The Ivy Coach Daily

September 8, 2020

Shame on Duke’s Fuqua School of Business

We hereby issue a call for Duke’s Fuqua School of Business to stop asking applicants the other MBA programs to which they’ve applied.

As loyal readers of our blog know all too well, we have never been afraid to use our soapbox in the arena of admissions to call out admissions practices that we believe aren’t right. We do so in an effort to bend these practices towards a more just system. It is in this spirit that we call out Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business today for asking its MBA applicants to declare on their application each MBA program at other universities to which they’ve also applied. Put simply, it’s not Fuqua’s business.

Duke’s Fuqua School of Business Asks Applicants to List Other MBA Programs to Which They’ve Applied

If Duke’s Fuqua School of Business — a school we’ve saluted in the past for its commitment to America’s veterans — wanted to gauge an applicant’s intentions of matriculating to their MBA program over other highly selective programs, the school should ask applicants to complete an essay that reads something like, “Why do you wish to attend Duke’s Fuqua School of Business?” The school asks other essay prompts. There’s no reason it can’t also ask a “Why Program” essay of MBA applicants — or ask a “Why Program” essay in lieu of one of its other prompts. If an applicant fails to include specific after specific in this essay, it’s as good of an indication as any that the applicant doesn’t have a strong intention of enrolling and likely just applied to the program — along with a host of other programs — because of its prestige.

Mind Your Own Business, Fuqua!

But instead of asking applicants to respond to a “Why Program” essay, Duke asks applicants to select each MBA program at other universities to which they applied (e.g., Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business). Applicants not only shouldn’t have to answer this entirely inappropriate prompt — but they shouldn’t be asked it in the first place. It reflects pure laziness on the part of Duke. They can’t read a “Why Program” essay? So they have to outright ask which other programs applicants are applying to? Come on. MYOB, Fuqua! We hereby call on Duke’s Fuqua School of Business to remove this prompt in all subsequent admissions cycles.

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