Duke Eyes Teamwork and Leadership Skills

Tips for applying to the Fuqua School of Business from the school's admissions director

In a span of 14 years, Liz Riley Hargrove has worked on both the admissions and administrative sides of Duke University. Hargrove splits her time between admissions at the Fuqua School of Business, where she has served as director of admissions for eight years, and the Daytime MBA Program, where she has held the position of assistant dean for the past four years. As a result, Hargrove is able to first select the students to attend Fuqua and then work with the administration to shape their MBA experience. She recently caught up with BusinessWeek.com reporter Sabrina Siddiqui about the common mistakes she sees in MBA applications and what it really takes to be a student at Fuqua.

Are there any major changes to the application process this year?

The biggest change has to do with the interview process for admissions. Our process this year impacts students who are requesting alumni interviews. Alumni interviews are by invitation only, so what that means is the candidate would indicate that they're interested in an alumni interview—meaning they are not coming to campus—and they would have to be invited for an alumni interview.

Was there a particular reason for the change?

The largest percentage of our applicants are overseas, and due to the volume of requests that we have for alumni interviews, we felt that this was a better way to manage the people from overseas who request to interview.

What makes Fuqua appealing to so many international applicants?

A couple of reasons that are not necessarily unique to Fuqua. Most of the world's best business schools are experiencing this demographic shift, in that most of the developing countries are countries where there is a need for MBA talent. Those applicants are understanding that to come to the U.S. to get an education and go back to their home countries to use what they've learned to help their developing economies makes the value of [an MBA] very, very strong. Most of us are seeing increases in countries you would expect like India, Korea, Japan, and China. That's where the bulk of our international applications are coming from right now.

Do you have a preference for international students?

Our job is to help students obtain the education they need to make good decisions when...

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