Free Duke Fuqua MBA Essay Samples |
Aringo consultants are the top in the world!

My motivation to decrease our country’s dependence on oil, especially foreign oil, began as a result of my first deployment to Iraq in March of 2004.
It was on this deployment that I understood, and saw first hand, the amount of wealth our nation was sending to the Middle East in an effort to satisfy our oil-based energy needs. From the coast of Kuwait to the streets of Baghdad, there were several realizations that motivated me to make a considerable effort in the future to better understand energy, how it is developed and used, and how we could begin to move away from foreign oil. For example, any person traveling a main thoroughfare in and around Baghdad could purchase, from a dealer or small supply stack distributor on the side of the street, enough unleaded fuel to fill up their vehicle for the equivalent of what was one dollar. I also understood the amount of wealth surging into the more developed areas of the Middle East, from my soldiers’ stories upon returning from their quick R&R trips to Doha or Dubai. The pictures they painted, of numerous building cranes at work and ongoing construction projects, were of local economies in little need of financial assistance. Over time, especially with the downturn of the global economy, I began to ask questions – Why can’t we keep more of that wealth for our own economic needs? Why should we be sending this wealth only to oil-export nations? Our nation’s dependence on foreign oil was much too high then, and hasn’t improved much since 2004. Therefore, upon leaving the military in 2008, I joined an energy company, which was the number two overall producer of natural gas in the U.S., as my first step towards helping to decrease U.S. foreign oil dependency.

Over recent years, the U.S. has been making a significant effort to find a sustainable, viable, and efficient alternative fuel source. One example is natural gas – a cleaner, sustainable, and more economically-viable fuel than oil, and which currently accounts for approximately 25% of the U.S.’s overall energy consumption. However, our commitment as a global partner to advance the use of cleaner energy is not yet sufficient, and our national energy focus remains on foreign oil, rather than other available, feasible energy sources. I hope to influence this change by joining the collaborative and innovative MBA culture at Fuqua, where I can begin this new journey of becoming a future leader of energy focus on a global scale.

In the short term, I hope to become a Finance Associate at an alternative-based energy company, such as Schott Solar, Inc, or in alternative energy division at a larger company, such as Chevron. I could even return to my company in the Finance group, because I want to join a company that is devoted to truly developing an alternative to cleaner, non-oil based energy sources. In my new position, I plan to gain perspective on the economic objectives and scope of applying our alternative energy options. Additionally, I will learn the basics of the company’s operations, research and development program, and production capabilities. I will need the understanding of these operational fundamentals in order to comprehend how to take the first steps to improve the company in areas that could affect our financial outlook. There will be much to learn from not only the financial side of whatever company I join, but also the actual energy focus of the company and how it intends to implement its energy plan in the near future. Hopefully, I will be able to contribute to the future successful marketability and sustainability of our alternative energy in an efficient and timely manner.

In the long term, I hope to move up within the organization I join and effect change on a larger scale as the VP of Energy Development. This position should provide me the opportunities to continue to not only push our group to find, evaluate, and pursue an economically-viable energy source, but to influence other energy companies to take a look at an alternative to oil-based energy sources. Additionally, I would focus on communicating with government officials in the energy policy arena about our products and their applications in order to garner more support for these alternative energy sources. This continued communication effort would allow for our company to prove how our energy source could be applied in an economically and environmentally friendly manner. Initially, these efforts will take time, but after several years of operating in this Energy Development position, our team will be able take even more risks in finding feasible applications for our alternative energy products. Our development team will also work with different industries and sectors where we think our energy application best suits their business. For example, our blended fuel or more powerful solar panel may be better suited to large-haul trucks as opposed to passenger vehicles, so we would move our efforts to work with companies such as JB Hunt Trucking or ABF Freight to focus on improving their fuel usage plan. Hopefully, these efforts will gain enough momentum that our proved alternative energy source, combined with a practical application, could allow other third-party companies to truly understand the economic and environmental advantages to using non-oil based energy sources. Eventually, I hope to be in a position of impact that will enable us to employ our tested and refined source on a larger scale.

My ultimate vision in this pursuit is to keep funds that would otherwise be used to import oil to be used to improve our national economic position with respect to energy dependence. Eventually, I want to allow for outside influence and recruitment of other industries where our alternative/renewable energy applications are most feasible and best suited both economically and environmentally. It will only be through this comprehensive and collaborative effort across varied companies that we can achieve our goal of finding applications where alternative energy sources will replace foreign oil. Once we have gained another foothold in improving the economics of our future energy needs, in a more environmentally-approachable fashion, we can begin pursuing international partners in this effort to help prepare other nations that are looking for an alternative to an oil-based energy policy.

In today’s global and competitive business environment, managers are continuously challenged to stay ahead of the game. To achieve that, they are required to be jacks of all trades, rather than aces of one. As such, I believe I have much to contribute from my diverse work and personal experience, and I believe I have the team-player personality to do it. In this context, one of the things I like most about Duke is the embrace of collaborative leadership and teamwork. I feel this is an ideal setting for sharing with and learning from others.

My teamwork skills started to develop alongside my competitiveness when I played Volleyball and Handball professionally in high-school. They were refined while I served as an instructor in the Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) Flight School in the military. There, I collaborated with a team of 6 other flight instructors and technical experts, with the goal of turning 30 soldiers into certified UAV operators within one year. Since then, I find teamwork to be one of the most important skills needed to succeed in every position I filled. For instance, as a project leader and senior consultant at Oracle, leading implementations of enterprise-wide systems required the cooperation of up to 15 IT experts, business managers, and Oracle consultants.

First, I plan to contribute to my peers by sharing my diverse professional experience in the software applications industry. I have filled a range of positions in system architecture, consulting, pre-sale, project management, product management, and marketing. Furthermore, taking for example my current position, I am positioned on the intersection between our executive management, development teams, sales teams, and customers. I gained the skill to understand both the big picture, and the specific challenges and interests of each discipline. This assisted me in leading innovative projects such as launching our company website, rebranding our product, and defining our flagship module for the next product version.

My work experience with various types of organizations will also enable me to contribute diverse knowledge. I have worked for small startups as well as for large corporations. Another aspect I will contribute in is my international experience. I love to travel and be exposed to new cultures, sceneries, and wildlife. Overall I have been to 23 countries all over the world. I believe that my international experience will help me contribute socially, in interacting with and building friendships within an international student body. I look forward to making other students feel welcome and comfortable around me. Moreover, my international experience also helped me overcome cultural barriers while managing global projects and interacting with international customers. For example, while working as a UAV test pilot and system architect for a large aircraft manufacturer, I leveraged the knowledge and cultural sensitivity gained during my 6-month trip to South America. While presenting the system to a South American customer delegation, I was able both to explain the system better, and to establish good personal connections, which assisted in closing this multi-million dollar deal.

My background has allowed me many opportunities to be involved with diverse people and situations, where my values were different from others and my opinions did not fall in line with the majority. From my first summer job as a teen, to meeting with Sheiks in Iraq and facilitating group changes at the company I worked for, I believe that the lessons I obtained from these experiences, through which I grew significantly as a person, would definitely add value my fellow MBA students at Fuqua and contribute to the Fuqua community and culture.

My first moment of true responsibility occurred when I was a young teenager, and my parents decided it was time for me to get a job and earn a little money. A local self-storage facility was looking for someone to clean their storage doors, all 500 of them, for about $4.00 an hour. I worked eight hours a day, Monday through Friday, for what seemed like years, in the hot Memphis sun, cleaning every door from top to bottom until all 500 were completely clean. Believe me, those doors had more mildew and grime than any door I have seen to this day. Yet it was at this storage facility that I not only learned the value of hard work, but also taught myself how to create my own budget, to allocate the money I earned. I bought my first stereo soon after finishing that job, and by living according to the budget I created, several years later bought my own car, purchasing my own gas, insurance, and clothes for high school. I continue to value hard work, following a budget and overall self-reliance to this day. These simple lessons could enhance the culture at Fuqua in an ethics class or case method discussion based on integrity or leadership decisions based on moral principles. Additionally, I might be able to push my teammates to work a little harder or longer when the time arises.

Some years later, I found myself at the first “leader engagement” of my first deployment, with a Sheik nonetheless, and what seemed like his entire known family and friends. I spoke a different language, wore very different clothing, and even sat differently than anyone else present. Sitting uncomfortably in the Sheik’s living room, the only person in the room I had any connection with was our Iraqi interpreter. We were there because my platoon’s initial attempts to bring farming supplies and equipment to the local people had failed, turning into a mad grab for what was needed, rather than an organized distribution, and we needed the Sheik’s help to turn things around. From our first conversation, I quickly realized that my normal meeting etiquette and conversation customs would be of little use. Over time, at each of our meetings, I began to pick up the Sheik’s meaning based on his tone of voice, and began to rely more on non-verbal communication, like the shrug of a shoulder, even after my proficiency in Arabic had improved. Soon I could determine the Sheik’s response even before it was translated. I also learned to recognize the different norms and traditions within this culture and apply them in our interactions. Meanwhile, my team helped the local famers in the community to create a sound and organized plan, their trust in us increasing as my relationship with the Sheik grew. All of these meetings and the growing bond eventually allowed the farmers to become sustainable and economically viable in a relatively short amount of time.

I feel that this experience would be extremely beneficial at Fuqua in our group meetings and classroom environments, where different communication customs or habits might hinder others from getting their point across. Effective communication is one of the most important aspects in any business action, and I hope to enhance that aspect both in and out of the classroom at Fuqua. I also believe that those lessons I learned in my international experience would allow me to bring one more perspective to Fuqua’s already diverse culture. There is an extremely delicate balance with the respect to values and what is right or wrong when you are immersed in an entirely different environment. I understand that balance, and I would be able to share those lessons I learned in my experiences with others on Day 1 at Fuqua. In addition, as a day-to-day platoon leader, I could help my fellow study group partners analyze complex negotiation case studies and contribute to varied project planning discussions. Further along, I feel that I could contribute significantly to other Fuqua MBAs interested in participating in the GATE program. I hope that my understanding of diverse communication and varied backgrounds in an extremely dynamic setting would help others better understand the different business environments or dissimilar groups we might encounter.

Recently, my experience at the Energy I worked for has also allowed for me to use my value set to make a significant impact. Prior to my arrival as the Production Manager, it was common knowledge that the specified directions or course of action to improve production numbers, given by my predecessor, were to be followed without question. I decided to change this custom. Thus, every time there was a question raised concerning a troubleshooting method or a technique required to solve a problem, I would ask the questioner what he or she recommended in order to solve the problem. I would not dictate what needed to be done solely on what I thought was correct. This not only forced them to come up with possible solutions to their issues, but also allowed for open creativity and new ideas amongst our team. We shared these best practices on a regular basis in our weekly team meetings, and it resulted in a net ten percent increase in our production volume. This joint effort in understanding differing problem solving approaches reminded our team that individual input is paramount in overcoming obstacles and achieving our production goals. This change was not easy. Only after my team felt completely safe to voice their opinions and provide input was this change in how we sought to improve our production numbers achieved.

At Fuqua, I could impart some new best practices I have learned, from both a developmental and a sustainability standpoint, into the many inter-disciplinary settings at the Duke EDGE Center. I feel that my recent group experiences at the company could definitely help others within the center create workable solutions to the energy problems we face, regardless of the setting or sustainability problem we approach. Listening to others and allowing everyone to provide feedback is vital to solving such tough issues as energy sustainability and environmental impact. I might even be able to provide a supporting perspective to other Energy MBAs on those subjects that some students might not understand due to my background in the industry. Or, there might be subjects or ideas presented by key speakers where I would be able to provide first-hand knowledge of the successes or failures I experienced working in the Barnett Shale. Whether it be a Mentored Study Project that focuses on the efficiency of a clean-tech invention and how it affects the environment, or the Duke Startup Challenge, where our group pitches a new renewable energy-based business plan to industry leaders, I feel that my experiences in both teamwork and communication could greatly benefit the not only the EDGE center, but also my all fellow MBA students at Fuqua.

There are many ways in which I hope to contribute to the Duke community, as a student in the MBA program. First of all, I am eager to play a strong role in my first-year Consequential Leadership (C-LEAD) team. While enhancing my collaboration skills, I envision bringing both my experience as an Air Force team leader, leading a squad of soldiers who specialized in advanced tactical communication equipment; and as a product development engineer, a role in which I collaborated with engineers from different countries. I believe that these roles have combined to provide me unique insight that can benefit my teammates.

As my short-term career goal is to become a product manager in the Internet of Things (IoT Tech), I plan to take on a leadership role in the Tech Club, and to become involved in several activities within the auspices of the club.

First, I plan to leverage Duke’s location in the Triangle area to create events focused on the field of IoT, such as “Tech Talks.” Among our guests could be industry experts, such as Kevin Ashton, who not only cofounded the Auto-ID Center at MIT but actually coined the phrase “the Internet of Things.” This will allow my classmates and I to deepen our knowledge of this emergent and fast-growing field that will affect the way we work, connect and live in the future. I plan to leverage my connections at my current employer, which has two branches in Raleigh, to bring experts from the company to talk in the school as well; an opportunity for students to both gain knowledge and meet a potential employer.

Also under the auspices of the tech club, I believe I can help the students who are interested in a career in high tech to gain additional exposure to the field. Towards this end, I plan to organize a tech trek to Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area through “Week-in-Cities,” as well as to arrange company visits to conglomerates such as Amazon, Apple, Google, IBM and Microsoft.

Furthermore, I envision using my experience at my current employer, where I interviewed potential hires, to help fellow students applying for positions in the field of technology prepare for their interviews.

I will definitely seek to be an active organizer of the Annual Fuqua Startup Nation event. There my fellow classmates can hear stories of the various stakeholders who are responsible for making my country one of the largest global innovation hubs. We will bring notable speakers from startup companies based in the US, which will be a fantastic networking opportunity in which students will gain exposure to internship and fulltime employment opportunities.

One of, if not the, most meaningful volunteer activity I was involved with in my life was volunteering to design a volunteer program at my current employer, which was targeted to improve involvement of high school students from weak areas/cities such as the city where I grew up in,  in the  STEM fields. The idea was to gather a group of motivated engineers who would help these students to improve their English and mathematical skills, as well as to mentor the more dedicated students to enter and compete in regional and national competitions, in which contestants built drones to compete with other teams, and the national Cyber competition, sponsored by the Ministry of Education. The latter was a competition that increased students’ knowledge of coding and – more importantly – taught them the importance of meeting challenges as a group. One of my teams even reached the finals in this event.

At Duke, I plan to apply these skills by organizing programs through the Net Impact, to support local high schools by organizing a group of Fuqua students to teach courses about Technology and entrepreneurship.

From speaking to current students and alumni, I am looking forward to take part in the activities Duke has to offer besides the professional clubs.

One example of this is snowboarding, a hobby I’ve loved for the past 5 years, as much for the après ski at the end of the day as for the thrill of soaring down mountains at lightning speed. I’ve traveled each winter to Europe for snowboarding, and I’m excited to experience the annual winter ski trips from Duke, and the annual 80s party at the summit.

Furthermore, because I did not attend a sport-dominated school and am not familiar with basketball culture, I eagerly look forward to the traditional “Camp out” event I have heard so much about, seeing Coach K, forming a team with my classmates, renting equipment, and participating in the activities. I am sure we will survive for those 36 hours and get those seasonal passes.

For all of these reasons, I am confident that Duke is the best program to support my future goals while giving me the personal fulfillment to contribute to the society and my classmates by being a part of Team Fuqua.

As a former special-ops combat soldier, I have experienced firsthand the importance of building trust and working collaboratively as a team  during high- pressure situations. I aspire to use these skills and insights to motivate my friends and classmates in Team Fuqua.

Growing up, I was always involved in extracurricular activities that integrated leadership and social action. My life experiences and career choices have enabled me to contribute to society wherever I go. This is why I am especially drawn to Fuqua’s emphasis on community and collaboration in academic and extracurricular activities. I find Fuqua’s culture of consequential leadership, teamwork and social impact perfectly aligned with my core values and future goals. I aim to establish my own public-sector consultancy and advise global non-profits and NGOs.

During college and various internships, I combined my interests in social action and globalization. I volunteered in a public-sector welfare office helping clients with low financial means overcome economic challenges. I then interned for an NGO-focused strategic consulting firm.

As someone who is excited about exploring opportunities for social impact, I am inspired to join Fuqua’s Net Impact Club. I believe that actively engaging in the Net Impact Club will provide me a social lens through which to view my future business roles as a change agent. I also plan on building friendships with fellow students while supporting the Duke MBA Games. I look forward to helping to organize and participate in the MBA Games, which Fuqua student I spoke with confirmed as being a fulfilling experience.

With a background in financial and strategic consulting I plan to share my perspective and simultaneously expand my knowledge base by participating in the Fuqua Client Consulting Practicum. I will be able to practice newly learned skills to projects that support local and international businesses and NGOs. In this practicum, I look forward to gaining experience in strategic planning and growth management. These areas of expertise are vital for my future career path.

Additionally, I aim to join the Duke Consulting Club. It will serve as a valuable platform to network with students, recruiters and alumni who are engaged in consulting activities at Duke and connected to premier global consulting firms. I plan to collaborate with fellow students in solving cases and preparing for future interviews. I am excited to share my experience in public-sector consulting with fellow members and to use my current business connections with global clients to help organize lectures and conferences with American industry leaders.

I am also inspired by the “Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics.” I truly identify with the center’s primary goal to develop ethical leaders with a global mindset. Participating in the unique Coach K Center program will enable me to work with other potential business leaders and put into practice leadership values and principles. This will help me further develop business skills and practices that will be highly productive and highly ethical. This program will be an invaluable opportunity to broaden leadership skills.

I would also love to be a part of the Fuqua Hoops club. As a former captain of my university basketball team for consecutive three years, I am passionate about basketball. I would be honored to play for fun where players such as Grant Hill and Kyrie Irving got their starts. As an avid college basketball fan, I cannot wait to be a part of the excitement and spirit surrounding Duke’s sporting events, from the Camp Out to March Madness. Fuqua alumnus I spoke with attested to the exhilaration in the stands during a Blue Devils game.

Additionally, as a husband and first-time father to be, Duke’s Fuqua Partners will be invaluable. I aspire to contribute to the Fuqua community and its collaborative culture. I know I can be a good addition to Team Fuqua, intellectually, athletically, and even socially on “Fuqua Fridays.”

  1. I have always been interested in human nature. My curiosity about the world around me and the mechanisms that keep it going inspired me to pursue a double major in economics and psychology.
  2. My favorite genres to read are history and economic philosophy. My favorite authors are Niall Ferguson and Francis Fukuyama.
  3. While backpacking through India two years ago, I attended the Dalai Lama’s lecture in McLeod Ganj with hundreds of people from all over the world. His ability to touch all of us with his just words was inspiring.
  4. In college, I volunteered in a social welfare clinic, helping clients with low financial means strategize to overcome financial hardships. This experience opened my eyes to social and economic disparities. This experience led me toward a career path that will integrate business and social action.
  5. In high school, I participated in two student delegations to the U.S.A. and Germany, focused on bridging cultural gaps and strengthen international relations. I met and befriended many American and German high school students and Twelve years later, I am still in touch with them.
  6. While in high school, I started a new branch of national Scouts in my hometown, shaping its educational focus and leading 300 scouts and their instructors. My love for sleeping outdoors first developed in the Scouts.
  7. I served as lead navigator in my combat team for three years in a top special-ops unit. Ever since, I have been designated as lead navigator on all trips with family and friends.
  8. As Army Commander of my unit’s navigation division, I established a new navigating training program. This program is still in use today, almost a decade later, and trains hundreds of soldiers. This opportunity to improve the skills of future combat soldiers has been my proudest life achievement so far.
  9. My favorite sport is basketball. I played on local and national teams throughout my childhood. In college, I was selected by teammates to be the university basketball team’s captain for three consecutive years.
  10. My love of math and working with people led me to teach math part-time for two years during college to 200 prospective college students studying for matriculation exams.
  11. I was hired as a business analyst without any industry experience and appointed as a project lead after just one year.
  12. I have been a collector since childhood. My first collection was of NBA cards. Once I got older and began traveling the world, I started collecting coasters. I now have 200 different beer coasters from 30 countries that I’ve been collecting for the last 15 years.
  13. In the army, I missed being able to relax to music, so I organized a fundraising dance party to boost soldier morale. All $3,500 earned from ticket sales was donated to a special home for autistic children.
  14. While in college, I participated in a government-sponsored leadership program called The Next Step where we learned from fellow students about their visions for the future of my country. It was one the most transformational experiences, I’ve had and it led me to pursue a career shaping the public sector so I could help enact the vision of my former Next Step colleagues .
  15. I’m very grateful that I’ve grown up as the only male among three sisters as I believe it has helped me to be “emotionally sensitive”. The first time I took this as a compliment was when I met my future wife, who convinced me that is a great characteristic.
  16. I was diagnosed with a heart disease as a child. Physically, this disease affected my physical endurance and blood-stream flow. Mentally, however, it motivated me to push my boundaries even further to overcome physical challenges, such as being captain of my basketball team and, later, serving in a special-ops army unit.
  17. My architect wife introduced me to a new interest in architecture. Last year, we went on a two-week architecture trip to see famous buildings in America’s Northeast. I look forward to exploring together Durham’s and Duke’s architectural sites, such as Perkins Library, Baldwin Auditorium and the Nasher Museum of Art.
  18. I’ve been an amateur snowboarder since the age of 12, snowboarding all over Europe and in Argentina. I can’t wait to explore the slopes in the U.S., especially during Fuqua’s annual spring break ski trip.
  19. My biggest professional achievement to date is influencing the future strategy of the multibillion-dollar Jerusalem Light Rail project expansion.
  20. My marriage has been most strengthened by the times that my wife and I have helped each other with our respective careers. .When the exhibition of my wife’s final project for her five-year architecture degree was getting closer, we spent a week of sleepless nights assembling her project model. It is one of our favorite bonding moments.
  21. I had the opportunity to participate in a university basketball tournament, “The Peace Games,” where teams from Europe, USA, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority all came together. It was rewarding to connect socially with such diverse people through sports.
  22. One of my superpowers is my determination. As an economic empowerment advisor in a welfare clinic. I remember one couple that did not return after two meetings with me. I used my failure and frustration to understand that sometimes my efforts are not enough; I was motivated to try harder and not give up on others.
  23. I have just a little interest in physiology and medicine. Maybe because of this, my parents always remind me that I am a descendant of a former Nobel Prize winner in Physiology, Otto Loewi.
  24. I survived a cyclone in the Andaman Islands. There were no ferries for three days, which caused high demand and mob mentality for tickets once they resumed. The effort to get a ticket in order to catch our flight home was almost as exhausting as the cyclone itself!
  25. I was in Brazil for its annual Carnival. However, instead of experiencing it in a big, tourist-filled city, I traveled to a small, out-of-the-way town called Olinda. This experience remains one of my best travel memories because it was so authentic and culturally unique.
Fuqua School of Business

How can you improve your
Duke Fuqua MBA Essays?

Aringo's experts can help you present yourself best

Will you get in?

Try our admission
chances calculator