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MBA Admissions: Myth vs. Reality [Ep. 20]

admissions podcast Apr 08, 2020

The best way to learn what business school admissions officers are looking for is to ask them!

So that's exactly what we did.

In this episode of The Dominate Test Prep Podcast, we sat down with Lauren Sutherland, Associate Director of Admissions at the Duke Fuqua School of Business, and discussed a wide range of admissions-related questions including:

  • What differentiates Duke Fuqua from some of the other top business schools
  • How a school's ranking should factor in to your decision of which school(s) to apply to and other considerations you should weigh as well
  • The value of Duke's "25 Random Things" essay for enabling you to showcase what makes you a unique and desirable candidate
  • What makes someone stand out during the application process -- and dealbreakers to avoid!
  • The benefits of the 2-year, full-time MBA as compared to online, part-time, or executive programs
  • How to maximize your business school experience once you're on campus

You can listen to our full conversation here:


One of the most enlightening parts of the interview is the "Myth vs. Reality" game we played starting around the 18:15 mark where Lauren debunks some common application myths and answers the following questions:

  • Do you have the best chance of being admitted Round 1?
  • Is there anything you can do to get off the waitlist?
  • Do you need a minimum of 2 years work experience before applying?
  • Do only the first and last paragraphs of your essays matter?
  • Should you always write the optional essay?
  • Is the GMAT preferable to the GRE?
  • If you can’t score over 700 on the GMAT, is it even worth applying?
  • If you have a family member who went to Fuqua, do you have a better chance at getting in?
  • Is it easier to get in to Fuqua if you went to Duke undergrad?
  • Is your GMAT/GRE score and undergrad GPA the most important part of the application?
  • If you can’t get in to a Top 20 business school like Duke, is it still worth going to business school?

If you're thinking of applying to Duke Fuqua, this episode will give you an opportunity to peek behind the curtain and learn what Duke is all about. But even if you're not targeting Fuqua, most of what Lauren shares is relevant for whichever top-tier graduate or business school you may be applying to. Enjoy! 


  1. Learn more about the Duke Fuqua School of Business:
  2. Contact Duke Fuqua:
  3. Contact Dominate Test Prep:


"The purpose of a goal is not to get it. The purpose of a goal is who you become in pursuit of it." -- Tony Robbins

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