The Duke Fuqua School of Business offers four distinct MBA programs and it is very important for applicants to carefully consider which of these is best suited for their particular needs.

The school boasts very high rankings for both its full-time and executive MBA programs. It’s supportive team culture, strong Career Management Center, and continued ability to attract top faculty from rival business schools should help it continue to do well in the rankings and, even more importantly, in the eyes of its students and alumni.

Below is the four-page transcript of our interview with Liz Riley, Director of Admissions.

At Fuqua you have four MBA program formats, Full Time MBA, Executive MBA, Global Executive MBA and Weekend MBA.  How do these programs differ?

The four different formats of our MBA programs are really designed with the customer in mind.  For instance, the Full-time MBA program is a program for someone who has 3 to 5 years of work experience and wants a career change.  The Duke Global Executive MBA program has a different type of manager in mind.  This program was designed for someone who can not necessarily quit their job because they have established themselves within an organization as a senior manager.  It is designed with flexibility in mind, allowing immersion in the MBA program without interfering with responsibilities at work.  The Duke MBA Cross Continent Program is designed for someone who might be looking at a traditional daytime or Full-time MBA program but they are on the fast-track within their career.  These candidates wish to do the MBA without quitting their jobs to go back to school, so it is the same demographic pool of candidates that we would look at for the Full-time MBA program.  This program is offered here at Duke and at Duke’s campus in Frankfort, Germany using an electronic campus accessed by computer.  We have pioneered what we call “place in space” which is the perfect combination of residential experience where you actually get to meet face to face with your cohort and then space being the computer mediated learning environment.  The Weekend and Executive MBA programs cater to individuals who are living in the area.

How do you see the MBA program at Fuqua evolving or what changes are occurring at Fuqua now?

Duke University has an extremely innovative and forward thinking community.  We are a relatively young program compared to our peer institutions. We just recently celebrated our 35th anniversary for the MBA program.  We try to capture the strength of being a young and forward-thinking school.  I would definitely say that is one of the strengths at Fuqua because students have the opportunity to contribute to the environment here which makes it a very exciting place to study.

What general advice would you like applicants considering Fuqua’s MBA to know?

At Fuqua, we want students to develop their leadership skills, to be innovative, and to challenge themselves.  We have a great low-risk environment here so students can comfortably practice developing these skills.  This program is for students who want an education from a top-tier program with a smaller learning environment and a very collaborative atmosphere where leadership is respected and encouraged.

When is the best time to apply?

You should apply as early in the process as you can without sacrificing the quality of your application.  You should apply when your application is ready.  We admit students from all four decision rounds.  It is not to your advantage to apply early just to get your application in early.  If you really need to take time to sharpen your essays or get the best recommendations, then we encourage you to take that time to put the best possible representation of yourself together.

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