Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business is one of the top 10 business schools in the  USA. In case, you thought the interview process for Duke is going to be the same as most other top b-schools in the country, you might be in for a surprise.  For the starters, unlike most other colleges, interviews were not even mandatory in Duke until a few years ago.

Duke especially in the way it conducts its interview is a bit conventional. While other schools give the choice to the applicants to select the most convenient mode of the interview for them, Duke insists on visiting the campus for the interview.

Source: Fuqua Schools of Business website

The admissions committee at Duke really likes having their applicants come down to the campus, when other schools even offer Skype and telephonic interviews for the applicants who can’t make it to the campus or a personal interview.  People at Duke want the applicants to get a feel of the campus and its environment before the applicant’s progress to the interview stage.

Typically there are two types of interviews that Duke offers to its applicants: Open and invitation.

  • Duke aspirants can apply for the open interview well in advance i.e. even before they actually submit their application. The b-school encourages open interviews as it gives the applicants a campus experience sometimes even before applying. These open interviews are generally conducted in the months of September and October. Applicants of any round can sign up for these interviews. Open interviews are conducted by the current students of Duke Fuqua School of Business, hence; expect the interview to be exhaustive.
  • Interview invitations are sent out applicants who have not signed for the open interviews before or at the time of submitting the application. Though 99% of the applicants for MBA go through the process of an interview with few exceptions such as active military personnel or other, the weightage of the interview in the whole selection process is not significant.  Interviews through invitations are generally conducted on campus and they really prefer the candidates to come to the campus for the process. However, in cases applicants can’t make it to Durham, interviews are also conducted in a few other pre-selected cities.  The interview for Duke MBA can be conducted by a range of people associated with the college it can be a member of the admissions committee, a member of alumni or even a current student.

When is the right time to book a slot for the interview?

If you are not signing up for an open interview and waiting for that interview invitation, you would need to have it pre-planned. As Duke Admissions committee expects that candidates to be available for the interviews on pre-set dates for those specific rounds, it takes more planning than you have thought.

Go through the interview schedule released by the school at the time or before submitting your application, this way you can check your availability for the concerned time period and be prepared.  In case you are not available for the interview dates in a particular round, the college encourages you not to apply in that round and consider some other time.

Once you receive an invitation for the interview, the interview slot needs to be booked without any delay. 

What to expect in your Duke Interview?

Though the process and importance of interview at Duke are a bit different from other premium business schools, the interview itself is not going to be vastly different from others. Most premium MBA colleges have blind interviews where the interviewers don’t get to look at your complete application except for the resume; this is done to keep the process transparent and fair.

Be prepared with answers for the regular MBA interview questions such as “Why MBA?”, “Why Duke?”, “Tell us about you” etc.

As Duke insists on campus or in other cases personal interviews, make use of the opportunity by asking relevant and interesting questions to know more about the college and the experience at the program. You can learn much more beyond the college website if you get a chance to interact with a current or former student. As you can see, Duke needs its applicants to be well-prepared and planned even before they submit the application to the college.

As the interview is  a big part of the selection process, relax and make use of the opportunity to get to know more about the college, program and campus life.