Fuqua MBA Recommendation

I Letter of Recommendation
II Notable Recommendation Questions
III Assessment Grid

You can download a PDF of the exact form your recommender will see below.

[download id=”3275″]

This recommendation form is for the Duke Fuqua MBA 2016-17 application season. Generally speaking, recommendation forms do not change from year to year so it’s a safe bet to assume that the same recommendation form will be used during the 2017-18 application season. When the 2017-18 application goes live (summer 2017) the download file and this page will be updated.

Duke Fuqua requires that MBA applicants submit two recommendations.

Two letters of recommendation are required to complete your application. Re-applicants must submit only one recommendation.) One recommendation should reflect your performance in your most recent professional setting. Volunteer activities or other service-oriented roles in which you are deeply involved may also be excellent sources for recommendations. The most valuable recommendations come from people who know your professional skills and abilities. In addition to the 2 required recommendations, you may receive additional recommendations from our current students or alumni. There are separate forms for these recommendations. If one of these recommendations is sent on your behalf at least 3 business days before you submit your online application, you will be eligible for an application fee waiver.
Duke Fuqua Adcom

Before you ask someone for a recommendation it’s best to understand what types of questions the school will put to them. Asking the CEO of your company for a recommendation may be tempting, but will he/she be able to convincingly convey your strengths and weaknesses to the Duke Fuqua Admissions Committee? The best recommenders are those that have observed you interacting with others on a regular basis.

After you input your recommender’s name and email inside the Fuqua application, he/she will receive an email directing him/her to Fuqua’s online recommendation form.

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I Duke Fuqua MBA Letter of Recommendation

In your letter of reference, please provide insight about the applicant in the areas described below. Help us understand the applicant’s leadership potential and highlight the traits and skills the applicant possesses that will contribute to success.

Please be specific and provide concrete examples where possible. We ask that you refrain from using material provided by the applicant so as to present only your unique view of his/her potential. We recognize the time and effort this request constitutes and we are most appreciative of your investment in this process.

Please limit your letter of reference to two pages, double spaced. Outdated or general letters that do not address the points above do not strengthen the candidate’s application. Recommenders are asked to upload their recommendation to the online form.

  1. Comment briefly on the context of your interaction with the applicant. (no word limit)

  2. How do the applicant’s performance, potential, or personal qualities compare to those of other well-qualified individuals in similar roles? (no word limit)

  3. What do you perceive as the applicant’s areas for growth? Describe the applicant’s awareness of these areas and his/her response to constructive feedback. (no word limit)

  4. Please include additional comments you feel will be helpful to the Admissions Committee. (no word limit)

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II Notable Duke Fuqua MBA Recommendation Questions

Aside from the typical questions Duke Fuqua asks recommenders (Name, Address, Phone etc.) here are some notable short answer questions you should be aware of.

  • Relationship to the Applicant
  • How long have you known the applicant?
  • Are you an alumnus/alumna of Duke University? (If so, please state the year you graduated and the degree received. Include the name of your program, if relevant,)
  • Do you have an MBA from a school other than The Fuqua School of Business? (If so, from what school?)

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III Duke Fuqua MBA Recommendation Assessment Grid

The grid will facilitate your evaluation of the applicant’s competencies and character traits that contribute to successful leadership and program success.

Results Orientation

  1. Fulfills assigned tasks
  2. Overcomes obstacles to achieve goals
  3. Exceeds goals and raises effectiveness of organization
  4. Introduces incremental improvements to enhance business performance using robust analysis
  5. Invents and delivers best-in-class standards and performance

Strategic Orientation

  1. Understands immediate issues of work or analysis
  2. Identifies opportunities for improvement within area of responsibility
  3. Develops insights or recommendations that have improved business performance
  4. Develops insights or recommendations that have shaped team or department strategy
  5. Implements a successful strategy that challenges other parts of the company or other players in the industry

Team Leadership

  1. Avoids leadership responsibilities; does not provide direction to team
  2. Assigns tasks to team members
  3. Solicits ideas and perspectives from the team; holds members accountable
  4. Actively engages the team to develop plans and resolve issues through collaboration; shows how work fits in with what others are doing
  5. Recruits others into duties or roles based on insight into individual abilities; rewards those who exceed expectations

Influence and Collaboration

  1. Accepts input from others
  2. Engages others in problem solving
  3. Generates support from others for ideas and initiatives
  4. Brings others together across boundaries to achieve results and share best practices
  5. Builds enduring partnerships within and outside of organization to improve effectiveness, even at short-term personal cost


  1. Sometimes rambles or is occasionally unfocused
  2. Is generally to the point and organized
  3. Presents views clearly and in a well- structured manner
  4. Presents views clearly and demonstrates understanding of the response of others
  5. Presents views clearly; solicits opinions and concerns; discusses them openly

Information Seeking

  1. Asks direct questions about problem at hand to those individuals immediately available
  2. Personally investigates problems by going directly to sources of information
  3. Asks a series of probing questions to get at the root of a situation or a problem
  4. Does research by making a systematic effort over a limited period of time to obtain needed data or feedback
  5. Involves others who would not normally be involved including experts or outside organizations; may get them to seek out information

Developing Others

  1. Focuses primarily on own abilities
  2. Points out mistakes to support the development of others
  3. Gives specific positive and negative behavioral feedback to support the development of others
  4. Gives specific positive and negative behavioral feedback and provides unfailing support
  5. Inspires and motivates others to develop by providing feedback and identifying new growth opportunities as well as supporting their efforts to change

Change Leadership

  1. Accepts status quo; does not see the need for change
  2. Challenges status quo and identifies what needs to change
  3. Defines positive direction for change and persuades others to support it
  4. Promotes change and mobilizes individuals to change behavior
  5. Builds coalition of supporters and coordinates change across multiple individuals; may create champions who will mobilize others to change

Respect for Others

  1. Is sometimes self- absorbed or overly self-interested
  2. Generally treats others with respect; usually shares praise and credit
  3. Is humble and respectful to all
  4. Is respectful to all and generous with praise; ensures other opinions are heard
  5. Uses understanding of others and self to resolve conflicts and foster mutual respect


  1. Shows occasional lapses in trustworthy behavior
  2. Generally acts consistently with stated intentions
  3. Acts consistently with stated intentions even in difficult circumstances
  4. Is reliable and authentic even at some personal cost; acts as a role model for the values of the organization
  5. Is reliable and authentic even at some personal cost; works to ensure all members of the organization operate with integrity

Stress Management and Resilience

  1. Resents and avoids stressful situations. Requires coaching to recover from setbacks
  2. Falters, at times, under pressure. Can operate with limited guidance to recover from setbacks   Adequately manages pressure. Independently recovers from setbacks
  3. Proactively reaches out for support under pressure.
  4. Recovers from setbacks by requesting input from colleagues/teammates
  5. Maintains composure and clarity of thought under pressure. Analyzes setbacks constructively and charts proactive recovery course

Global Competence

  1. Has no global experience. Exhibits minimal or no interest in global perspectives
  2. Globally aware with limited experience beyond native country. Exhibits acceptance of diverse perspectives
  3. Globally aware with insight beyond native country. Appreciative of diverse perspectives
  4. Globally competent with experience in a global setting (professional or personal). Appreciative of diverse perspectives
  5. Globally competent with significant experience in a global setting (professional or personal). Actively seeks out diverse perspectives

English Language Skills (for non-native English speakers)

  1. Serious problems with comprehension and communication skills – does not possess the skills to succeed
  2. Demonstrates difficulty with communication and may struggle even with coaching
  3. Demonstrates some difficulty with communication; could succeed with assistance
  4. Strong English comprehension and communication skills
  5. Outstanding English comprehension and communication skills
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