Last July, when the 439 new members of the MBA Class of 2019 arrived on Duke’s Fuqua School of Business campus, they brought with them impressive academic chops. Average GMAT score for the class was 702, up seven points over the year before. The median score—710—jumped 10 points in the same span. GPAs also rose ever so slightly, .03 of a point to 3.5.
But as you’ll see in the profiles of several members of the class, the rising scores certainly don’t seem to signify that Fuqua has swayed at all from seeking out other factors long considered of preeminent importance among its students—including talent, character, and fit with the distinctive Fuqua culture.
Application volume rose slightly—up 1.5 percent over the prior year—resulting in 3,796 total applications and a 22 percent acceptance rate, similar to peer schools like Chicago Booth and NYU Stern. International students make up a slightly lower percentage of the Class of 2019, 39 percent as compared to 40 percent in the class before. Female students, likewise, backslid slightly, from 35 to 34 percent. But at the same time, American minority students increased. They now represent 11 percent of the class, up from 9 percent the year before.
The Class of 2019 also brings more prior business focus than the class before it in terms of undergraduate education. The largest percentage of the class—36 percent—is made up of business and accounting majors, a seven-point increase over the year before. At the same time, engineering and natural science majors dropped to 26 percent of the class, down from 32 percent a year earlier. And liberal arts majors also decreased, from 23 to 19 percent.
In terms of prior work experience, finance accounts for the greatest slice of the pie, at 21 percent, followed closely by consulting, at 18 percent. The remainder of the class has experience working in a wide range of different sectors, including education (7 percent), healthcare (6 percent), and government, general management, and energy (each 5 percent).
Of course, for as much as class profile statistics do reveal—there’s a lot they don’t. For instance, the class also includes an Olympic bronze medalist in the pentathlon, a cancer survivor looking to have an impact on the healthcare industry through consulting, and a former Cisco program manager determined to bring her enthusiasm for design thinking to her Fuqua classmates. One learned he was to become a father the same week he submitted his deposit for Fuqua. And another—let’s just say you should avoid entering into any friendly wagers involving a round of miniature golf.
For as diverse a group as they are, the students we profiled shared one thing in common—their appreciation for “Team Fuqua.” It is no mere branding scheme, they all assure us, but a true commitment to teamwork and supportiveness that truly defines the business school. Read on to learn more from the students themselves.