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Fridays from the Frontline: 25 Random Things About My Section at Duke / Fuqua

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As many b-schoolers we’ve profiled in our Real Humans series will attest, the essay is often the most nerve-wracking part of the entire admissions process; not only is your individuality on full display, but it’s poked, prodded, and vetted for how well it might fit into your desired school’s community vision.

Duke Fuqua’s “25 Random Things” admissions prompt takes a fun approach to the traditional essay, offering prospective students an opportunity to share just about anything and everything they see fit with the admissions team.

Current Duke Fuqua MBA student John MacDonald took to the Daytime MBA Student Blog to compile the “25 Random Things” about all the students in his section.

The following piece has been republished in its entirety from its original source, the Duke Daytime MBA Student Blog.

25 Random Things About My Section

by John MacDonald

The “25 Random Things” admissions essay is one of the not so random ways that Fuqua creates a diverse class of MBA candidates that push each other to grow both personally and academically. Speaking from experience, what seemed like an innocuous part of the application has become the backbone for how our community thrives off each other.

The random things aren’t just about finding what is special about an applicant, but understanding how those experiences can intertwine with others to create the unique Fuqua family. What does that look like? Well, you live your life at Fuqua as your true self and it happens naturally. Nobody from the class reads your facts, but they come alive through conversations, late night study sessions, happy hours, and countless case studies.

Below are 25 random things I have learned from my section (Section 1, The “Unos”) that will give you insight into just how special and random our community is:

  1. After not swimming for almost 10 years, an Uno casually decided to pick up the sport again this summer—and qualified for the 2019 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in Korea.
  2. Two New Orleans-based section mates lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina. Can you imagine having to take a boat to the only home you’ve ever known to try and recover whatever was left?
  3. Five people from Section 1 are lovingly called “Memmbas.” No, this isn’t a cool way to say members, but a dual degree program where you receive a Master of Environmental Management and an MBA (MEM/MBA).
  4. A month into school, I found out a section mate has a commercial pilot license. As in she can fly 737s. If business school doesn’t work out, she can operate Southwest Airline’s entire fleet.
  5. In high school, an Uno set the record by holding a 50-pound bag over his head for more than 13 minutes!
  6. Hope you wear deodorant, because a person in my section has a sense of smell that is three times stronger than the average human.
  7. “Yes we can” was a famous slogan used by Barack Obama during his presidency. “Yes he did” is the phrase we use for the section mate that worked in his administration.
  8. Duke won the 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship. A section mate was on the opposing team in the championship game, having played four years of Division 1 basketball at Butler.
  9. Some people come to Fuqua to learn business concepts such as financial accounting. A person from Section 1 spent nine years as an accounting professor in Chile.
  10. Sunscreen is important! An Uno wears it every day of her life.
  11. A person in my section hasn’t eaten ice cream in over nine years. In fact, he hasn’t had one dessert in that timeframe “unless we count strawberries.” His daily meal of brown rice, spinach, and grilled chicken is legendary in the section.
  12. Almost 30 percent of my section speaks English as a second language.
  13. Is that an explosion or just a former nuclear engineer getting their MBA from Duke in Section 1?
  14. A California wildfire burned down someone’s house 30 minutes after she evacuated. Her perspective on what ‘home’ means to her now is something our section will never forget.
  15. Four people in Section 1 have babies under the age of one. Four people in Section 1 also drink more coffee than any human probably should.
  16. A section mate lost his leg serving our country. I play volleyball with him, and he taught me how to rock climb.
  17. Somebody in my section was homeless during her senior year of high school and is now getting her second degree from Duke University. She is unstoppable.
  18. At the ripe old age of 27, a section mate is already listed as a “famous alumnus” by her college.
  19. I’ve been doing Chinese food wrong my entire life. I found this out when a Chinese food chef and Section 1 member made me a home cooked meal from his country.
  20. A person in Section 1 can recite word-for-word the first season of Chapelle’s Show.
  21. Many people attend Blue Devil Weekend after being admitted, but most people don’t do it on their honeymoon. Yes, a section mate married her husband on a Thursday in Brazil, and then flew to Durham for their first days of “happily ever after” at Fuqua.
  22. A section mate serves as one of the founders of the Blue Ribbon Coalition’s first East Coast-based veterans program, designed to use outdoor recreation and nature to reduce post-traumatic stress disorder for veterans.
  23. “Double Dukie” is a term we use for people who also went to Duke for their undergraduate degree. One such Double Dukie has never missed a home football game in the combined 5-plus years he has been at the school.
  24. If you need to walk down a dark alley, I suggest bringing the two Jiu-Jitsu senseis from Section 1.
  25. There are over 370,000 entrepreneurs in India that have been trained as a direct result of the startup that was founded and operated by a Section 1 member.

Clear Admit Resources
As you work on your Fuqua MBA essays and application, we encourage you to consider all of Clear Admit’s Duke offerings:

Jonathan Pfeffer
Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as Contributing Writer at MetroMBA and Contributing Editor at Clear Admit, he was also a co-founder of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.