadership experience where you failed

Strengths and Weaknesses
Please tell me about your greatest success.
Please tell me about your greatest failure.
Tell me about a time you overcame a challenging situation.
In what areas do you think you need to improve?
What do you do when you face a setback?
Tell me about a regret you have and the lesson you learned from it.
What motivates you?
Please tell me about a time that you failed.
How would your friends describe you?
What are three words your colleagues would use to describe you?
What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Any questions for me?

While there are occasional unexpected hypothetical and/or critical thinking questions, especially from alum and adcom, this is very rare.

Interviewers (students, adcom, or alum) are friendly, passionate about Duke, and consistently try to create a very relaxed interview atmosphere. This is an interview about fit (just like Duke’s essays), so make sure you can explain in depth why you want to become a part of Team Fuqua and how you will contribute to it. Previous contact with alum, visits to campus, and/or intensive school research are all great ways to prepare.

Reported interview length could be from 30 to 60 minutes, with most reported interviews taking 45 minutes.

Best of luck with your admission the Fuqua Class of 2016!

-Adam Markus
I am a graduate admissions consultant who works with clients worldwide. If you would like to arrange an initial consultation, please complete my intake form. Please don't email me any essays, other admissions consultant's intake forms, your life story, or any long email asking for a written profile assessment. The only profiles I assess are those with people who I offer initial consultations to. Please note that initial consultations are not offered when I have reached full capacity or when I determine that I am not a good fit with an applicant.
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